Tuesday, February 03, 2009

This Time They're Right

Ruth's response to the selection of Michael Steele to lead the RNC was right on the mark. She saw it as a typical Republican move. When Hillary Clinton almost succeeded in her drive for the Democratic presidential nomination, the GOP forced John McCain to select Sarah Palin as his running mate. When Barack Obama won the election, the GOP found a presentable African American to head their party. Both decisions give new meaning to the term "reactionary."

An editorial in today's Los Angeles Times fills out the analysis further, suggesting that Mr. Steele isn't the one who will be the guiding force for his party. A talk show host will.

Hurting and in disarray after a devastating election -- their second in a row -- that put a Democrat in the White House and widened the opposing party's control of Congress, Republicans can now take solace in the fact that they seem to have chosen a strong figure to lead them. We refer, of course, to talk-radio rabble-rouser Rush Limbaugh ... oh, and there's also Michael Steele.

Steele, elected last week as chairman of the Republican Party, declared in his acceptance speech that it was "time for something completely different." It's hard to tell what he meant, other than that he is a different color -- Steele is the first African American to lead the Republicans. Otherwise, he's a middle-of-the-road fiscal and social conservative who hews very closely to the official party line on most issues. ...

And that's where Limbaugh comes in. Proudly intolerant, rigidly doctrinaire, he tells many in the GOP base exactly what they want to hear, and with a weekly audience of at least 13.5 million, he has clout enjoyed by few politicians. A party that takes its marching orders from the likes of Limbaugh won't recover from its malaise any time soon. The GOP's flirtation with moderates like McCain is clearly over, at least for the moment, and most likely we'll see a return to the conservative tenets that propelled Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush to victory. That would likely solidify the party's base and clarify its core values, but it's a risky course amid changing political demographics: Young people and minorities, especially Latinos, make up a far more significant piece of the electorate today than in Reagan's years. Along with a new messenger, the GOP might consider a new message.

In other words, the GOP continues to stake its future on its past, a past that just wasn't all that fruitful, even if it did make some people feel good. The selection of a new front man isn't going to make one bit of difference, especially if the Obama administration makes any kind of dent in the economic disaster it inherited from that past.

The drive to irrelevancy continues, and even looks to be picking up speed. I am just vindictive enough to be smiling and nodding.

Oh, and editorial board? You got it right this time.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin Librul/Rogue Scholar/ Helluvafella!) said...

If, as seems likely, Obama & the Dims cannot reverse the financial melt-down, and if--as seems also highly likely--the crisis deepens, and if--as also seems likely--times get much harder, and if--as also seems likely--this crisis actually starts to seriously touch the lives of pizza-befuddled, hdtv-bedazzled, bud-lite-addled (say, by reducing the quantities of those consumables available to "avrge Murkins," the people will blame OBAMA & the DIMS, now...

7:18 AM  
Blogger Meander said...

Clinton came into office, enacted an economic stimulus plan that, then, as now, was utterly rejected by Republicans, and left office with a growing economy and a budget surplus.

So - not so bad.

11:33 AM  

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