Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Today's GOP: a group of leaderless old white guys

The Obama Inaugural festivities are now over and the reviews are in.  While many national pundits  parse every sentence in the president's rousing speech, one thing is certain:  For the grim Republicans and their fellow-snivelers, there is no joy in Mudville.  The Grand Old Party  is neither grand nor a party.  It is rather a chaotic collection of old white guys in vain search of a leader.    Twice defeated by an African-American Democrat  - the latest by  5 million votes! - who has deftly connected with a new generation of voters,  woebegone Republicans have only a beleaguered John Boehner to try to put his House in order in a cave teeming with Tea Partyers.  

Still, there is no evidence that Obama's opponents have learned anything  as they whimper that the "foxy"  Obama  must come out of the chicken coop to meet them halfway in solving the nation's problems.  Of all things, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is demanding compromise - a word that collides with his notorious  earlier mission for his routed party after Obama's first victory:
"The single most important  thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president"
The quote even made page 190 of the Mann-Ornstein best- seller, It's Even Worse than It Looks.  And that was published before  the 2012 election. Can anyone now guess what Mitch's second most important thing is?

Their  post-inaugural chorus was filled out by many of the usual tattered suspects complaining about the usual irritants that guaranteed them a shot at the usual TV cameras.  Sens. McCain and Graham, a couple of tiresome cronies  from past debacles, expressed their displeasure, to name a few.  And Wayne LaPierre, the NRA megaphone, pathetic as he is, isn't going to let anybody forget that tyrannical government is at the doorstep and you can only be saved by even arming department store mannequins.   Fox News, Rush Limbaugh  and the Tea Partyers were heaped among the vanquished.

These folks will never change.   Their work is too profitable. And as  Tennessee Ernie Ford used to sing: They owe their soul to the company store.

They could only deal in playground dares as Obama reeled off his agenda that was immediately described as liberal but dealt with ideas and programs that a majority of Americans support. It's now OK to mention liberalism in polite circles. And about time! 

There was another aspect of the Inaugural that was lost in the excitement:  Mitt Romney's absence from the historic  event.  Few people asked, and most couldn't care less.  Where  was he? We learned that he was at home in California.

Watching the parade as a broadly-grinning Obama waved and Joe Biden sprinted here and there,  I tried to imagine what the scene would have been if Romney and Paul Ryan had won.  It would have been a dreadful setback for a nation whose people would have been  so well ahead of its new team: a presidential  candidate of whom his son asserted never wanted  the job anyway, and a vice president who is a disciple of Ayn Rand. Neither Mitt nor his Tonto had much to say about the dramatic change underway in America because they didn't recognize it.

 To the vanquished go the snivels. And why not?  It's the only thing that seems to make the losers happy these days.

1 comment:

David Hess said...

There are few if any matters that reasonable people could be expected to agree on with former history professor and Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich. But he got it right early this week, in contravention to the knee-jerk response of most prominent Republican leaders that President Obama's inaugural address was a manifesto of liberal claptrap, when Newt called it "a good speech." Quoted in Politico, a Washington newspaper devoted to politics and public policy, Gingrich remarked: "I didn't think it was very liberal....I thought it was classically American, emphasizing hard work...self-reliance...doing things together." The GOP's take on anything to the left of tsarist ukases as a march to socialism reflects the party's fast-step march to the tip of the right wing, moving it well beyond the political center where most American opinion finds comfort. Indeed, the so-called "liberal agenda" that GOP leaders decry -- such as protection of income security and health care programs, as well as addressing climate change, protecting the environment, ensuring inclusive voting rights, regulating powerful financial institutions, better managing of government debt, rebuilding national infrastructure, fairer taxation -- contains objectives that attract the support not just of Democrats but of moderate independents. Obama, in his second inaugural, tapped into this moderate approach -- and drew a barrage of hysterical epithets from an opposition party that is so mired in reactionary thinking that it bodes to render itself a permanent minority in national politics.