Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Other Eyes on The Prize

While we're getting entertainment from the Birther spectacle in the press, in Iowa - where the 2012 campaign begins - the remnants of the former Republican party are trying to drum back up a winning proposition. Of course, having lost the entire state apparatus to sane types has given them a jolt.

Announcing for election is a large array of locally prominent right wing characters. Funny, no appearances yet by Sarah Palin. Maybe party planners are wising up to the fact that they need to get their nutcases off the screen in Iowa, to get back to respectability where they can win.

Looking over the wasteland represented by nutjobs like Pat Buchanan and recurring talkshow 'others', as well as the Wingnuits, must provide GOP planners with a sad retrospective. From the meeting that raises the majority of campaign funds for the right, held last week, come a few notes that the majority ought to listen to. There, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack's replacement, Chet Culver, faces a crowded field of wingers, but there will be a mighty effort to unseat him and other public representatives in the legislature.

Most recently, prominent leaders of Iowa’s ideology-driven social conservative movement criticized state Republican leadership for not doing enough to overturn the Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, saying 2010 could be “the year of the primary.”

Barbour, who this week assumed the chairmanship of the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) following the resignation of scandal-tinged South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford from the organization’s top spot, was in Iowa to help raise money for the state Republican Party. He was also asked to come to the Hawkeye State because the RGA’s help will be essential for the party to defeat incumbent Democratic Gov. Chet Culver in 2010.

But if Iowa’s GOP wants to have any chance of defeating an incumbent, it must stick together. The party should also strive to be inclusive, Barbour said, adding that the need to build coalitions and to attract voters means it is not the time to focus on “purity.”

“There are a lot more things that unite us than do divide us,” Barbour said. “Or as President Reagan used to say, remember that a fellow that agrees with you 80 percent of the time is your friend. He’s not some 20-percent traitor.”

Defeating Culver was a reoccurring theme of the evening, with RPI Chairman Matt Strawn pointing out there are “just 496 days until Iowans tell Chet Culver his services are no longer needed.”

Barbour called Iowa one of the best opportunities in the country for Republicans to knock off a Democratic governor, and pledged that his organization would “do all we can do to be an asset to the Republican governor who gets elected next November.”

“Polling indicates the incumbent is in trouble,” he said. “The party has enthusiasm. There is a lot of energy in the party, and there are a lot of good candidates interested in running.”

Strawn said Thursday’s event, called “Night of the Rising Stars” and billed as a celebration of the next generation of Republican leadership, is just one more sign that Iowa’s GOP is back.

“Thinking about where we were just about eight months ago, when people had written us off for dead, not only did we hit the ground running, we’re sprinting,” he said, later adding: “Let’s not be on our heels. Let’s go on offense. Don’t let them define us.” (Emphasis added.)

We are well aware of the tendency of the wingers to bring straying elements into the fold and keep them voting on even the most destructive measures. We saw the arm-twisting in its vilest form when Medicare Part D was passed through falsified estimates of future costs and threats against congresspeople's family members.

The 'purity' designation is being applied to the religious element, and it is well thought through. While most voters are not inclined to dictate to women how they should reproduce and how doctors ought to treat their patients, the fundies that do are vital to the wingers to turn out voters. They have to be brought along, integrated by pacification, and the right is hard at work now to achieve just that.

The telephone trees are still there, waiting for a chance. They are still convinced that your nutty Aunt Tillies are the silent majority and that that vengeful god is just funnin' them because they didn't send Him a soul He really wanted lately. A lot of craziness can be finding itself tamped down, for just long enough to get back into the saddle of power, with the promise that the government will be back on their side if they can just lie low long enough. Pssst, Aunt Tillie, ditch the 'birther' ruckus for a bit.

While the left is busily at work trying to get the economy back on track, get us out of atrocities abroad, get the public back again as the things our government protects, the nutjobs are working to convince its loyalists that doing good is evil.

Their successes in that field worked to divert taxpayers' funds into the trough they fed off of for too many years to ignore. The wingers are out in force in Iowa, where legalizing gay marriage has brought differences to a head. The right is sure they can begin boring holes there that will bring down the solid foundation our country needs, once again.

President Obama is hard at work bringing his own message about what's good for this country to public attention, but he's getting a lot of interference from those who should be working hard to do the same. Keeping our eyes on the prize works for those who are doing right, too.

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