Thursday, November 15, 2012

The New Republican Strategy: Pretend the Election Never Happened

Back in 2009, conservatives made their political goals pretty obvious: do anything in their power to make the Obama administration fail and thus limit it to one term.  This was not some kind of secret conspiracy, everyone from Mitch McConnell on down to Rush Limbaugh said it out loud straight into the microphone.  After four years of unprecedented filibusters, Tea Party histrionics, and wild accusations that the president is a foreign-born imposter hell-bent on destroying America's very essence, the American public rejected this irresponsible gambit at the polls.

If you've been paying attention to the political news since last Tuesday, you might think that Republicans are unaware that we just had an election where the president was re-elected, and Republicans lost seats in both houses of Congresses.  Not only that, their Tea Party Senate candidates in Indiana and Missouri -states Romney won- went down in defeat, and the GOP maintained the House largely because of gerrymandering.  By any rational measure, the Republican party and the ideas it stands for were clearly repudiated.

Despite these facts, John McCain continues to rant about Benghazi in a conspiratorial fashion that voters just don't buy.  Worse still, he is doing so in a blatant attempt to smear Susan Rice, one of the likely replacements for Hilary Clinton as Secretary of State.  (His insulting remarks about her "not being too bright" are rather reminiscent of John Sununu's infamous denunciation of our law professor president's intellect.)  These shenanigans are an obvious shot across the bow to the president, sending the message that even though he just won re-election, Republicans will continue to obstruct and libel just as they did before.

I've also been puzzled and irritated by the fact that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are still in the news.  One of the best things about Obama winning was that I thought I could be sure not to have to hear Mitt Romney's smirky, asshole boss voice over my radio ever again, and that his dead-eyed granny killer sidekick would take a low profile for the time being.  Instead, I am hearing all about Romney's self-serving narrative about why he lost the election, which boils down to "Obama did a dirty deal by giving away freebies to those lazy black and brown people, and by enabling slatternly young women to engage in immorality."  This makers vs. takers bullshit heavily tinged with racial animus and misogyny is the same kind of garbage the right subjected us to for the past election year.  I can't recall a time when a defeated presidential candidate was this far out into the public eye and making such flagrantly divisive statements so soon after an election.  He's almost acting as if the campaign is still going, and the election that he lost wasn't real or legitimate.

I guess the right's willingness to forget the election ever happened is consistent with their behavior before the election and on election night itself, when Republicans refused to believe the poll numbers were true and Karl Rove had his famous meltdown on live television.  Both Mitch McConnell and John Boehner wouldn't get out of bed to talk to the president when he called their homes that night, a childish act of denial.  Conservatives think they are the "real America," and thus it is simply impossible and against the laws of the universe that they would not be commanding it.  If a liberal black Democrat is in charge, no matter if he beat them twice, it is an unacceptable state of affairs.  A poll out today shows that a majority of Republicans do not think that the party ought to cooperate with the president, despite the oncoming "fiscal cliff" and the fact that their party has just lost an election.

I had hope that this election would be a wake-up call, especially after Chris Christie's willingness to put his animus against the president aside and act like an adult for once.  It seems that my hopes were misplaced, and that the GOP will remain the ideologically extreme death cult that it has become in recent years.  I can only shudder to think about the implications of this on our country's need to solve some pressing problems.

1 comment:

Helen Bushnell said...

I think that people who are actually willing to get some work done, like Chris Christie, should either take back the Republican party or start a new one.