Friday, September 11, 2009

A party of 'cranks'?

Republican media consultant Mark McKinnon identifies the problem which the Republicans currently face, as he sees it.

“Neither party has an exclusive on whack jobs,” says Republican media consultant Mark McKinnon. “Unfortunately, right now the Democrats generally get defined by President Obama, and Republicans, who have no clear leadership, get defined by crackpots — and then they begin to define the Republican Party in the mind of the general public.
Where I disagree with him is in that this is merely a matter of perception, and that both parties have their fair share of whack jobs. For years the Republicans have been increasingly reliant on the support of the Christian right; indeed, it was to placate them that McCain chose the spectacularly unqualified Sarah Palin as his running mate.

And, in many ways, she and Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and others have become the public face of that party.

The image of the Republicans, as seen through any TV screen, simply couldn't get any wackier:
Here’s Orly Taitz, insisting that the commander in chief was born in Kenya. There’s a flock of town hall protesters, waving photos of the president in a Hitler moustache. Former GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin warns darkly that Obama is planning “death panels” for senior citizens. Georgia Rep. Paul Broun equates the president’s plans with “Nazi” policies. Ohio Rep. Jean Schmidt — last heard calling John Murtha a “coward” — tells a birther: “I agree with you, but the courts don’t.”

And then, in the midst of all the catcalls, hand-held signs and “I’m not listening” BlackBerrying, Wilson interrupts Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress by shouting, “You lie!”

“The president was helped more by the optics of House Republicans than by his own speech,” says former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.). “It’s not likely to do any long-term damage, but they need to be very careful how they oppose this president.”

One veteran GOP official puts it bluntly: “The image of a bunch of white guys booing an African-American president is about as bad as it gets.”
I understand the point which McKinnon is making. He's arguing that the Taitz's of this world do not represent the views of the average Republican Senator. And he's right.

However, because the Republican base has shrunk to such an extent, the Republican leaders appear unwilling to rebuke the kind of nonsense which Taitz and others have been coming out with. And that silence is beginning to look an awful lot like consent.

And when one then has Sarah Palin, the Republican party's Vice-Presidential nominee, talking about death panels, then it's harder still to write off the madness as something which is occurring solely on the fringes of the party. It begins to look as if that is who the Republican party are.

The problem for the Republicans is that the argument that, "every party has it's whack jobs" is seriously undermined by the fact that they proposed electing one of those whack jobs to within a 72 year old heartbeat of the Presidency.

That's a decision which will haunt them for years to come. And, every time she twitters another piece of hyperbolic nonsense, she reminds everyone that the Republican party seriously proposed putting her a heartbeat away from the nuclear codes.

And no party which proposed something that insane can complain that they are being unfairly judged.


In case any proof was needed that the Republicans are a party of whack jobs.

Click title for full article.

No comments: