While the Presidential election is still 9 months away, it’s already apparent to a lot of Republicans that their party is in such disarray that it is unlikely they will be able to launch a serious challenge to the reelection of Barack Obama. Let the blame-game begin.
In a brilliant column in today’s New York Times entitled, The Possum Republicans, David Brooks decries all the “mainstream” centrist Republicans like Sen. Richard Lugar (R. Indiana) who have surrendered their own principled convictions to please tea-party Republicans on the right whom he calls the ‘wingers.’
The result of all this pandering is that a political party that had traditionally been identified with national security, pro-business policies and keeping government lean and mean, is now seen by many Americans as disorganized circus starring a lot of frightening clowns. Many moderate Republicans like Lugar and Romney, have so capitulated their moderate positions on healthcare and reproductive rights to win the loyalty of the angriest, most insane elements of the Republican base, it is now impossible to identify what the party stands for and who are its leaders.
Brooks is all too aware of the damage done:
All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum.
Brooks accurately gauges the capacity of the “wingers” to participate in the democratic process:
“They have zero tolerance for the compromises needed to get legislation passed. They don’t believe in trimming and coalition building. For them, politics is more about earning respect and making a statement than it is about enacting legislation. It’s grievance politics, identity politics.”
The result? A wishy-washy centrist like Romney who has changed his mind so many times on so many issues that neither independent voters or the “wingers” trust him. Can he really be the Republican standard-bearer? The old-guard knows that Santorum and Gingrich are losing propositions but the base is still hoping for an alternative.
And who would believe that just 5 years after being forced out of the U.S. Senate because of his bombastic brand of social conservatism, many Americans are today pondering the very real possibility of Rick Santorum becoming the Republican nominee? Even if Santorum doesn’t get the nomination, the damage is done: The wingers and the wish-washy centrists have turned the Republican Party into a joke.
I remind you that Homer Simpson once went to Clown College! Perhaps he should run for the Republican nomination. He couldn’t do more damage than bush even if he caused a nuclear meltdown. Plus he’s had lots of experience!