Embrace the Suck: Midterm Edition
Following the fiasco of the Romney/Ryan ticket in the 2012 presidential race, the Republican National Committee decided that the time had come for the GOP to face some hard truths and make some changes. Republican strategists compiled a post-mortem and listed areas in which the GOP needed to improve its strategies and tactics in order to win elections. It was not a short list, but neither was it a surprising list, at least for anyone existing outside of the conservative echo chamber.
Nor is it surprising, today, that Republicans are heading into the 2014 mid-term elections with less of a clue on how to correct their course than they had in 2013. There are all sorts of theories about why that is so, both inside and outside the party. Some blame dark money influence, while others blame ideological rigidity and epistemic closure.
Me? I’ve recently come to my own conclusion and, it pains me very much to say it—but I think I agree with Gov Bobby Jindal that Republicans have simply become the party of Stupid. The people who run the party, the people who vote for the party’s candidates and the candidates themselves are disturbingly un-serious people.
And there is no shortage of concrete evidence that Republican politicians have become frivolous, witless, practitioners of sophistry who appeal to the same kinds of voters . . .
A prime example? Mitt Romney is a loser. He doesn’t have what it takes to win a national election, let alone run the country. The country said so. The country hasn’t forgotten that in the short span of two years. Nevertheless, who is popping up in every middlesex village and farm, these days, for lack of anyone better? Willard “Mitt” Romney, who is anxious to tell us how much better he would be at handling matters had we only voted for him. Silly!
This is a man, whose greatest foreign policy achievement was getting out of Europe in one piece after what the Washington Post dubbed Gaffe-a-palooza.
The European press? even less complimentary—the French newsweekly Le Nouvel Observateur described Romney’s quest as having lurched “from failures to polemics.” In the U.K., the Sun dubbed Romney “Mitt the Twit.” And French daily Le Figaro — a militant supporter of conservatives of any nationality — ran a blog post with the headline, “Is Mitt Romney a Loser?”
Well, as it turns out, yes he is. Unless you’re a rudderless Republican party so talent-starved that Rand Paul is starting to look good for 2016. A serious political party would not expect the American public to buy Mitt Romney as a foreign policy expert, much less one who imagines he would have handled the national interests better than Barack Obama. There’s simply no basis in fact for stating or believing such a thing. It’s silly.
And then there’s the seriously presidential-looking Sen. Rob Portman promising fans of a Republican takeover of the Senate majority that:
I suspect we will vote to repeal early to put on record the fact that we Republicans think it was a bad policy and we think it is hurting our constituents. We think health care costs should be going down, not up. We think people should be able to keep the insurance that they had.
Just in case anyone had any doubts about whether Senate Republicans were saner than their nitwit colleagues in the House who voted 50 times to repeal Obamacare and replace it with . . . ?
This is really silly, Sen Portman.
Turning to the House? well, there are a lot of serious issues pending and very, very little time [that’s a feature, not a bug, in Congress R113.0]. There’s a shutdown to consider, the Ex-Im Bank, which nobody really understands, might expire. There’s war to declare. Or not.
. . . [the] House will also target the scourge of poor people withdrawing welfare benefits from ATMs inside Colorado pot shops. Lawmakers will vote on the Preserving Welfare For Needs Not Weed Act on Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for sponsor Dave Reichert (R-WA).
Note, these are welfare recipients using an ATM, in or near a pot shop, just like I sometimes use an ATM at my local library. Doesn’t mean I plan to buy library books with the cash. But this is obviously important to Republicans who spend lots of time obsessing over what poor people use their government benefits to buy and who will use any legislative opportunity to imply that people on welfare are irresponsible druggies.
So. The premise is simple-minded enough but then, it turns out that Rep. Reichert’s bill won’t actually prevent anyone from debiting cash somewhere else then spending it on marijuana.
Doesn’t get much sillier than that.
But, finally, saving the absolute best for last, I present that Colossus of Institutional Silliness: The Official 2014 Republican Party of Texas Platform. This document is one lavish spread of wall-to-wall world-class silliness from demanding a re-investigation of Benghazi!! to doing away with direct election of senators, to a bold statement of climate change denial and formal opposition to creeping Sharia, all topped off with an anti-cloning position.
The Republican Party Platform of Texas is a compendium of silliness, conspiracy theories and wingnut extremism without parallel. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that the editorial staff of World Net Daily lent a hand in compiling it.
You have to read it to believe it. And, as Charlie Pierce points out:
As it happens, the governor of Texas, and the current titular head of the Texas Republican party, is running around the country pretending to be smart enough to be president. I think it would behoove someone with a teevee program to have the governor on and ask him how much of this undistilled bilge he really believes.
My point: if you are at all serious about how the country is run, and by whom, it has become increasingly important to vote in every possible election from local to national every time the opportunity presents itself. The silliness of the Republican Party never takes a break so neither should people who recognize their silliness and vote against it.
Please vote, people. Seriously.