The Ongoing Fall Of The Republican Party.

Nov 26

It really is sad to see the state of the US Republican Party these days.

Aided by the howler monkeys in the right wing media, their attempts to smear President Obama, both as a candidate for President and throughout his firs term by accusing him of secretly being some sort of totalitarian socialist hell-bent on destroying the American economy whilst weakening national security came to naught.

So did their attempts to stymie his health care act, or to paint him into a corner by trying to hold the economy hostage with the debt ceiling crisis of 2011, the fiscal cliff at the dawn of 2013, the sequester and the ill-advised, ill-fated October 2013 attempt to threaten another debt crisis by shutting down the government.

Their efforts to deny his reelection in 2012 resulted in Obama’s stunning (for them, at least) defeat of Mitt Romney, a loss they never saw coming because their insular politics, small-minded punditry and self-serving pollsters.

Barely six months into Obama’s second term, they tried to embroil his administration in scandal. First was their initial reaction to the attack on the US embassy in Benghazi, Libya which killed an ambassador. Next was the news the IRS may have singled out conservative political groups for investigation. Then they were reports the Department of Justice sought out the e-mails of several reporters who were receiving leaked top secret information on North Korea from within the administration.

For a couple of weeks, the stories ginned up enough interest to attract the rest of the mainstream media, starved for real scandal since the W. Bush administration and still suffering from both election withdrawal and embarrassment from hyping the last presidential election as a close race when it really wasn’t.

The fate awaiting the Republicans if they don't change their tactics.

The fate awaiting the Republicans if they don’t change their tactics.

The problem for those controlling the Republican Party, their experts and their media sycophants, despite all the promises of blockbuster, mind-blowing revelations which would be worse that Watergate and Iran-Contra (the two worst presidential scandals in recent American history, which happened to two Republican presidents), it turned out there wasn’t anything scandalous about these scandals at all.

Benghazi, while certainly an unfortunate tragedy, didn’t occur as a direct result of Obama, his then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, or his administration either deliberately leaving that embassy under-protected, or denying them protection when it was under attack.

Indeed, it subsequently came to light attempts to increase funding for embassy security before the Benghazi attrack were rejected by (ta-dah!) the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

An investigation in the Benghazi attack noted the problems and assessed proper blame for the situation, but that did prevent angry Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham to push for subsequent Senate Committee Hearings, promising new revelations by state department officials involved in the “Benghazi affair”, which subsequently failed to shed any further light on the tragedy.

The IRS debacle turned out to a low-level affair out of a Cincinnati office, which not only targeted conservative political groups but also some liberal ones, too. That didn’t stop House Oversight Committee chair Darryl Issa from trying to tie it directly to Obama with baseless claims of direction from the White House to target groups unfriendly to the president.

It wasn’t for lack of effort. The right-wing Daily Caller website claimed then-IRS commissioner Douglas Schuman (an appointee of Obama’s predecessor) visited the White House 157 times over the past three years. Aha! The “smoking gun” revealed!  Except it was subsequently revealed Schuman received clearance to visit the White House 157 times, but he actually made 11 visits overall, most of which had to do with the tax implications of implementing the new health care act.

Oops!

Fox News tried to keep the hoax alive several days after it was debunked, but it was clear this “scandal” was running out of steam, especially given Schuman’s successor stepped down in the days immediately following when the story broke.

Issa remained determined to find any link to the White House, and spent the summer vainly beating the bushes handing out subpoenas and staging a hearing into the matter. None of which found that magical “smoking gun” he, the Republican leadership, and the right-wing media so dearly want to find.

As for the DOJ investigation into the links to reporters, that’s was purely a media-driven affair. The Republicans quietly harrumphed over it, but considering they also would’ve supported such measures if a Republican were in the White House, and the fact they really don’t have much sympathy to the mainstream media as a whole, it didn’t amount to much. Even so, it’s apparent this investigation went no further than the DOJ, with no direct order from the White House.

Apart from those far-right fanatics who’ll believe anything the Republican leadership and the self-serving right-wing shouting heads tell them about Obama, the American public were indifferent to these “scandals”. Obama’s poll numbers actually rose in the weeks after the Benghazi hearings in April and when the IRS and DoJ stories broke.

While the Republicans run around trying to find something – anything – indicating Obama did anything impeachable, or at the very least tarnish his legacy, they’re in increasing danger of losing ground with American voters.

A report earlier this year on “Millennial” voters revealed most won’t vote for Republicans, considering the party old and hateful.

Republicans continue to lose support among minorities, especially Latinos (the largest and fastest growing minority in America), whom they continue to alienate with their steadfast reluctance toward immigration reform.

A poisonous strain of male chauvinism is costing them women voters, especially among young women, who aren’t exactly thrilled with the Republican idea a woman’s place is in the home, barefoot and pregnant, with no say over their reproductive organs.

Once upon a time, roughly 25 years ago, Republicans could count largely on the votes of white males to carry them to the White House. In every presidential election since 1992, however, the Democrat candidate won the White House four of the last six times, and won the popular vote in all but one.

The Republican Party, which could count on a strong white male base, is finding the ground shifting beneath its feet. Their base is ageing and slowly dying off. A majority of Male voters under 30 voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, while he also got the majority of the votes of women and minorities.

Republicans know this . In the wake of Obama’s 2012 victory, the Party commissioned a report investigating the reasons why they not only lost the White House, but also seats in the House and Senate.

It revealed a party out of touch with the changing demographics of America, and offered up recommendation to reach out to those they’ve alienated over the years.

Common sense stuff, which most of the party leadership, especially those in the far-right “Tea Party” wing, have rejected outright.

From the turtle-like Senator Minority leader Mitch McConnell, to the emasculated House Majority leader John Boehner, to the far right loons like Issa, Ted Cruz, Louis Gohmert, and the soon-to-depart Michelle Bachman, to the supposed “young guns”, Eric Cantor, Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan and Rand Paul, none are capable of bringing about the change the Republican Party desperately needs to prevent itself from sinking further into a morass of its own making.

Rather that attempt to steer itself to the center, most Republicans believe they must steer their ship even harder to the right, secure in the belief the problem isn’t their politics but how they’re delivering the message

They fail to realize the majority of Americans have heard that message and don’t want to have anything to do with it. The louder the Republicans call for tax cuts for the wealthy, increasing interest rates on student loans, repealing Obamacare (or at least gutting it), resisting immigration reform, shunning homosexuals and sending women’s reproductive rights back to the 19th century, the more Americans tune them out.

There are moderates within the Republican Party, who see where their party is headed and would love to seize the wheel and turn it to the center, but their voices have been silenced by volume or threats of replacement with more hard-right candidates if they fail to toe the party line.

The majority in the House the Republicans which got elected in 2010 by successfully hyping up anger over the stalled economy and drumming up unfounded fears (death panels!) over Obamacare is now in danger of being reduced to minority status in the 2014 mid-terms, perhaps significantly so. It’s also possible the Democrats could regain a super-majority of 60-plus seats in the Senatoe.

Those events would ensure the end of the stonewalling by the Republicans which resulted in much of the gridlock since 2011, ensuring the final two years of Obama’s final term as president move along smoothly, guaranteeing his legacy and potentially ensuring his place in American history as the first great president of the 21st Century.

But the Republicans remain obvious to the debacle they’re careening toward. They’ve resealed themselves into their bubble, cutting themselves off from the very voters they must woo if they’re to retain control of the House and avoid losing seats in the Senate in 2014.

Significant losses in the House and Senate in 2014 could be what’s needed to jolt the Republicans out of their self-delusions and release them from the poisonous grip of the hard-right, setting it on the path toward a much-needed adjustment to the changing voter landscape in America.

It probably won’t be enough to give them a chance at winning the presidency in 2016, but perhaps losing that as well could be the coup de grace to the end of the Republican Party as we currently know it, and its rebirth as a much-needed and overdue moderate, compassionate conservative voice in America.

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