Posts tagged with "GOP"

What Went Wrong?

Last week a group of Republican politicians and strategists met secretly in Washington for a high-level post-election debriefing. Yesterday, someone slipped a transcript of the meeting under my door.

Attending the meeting were Roger Ailes, Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Newt Gingrich, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor.

Ailes: Gentlemen, are we all here? Where’s Mitt?

Cantor: That loser? He wasn’t invited. Not like he was ever really one of us.

Ryan: Hey, he’s a good guy. I got to know him pretty well during the campaign.

Cantor: Another loser heard from. You couldn’t even carry your home state.

Ryan: You want to step outside and say that?

Ailes: Cool it, both of you. Calm down, everyone.  You two can work that out next session. We’re here to figure out what went wrong.

Boehner: You should talk. Who was it that created the Fox bubble, anyway, Mr. Alternate Reality. Obama’s unpopular, the real issue is the deficit, Romney’s ahead in the polls, the Dems are gonna get trounced.

Gingrich: Yeah. As the historian in this crowd, I could have told you there’s no such thing as permanent majority.

Ryan: Hah! Didn’t YOU predict a Romney landslide, while you were on the Fox payroll?

Rove: Aren’t we getting a little off track here? Let’s face it, we underestimated Obama’s ground game. We had a lead, but they almost caught up with us in spending.

Cantor: Yeah, right. What did your $400 million win? Bupkus! And you want to piss away MORE?

Boehner: Shut up, Cantor. I had a grand bargain on the deficit in my hand, but you and your Tea Party loonies walked.

Norquist: You shut up, John. You would have caved on taxes, just to get a deal you could put your name on.  And now you’re making public statements like you’re trying to weasel out of the Pledge again.

McConnell: No deals! Not gonna happen on my watch.  Obama’s got to come to us.

Boehner: Screw you, Mitch. Did you happen notice who lost MORE seats in the Senate? I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t the Dems. At least I hung on to the House.

Ailes: Only because those seats are so gerrymandered you COULDN’T lose. Even that idiot Bachmann kept hers.

Gingrich: I think we’re missing the point here. We lost because the country is changing. There are more Latinos and Blacks, and that’s not going to change.  We lost their vote and women. Demographics is destiny, gentlemen.

McConnell: So what do you propose? Roll over and pander to them? Like Hell!

Cantor: Amnesty for illegals? MORE Medicaid and food stamps and unemployment insurance? Contraception for women? Admit that rape is a bad thing? Abortion? Are you nuts? Abandon everything this party stands for?

Boehner: A little compromise on some issues wouldn’t be a bad thing, necessarily. You moved to the middle during the election, didn’t you, Paul?

Ailes: Lied like a rug, not that it convinced anyone.

Gingrich: Wait. I have a brilliant idea!

Rove: You’re going to divorce Callista?

Gingrich: Shut up. We’re thinking about this all wrong. Who DID vote for us?

McConnell: White men.

Gingrich: Right. As the resident historian, I can tell you that when this Republic was founded, only white men were allowed to vote.

McConnell: Yeah, so? I don’t quite follow.

Boehner: There’s a surprise.

McConnell: Shut up.

Ailes: But that would require repealing the Emancipation Proclamation AND the 19th Amendment.

Cantor: That’s crazy! That would take years to work through the states, and you’d never get Blacks and women to vote for it.

Gingrich: Who’s talking about repeal? Get the Supreme Court to declare them both unconstitutional.

Ryan: How can an amendment be unconstitutional? That makes no sense. The Court can’t overturn an amendment, can it?

Gingrich: These are the same guys who declared corporations are people and money is speech. If they can do that, they can do this.

Cantor: It’s brilliant!

Boehner: Do you really think we count on them to do it?

Gingrich: Scalia will absolutely LOVE it. The originalist asked to reaffirm the Founders’ intent.  Done deal. Alito will fall in line, Kennedy’s on our side now. Thomas does anything Scalia says. I’m a little worried about Roberts, though, after the Obamacare ruling.

Ailes: He got beat up so bad for that one, I think he’ll fall back in line.

McConnell: I hate to bring this up, but isn’t Clarence Thomas Black?

Ryan: Now that you mention it, I think so. You wouldn’t know it from his rulings or the way he acts, but yeah, I’m pretty sure I remember him being Black when he was appointed.

Boehner: Hmm. That could be a problem. Would he vote to take away his own vote?

Cantor: Damn!

Ailes: I think we should at least feel him out. But we really ought to have a Plan B if this doesn’t work.

McConnell: Like what?

Ailes: You won’t like this, but we may actually have to reach out to minorities and women.

McConnell: I’m against it.

Boehner: Mitch, the whole idea stinks, but I think we have to. Let’s put Ryan to work on the women initiative.  They go for those big dreamy blue eyes of his. We’re going to have to give on immigration reform if we ever want the Latinos. We can put Rubio and Bush on that.

Cantor: I can’t believe we’re doing this.

Boehner: Art of the possible, Gentlemen. We do what we have to. Now for the really hard part: anyone here know any Black people?

(long silence)

Boehner: Anyone?


Nov 8


This was a close election, right? A nation bitterly divided between red and blue. Two parties evenly splitting the vote. Two starkly different visions of America. Obama squeaking out a bare 50.3% of the popular vote, although he carried the electoral college handily. Except that it wasn’t really close and we aren’t that divided. No president presiding over an economy this bad should have been re-elected; it should have been a landslide for Mitt Romney, and the Democrats should have lost the Senate. If this election revealed anything, it’s not a divided electorate, it’s the glaring weakness of the Republican Party, which has become a party almost exclusively of rich old white men.

Demographics is destiny, they say, and the GOP has spent the last 20 years alienating the fastest-growing segments of the population. It has gone out of its way to drive away Blacks, Hispanics, women and the young, presenting the Democrats with a winning coalition broad enough to deliver a victory even in the worst economic climate in more than 70 years. Had unemployment been, say, five percent, Obama would have won in a landslide and the Dems likely would have retaken the House. Worse for the Republicans, the map is turning more and more blue. The solid South is solid no more, with Virginia and Florida going blue and North Carolina in play. The West, too, is turning Democratic, with Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada joining the West Coast, and Arizona beginning to shift. No region of the country is going the other way.

Now the fun begins. How will the Republican Party react? Will it adopt a more conciliatory strategy now that its four-year opposition to anything Obama has failed, or will it dig into that destructive playbook again? House Speaker Boehner seems willing to work across the aisle, now that the Tea Party has been somewhat rebuked (if not chastened). Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell is another story. His classless and off-key remarks after the election don’t seem to offer much hope. Is it too much to hope that his own caucus might have something other than another four fruitless years of obstructionism in mind?

THEY Built It

The theme of day one from the Republican National Convention was loud and clear: “We Built It” signs were everywhere in the hall, and speaker after speaker repeated the message in one form or another—that those of us who made it did it by the sweat of our own brows, we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps, without help from anyone, especially not from government. 

Sure you did. You built the schools you went to and paid the teachers yourself, you laid the sidewalks you walked on, you paved the roads you drove on, you kept your own communities crime-free all by yourself, you put out fires on your own, you made the air you breathed and the water you drank pure, you made your home and the buildings you worked in and the cars you drove in safe, without benefit of building codes or collision standards, you personally built the colleges and universities you attended, the libraries you studied in, without the help of taxpayers or alumni donors, when you got a job you personally negotiated the length of your workweek, workplace safety rules, your salary, your vacation time, your holidays and your retirement benefits. No labor movement came before you to secure those hard-won rights. Nobody else pooled their money with yours for your health insurance. No taxpayers are responsible for your military pension. The big, bad, over-reaching, intrusive government, other men and women with vision and a commitment to idea of the common good, built none of the world you take for granted, had no part in any of that. You did it all by yourself.

This was exactly the point President Obama was making in the speech that the “We Built It” slogan mocks. The RNC shamefully edited the president’s remarks to make it appear as though he said something he didn’t—that government, not the individual business owners, were responsible for building their businesses. Nobody at the convention seems the least troubled that the whole thing is based on a lie.

Just as disturbing as the colossal self-serving falsehood of total self-reliance is the barely-concealed racism and classism of the theme. We know, of course, who DIDN’T do it by themselves. Lazy blacks and hispanics and the poor, all those who took handouts they didn’t deserve from the taxpayers rather than work hard for what they got like WE did. Reagan’s welfare queen updated and repackaged to include those still looking for work in this endless recession, the ill and the injured who can’t work, the millions without health insurance, the working poor, the foreclosed, the simply unlucky. 

Most alarming of all is that the speakers actually seem to believe this nonsense—that turning away from the very social contract that made us a great, wealthy and powerful nation will somehow create a glittering future based on the triumphant ideal of every man for himself. God help us all, because we won’t be helping each other.

Legit Rape

Quite a balancing act—The GOP simultaneously distancing itself from Rep. Akin’s outrageous remarks, that women who are raped can’t get pregnant, while standing by its own platform to criminalize all abortions, even in the case of rape, incest or risk to the mother’s life. I guess their relentless assault on women counts a legitimate rape.