I feel like the Republicans are done for in 2012.
As vulnerable (and mediocre) as President Obama has been, the GOP was unable to find anyone better than the murderer’s row of assholes currently working the Primary Season Tour. Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum suck so badly they can’t even beat Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Rick Santorum. The candidates are tearing themselves apart in an ugly primary conflict that could drag out and irreparably devastate whoever is left standing to accept the nomination.
At least one can hope.
Ron Paul manages to get about 50% of what he says right. And he’s pretty damn honest for a politician. Unfortunately, the 50% he gets wrong he gets waaaaayyyy wrong. I mean, the Department of Education is Unconstitutional? By that logic so is the United States Air Force and the FBI. (And I’m not even touching on how he printed (and profited from) a White Power themed newsletter for 20 years.)
But more than any particular candidate’s shortcomings, I think the actual Republican Party has pushed itself out of the mainstream.
They’ve been virulently opposed to women’s reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade and against sensible immigration reform for a decade. They’ve spewed rhetoric against multiculturalism, the labor unions, and entitlement programs for years. They’ve been trying to shove their interpretation of the Bible down our throats since the 1980’s. And they’ve tried to disenfranchise left-leaning voters since the Nixon era. None of that is new.
What is new is that they’re going after all of these groups at the same time. They started as soon as they took power following the 2010 elections and they haven’t let up since. I doubt they will relent going forward either. Maybe they feel like they’re going to get voted out of office soon and they want to make hay while the sun’s shining. I don’t know.
Actually, I wish the Democrats would legislate with as much vigor.
Another new element is how far they’re trying to turn things back. Conservatives always want to roll things back, but it seems like these guys want to go back to Dwight Eisenhower’s America. I mean, anti-contraception? Seriously? Then there are things like the trans-vaginal ultrasounds and mandatory drug tests for people receiving unemployment (as well as anyone–who is poor–receiving government assistance). They’re talking about moon colonies and poor kids cleaning their schools. Mind you this is in the election immediately following the chickens for healthcare debacle. It makes them seem very wacky.
It’s already turning people off. The ultrasound bill looks like it’s been effectively killed. Scott Walker is being recalled in Wisconsin. John Kasich in Ohio and Rick Scott in Florida are teetering on the brink. To top it off, the Republicans came out on the short end of the debt ceiling debate (which may be starting up again around election time).
And for all their efforts, mainstream America is not happy with the Republicans. Of course, no no one is happy with the Democrats either (although Obama’s labors are now starting to bear fruit). But the Republicans have done a lot more to alienate voters. They are out of touch with what people are dealing with. They are too openly supportive of big business. And they’ve got enemies all over the electorate.
In the end, I think it will probably cost them the election. And not just the presidency.
(Approval ratings image from: http://www.gallup.com/poll/116479/barack-obama-presidential-job-approval.aspx. Republican hopefuls image from: https://plus.google.com/117458573761796006397/posts/75neNe6QxwU. Ron paul image from: http://speakup-usa.com/. Wisconsin protestors image from: http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_62326.shtml. Mittually assured destruction motivational from: http://www.stridentconservative.com/?p=2097. The governors image from: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2011/05/19/republican-governor-popularity-plummets-from-ohios-kasich-to-floridas-scott-to-wisconsins-walker.html. The spanked woman image from: http://www.politicususa.com/en/shame-american-women)