(If you like this blog, consider making a donation over in the right column. Thanks...)
It apparently takes a good electoral thumping to get Republicans to do a little soul searching. Key words: a little. The problem is, it can’t last. In part, it’s because they have no soul. But more than that, introspection isn’t what they do, because their core constituency, or "base," won’t allow it. (Seriously, has their ever been a better name for a political party's core constituents than the GOP "base"? Think about it.)
This is what happens when you cultivate a “base” that not only doesn’t care much about knowledge and intelligence, but that actually despises the concept. The reason current Republicans sound as stupid and bigoted as they do is because they need their stupid, bigoted white “base” to have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning anything. And since “winning” is the only thing they seem to understand, expecting any sort of moderation anytime soon is a pipe dream.
Anyone with any political sense at all would have demonstrated alarm over the emergence of an element as radical as the Tea Party within its ranks. Instead, they embraced it, and even nurtured it, because their “base” loved the concepts as discussed, regardless of their ridiculousness.
Look at the current Republican Party, folks. The radicals have completely taken over, to the point that GOP moderates have become independents or, in a number of cases, Democrats. You know why there were so many Blue Dogs in Congress at one time? Because there is no longer a place for actual conservatives in today’s GOP.
And it’s only going to get worse, unless we put a stop to it.
I mean, think about it; how are they going to change within the next couple of election cycles? You think they can just change their message and everyone will flock to them? Who would believe it? They’ve shown tremendous disrespect to just about every demographic group except white males for so long, do they really think they’ll suddenly be forgiven if they just say the “right things”?
Will black people listen to a bunch of ass-kissing from Republicans, and just forget all of the disrespect they’ve received over the decades? Will Hispanics suddenly embrace the party wholeheartedly, just because they agree to allow limited amnesty to persons from south of the border, and forget all of the images of "illegals" sneaking over the border to steal "American Jobs" ? Will gays just suddenly forgive the fact that the party has demeaned them and compared them to molesters and pedophiles for the last few decades, and come to embrace the party anytime soon? Come on, get real.
There is so much dead weight in the current incarnation of the Republican Party, precisely because they’ve spent decades catering to the worst elements of our society, because it’s the only way they think they can win. Not only will these people (and I use the term loosely) fanatically vote for anyone who says what they want to hear, but they are so despicable, they make reasonable people want to stay home from the polls, thus fulfilling their other major strategy. We thought the Willie Horton ad was as despicable as it could get at the time we saw that, but they've been topping themselves for the last 12 election cycles now. Stuff we couldn’t have imagined even being said 25 years ago has actually become Republican orthodoxy. Arguments over what type of rape is “legitimate”? Advocating to force raped women to carry their attacker's baby to term? Asserting that 47% of the population are a bunch of lazy moochers because they don't make enough income to pay income taxes? Insinuating that someone who uses contraception under a doctor's care must be a "slut"?
How can a political party that features and even promotes despicable talking heads like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Ted Nugent and Donald Trump just "change"? How can a party that caters to people like birthers and teabaggers as if their “ideas” were legitimate be taken seriously? A party that openly celebrates the 1% richest people in our society and castigates most of the other 99% as “moochers” can’t simply change their tune overnight and expect to be taken seriously.
Then, there's the beating the concept of "facts" has taken over the last few decades. How can anyone take anything a Republican politician says without a grain of salt the size of the Bonneville flats? Because they have spent the last several decades trying to appeal to the dregs of political society, and their “base” cares far less about the truth than they care about being told what they want to hear, there’s been a serious “facts deficit” in the debate. All politicians lie, but get real; when confronted with facts, most will acknowledge them and change their story. Current-era Republicans just make things up out of whole cloth, and then insist on it, even with confronted with facts. And when they do, they have an entire media apparatus that will support them, even if the truth is on video for the entire world to see. Consider this; the oh-so-meticulous Steve Benen catalogued 912 Willard Romney lies just during 2012 alone. If he’d included 2008 and 2011, he might have keeled over from pure exhaustion. For a party that referred to Bill Clinton as “Slick Willie” for many years because of a relatively paltry number of lies, most of which were made up, the hit to their credibility is staggering.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to live in a one-party system forever. Yet, that’s where we’re headed. There used to be a sense of equilibrium in the system.; there was a balance between the two parties, with the extremist nuts kept in check by the moderate voices in each party. Now, there is little equilibrium.
We can return the government to the level of sanity that used to rule the day, but it’ll take some time and effort, and it’ll require a sense of compromise.
First, though, we have to get rid of the right wing. For the next few election cycles, we have to work toward one-party rule. Don’t worry, it won’t be permanent. But the only way to defeat this ideology is to actually defeat it. That means recognizing that a Blue Dog is far preferable to a teabagger, and that the current Democratic Party is far and away the only party that actually gives a damn about the people.
Then, all liberals have to return to the Democratic Party. And I don't mean just stand on the sidelines and make demands; we all have to actually register as Democrats and participate in nominating Democrats that we can all be proud of.
Once we can get a supermajority in both halves of Congress, the problem will begin to take care of itself. It will take a few election cycles, though, so have patience. After several stinging defeats, Republicans will realize they have no choice but to completely regroup, which will require them to send their current “base” packing. Over time (again, we need patience), moderates will reclaim the Republican party, and a lot of those who left the GOP previously will rejoin, including a lot of the Blue Dogs so many progressives seem to hate so much.
By the mid 2020s, we can have the parties back to where they should be, and the right wing will be on the fringes, where they belong. But it will take a while, and it will take a concerted effort on our part to make it happen. It’s a process, and there are no shortcuts. We have to renounce the right wing ideology and force the Republican Party to change itself. For that to happen, it has to lose. A lot.