Monday, May 04, 2009

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

Yesterday I had the good fortune to be in Philadelphia where I picked up the Enquirer and found some excellent writing about the GOP's facing Specter's switch. For my part, I've seen too much of the grandstanding Sen. Specter has done when issues were vitally important. I can't see any value to some one who will proclaim his support for reality based policies, but never effect them. At least Specter sees the difference between right and wrong: sadly, though, he doesn't see it as important enough to act on.

The departure of another member of their party is showing increasingly the inability of right wing ideology to hold believers in the face of the disaster that that ideology has wrought. Of course, that is a very good eventuality for the country.

Editorial writers do continue busily analyzing the future prospects for proven failure.

Naturally, the conservative true-believers are thrilled that Specter is gone ("good riddance"); they've somehow convinced themselves that the loss of yet another Republican Senate seat constitutes a great victory. It's delusional. The more the party shrinks, the happier they seem. I marvel at their ability to resolutely march through the smoking wreckage, all the while insisting that it smells like perfume.

Let us briefly sift the ashes. The party right now has no coherent message, aside from "Do Not Offend Rush Limbaugh." Its messengers are basically conservatives who speak to the choir. It has virtually zilch appeal beyond its base, as evidenced by the '08 election and every subsequent poll; the party is alienating suburbanites, independents, Latinos (the fastest-growing cohort in the electorate), and people under age 30 (the voters who will dominate for the next half century).

A respected nonpartisan group, the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, summed it up perfectly in a winter report: "The GOP is out of contention in New England and the West. It is getting out of contention in the Mid-Atlantic states and the industrial Midwest. Its bases of former support in the farm Midwest, mountain states, and the South are eroding.

"The only places where the GOP enjoys a durable advantage are Idaho, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Texas. And with the growth of the Latino population, Texas will likely be at least a toss-up state within the next decade." (Actually, pollsters report that 48 percent of Texas Republicans are so angry with President Obama that they want their state to secede from the union. Isn't that unpatriotic? Whatever happened to "My country, right or wrong"?)
...a recent Pew poll even reports that 75 percent of Republicans have no idea who the leader of their party is. Lately, the two most prominent spokesmen have been Newt Gingrich and Dick Cheney, which should tell you plenty. Gingrich peaked in 1998, when he was compelled to quit as House speaker. And one can only imagine how young voters view Cheney. Not only does he epitomize the rot of the Bush era, he also looks like a haunted-house character in an old Charles Addams cartoon.

Freedom from the kind of abuse the country has suffered from the right wing is not something rational beings will regret. That editorial writers are able to indulge a little enjoyment shows that they've been close enough to disaster to feel the threat of those autocratic practices.

Charles Addams didn't mean to suggest actual behavior - but the wingers seem to have mistaken his cartoons for prescriptive suggestions. Despite his artistic appeal, Milton did not mean for his readers to take Satan as a role model. Neither was Darth Vader supposed to be heroic. Sorry, wingnuts, you were supposed to see that evil was wrong, no matter how well those special effects were achieved.

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