By Bob Cesca: Tomorrow marks exactly two weeks since Mitt Romney decisively lost the 2012 election to President Obama. In this relatively short period of time, the consensus from both observers and insiders alike is that the Republican Party needs to (ahem) evolve or die.
The evolution has to include an outreach to women, to Latinos and other minorities and broadening the youth appeal of the party, while spending less time pandering to the crazy fringe. Otherwise the increasingly white rural Christian male base will slowly strangle and kill the party — further infecting it with an archaic 1950s monochromatic necrosis rather than establishing a plan with an eye on the 2050s.
So how are they doing so far?
The Loser. Mitt Romney clearly didn’t recognize one of the main reasons why he lost because in a conference call with donors he, once again, took a gigantic crap all over half of the nation, referring to how the president gave “gifts” to Latinos, women and young people in the form of the DREAM Act, “free contraceptives,” health care and college loan assistance. In other words, the president won the moocher and layabout vote. The 47-Percent thing all over again.
When asked about Romney’s horrendous remarks, Carlos Gutierrez, Romney’s top Hispanic adviser, said, “I was shocked. And frankly I don’t think that’s why Republicans lost the election,” Gutierrez continued, “I don’t know if he understood that he was saying something that was insulting.” Of course he didn’t. Conservative Washington Post contributor Jennifer Rubin wrote that Romney may have used “more grotesque language” to describe Hispanic voters. Yikes! Bill O’Reilly said Romney’s remarks were “right on the money.” Double yikes! Fox News anchor Stuart Varney and bag-of-rocks Brian Kilmeade agreed with O’Reilly. Triple yikes!
Well, so far so good, Republicans. Spectacular outreach effort.
Latino Outreach (Tokenism). But Marco Rubio went to Iowa over the weekend which means he’s running for president in 2016. See? The Republicans love Hispanics! Marco Rubio, for example, who’s Cuban-American. Rush Limbaugh thinks they deserve credit for Rubio, Suzanne Martinez and Allen West — you know, because they’re not white, which means the Republicans are all about the Hispanic, female and African American vote. Get it? That’s a whopping three candidates whose policies are exactly in line with everything those exact same demographic groups find loathsome.
Ohio Republican Fail. It’s difficult to point to women like Condoleezza Rice in an effort to appeal to women and African American voters when the Ohio Republicans are showing off the true identity of the party. Yes, last week the Ohio Republicans voted in committee to de-fund Planned Parenthood, thus restricting access to cancer screenings, mammograms, rape counseling services and, yes, contraceptives. Purely female services. Perhaps by “outreach” the Republicans mean it in the Sean Connery sense.
The Benghazi-Gate Witch Hunt. Back in Washington, DC, increasingly unhinged John McCain, Linsdey Graham and other Republicans are in the process of emphasizing their Connery-style outreach to women and minorities by relentlessly attacking an African American woman, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, for simply repeating the public talking points about Benghazi that were presented to her by the CIA. Furthermore, the Republican obsession about Benghazi isn’t helping the party when it comes to sounding less wackaloon and more sane.
The (not liberal) Economist: “Had Susan Rice gone on the talk shows on September 15th and inaccurately stated that the attackers had been wearing green pants, when in fact their pants had been red, there would be no reason to suspect this to be part of a political “cover-up”, because no American voters could conceivably have cared either way.” Except for McCain and Graham who plan to filibuster Susan Rice’s possible nomination as Secretary of State.
Insurrection over Obamacare. Speaking of wackaloons, nine Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin threatened to arrest any public official who’s caught implementing the federal law known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. Can you imagine if any Democrat had threatened to arrest officials who implemented the Patriot Act? Or Medicare Part-D? They would’ve been tarred and feathered and hectored out of office. And rightfully so.
More Latino Outreach. Last week in Arizona, where crazy white people have been demonizing and persecuting Latinos for several years now, endeavored to temper their insane/bigoted reputation by trying to block provisional ballots from being counted in Cochise County, which happens to be predominantly Latino. Yes, while votes were still being counted, Republicans tried to disenfranchise Latino voters.
Seriously? And finally, The Los Angeles Times‘ Charlotte Allen had a fantastic bit of advice for the party yesterday. She wrote, “I’ve got a suggestion for cutting short the GOP angst: Sarah Palin for president in 2016. You think I’m joking? Think again.”
Yep, I absolutely hope she runs and wins the nomination. It’ll prove the evident suspicion that they’ve learned absolutely nothing and that their “outreach” is nothing more than tokenism and pandering.
Now, if the Republicans were smart, they’d take seriously the words of former Bush speechwriter and creator of the “axis of evil” catchphrase David Frum, as well as Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal.
Frum, channeling President Eisenhower, said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last week, “Republicans have been fleeced and exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.” Unfortunately, the only thing holding the party together is the existence of AM talk radio and Fox News — its public relations and marketing aparatus. If anyone in the party makes a serious split from its own echo-chamber, the echo-chamber will absolutely and loudly turn against it like a torch-and-pitchfork mob. Good luck with the divorce, Republicans. You’ve created this monster and it won’t like being ignored.
Jindal, for his part, said, “It is no secret we had a number of Republicans damage our brand this year with offensive, bizarre comments — enough of that. It’s not going to be the last time anyone says something stupid within our party, but it can’t be tolerated within our party. We’ve also had enough of this dumbed-down conservatism. We need to stop being simplistic, we need to trust the intelligence of the American people and we need to stop insulting the intelligence of the voters.” Uh-huh. Jindal hates insulting the intelligence of voters, which is why he deliberately made volcano monitoring and magnetic levitation rail technology sound like sorcery to frighten simpleton Republicans from supporting the stimulus, from which he subsequently requested and received huge game-show sized checks. But I get his point. We’ll see if he acts upon it.
Jindal continued, “The reality is we have to be a party of solutions and not just bumper-sticker slogans but real detailed policy solutions.” What the last two weeks have proved is the Republicans are incapable of this kind of change — at the DNA level they simply can’t put the radical far-right genie back in the bottle. They can’t abandon their anti-choice position or their racially antagonistic white base or any of the rest of their top-shelf positions. Talking about those issues in a different way won’t change what the modern GOP is all about.
It appears as if they’re just swapping the old bumper sticker slogans for slightly newer ones. The necrotic ideas will remain the same.
Keep going, Republicans. You’re doing great!