Friday, May 01, 2009

The Steele Republicans

The Incredible Shrinking Republican Party continues to not disappoint, as they spin themselves rapidly further into a hole, oblivious to their situation and their destiny.

Faced with the loss of Arlen Specter in the Senate, their message was, literally, "good riddance" and, according to their charming leader-by-default Rush Limbaugh, take John McCain and the other RINOs with you. The war on RINOs has been a staple of wing-nut radio for years, as they blamed two cycles of electoral thumpings on candidates who were not loopy-right enough. They say they would just as soon relative moderates and/or independently-minded senators like McCain, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe stop pretending to be Republicans and hit the road. If that happened (it won’t – Snowe, at least, still clings to the quaint New England version of her family's GOP), that would put the Senate math at 63 in the majority, with 2010 bound to add 3 or 4 more Democrats to the fold. Thus the new, ideologically-pure party digs deeper into irrelevance; the Talk Radio Wing-Nut Party of their wet-yet-impotent dreams.

It doesn’t help that the dominant anti-moderate wing of the party has installed its stooge at the head of the party – the eminently clueless Michael Steele – who was willing to use the occasion of Specter’s overdue switch to kick a large part of his own party under the bus. "I’m sure his mama didn’t raise him that way," he snarked, as he whined about Specter’s disloyalty (i.e.: his unwillingness to stay on the GOP Titanic). Talk about mixed messages. The traditional Republicans (like Snowe) are damned if they leave for being disloyal and damned if they stay for being RINOs.

Although a small faction of the party is trying to knock Steele down a notch by restricting his spending authority, I say: The more Michael Steele the better. Every time his dumb ass shows up on cable, I drop everything I’m doing, turn it up, and enjoy the show. Not since, well, Junior Bush has anyone so clearly out of his depth been thrust into a national leadership position. The difference between Steele and Bush, though, is that Steele appears to have no idea how truly comical he is. At least Bush had people around him to write his scripts and keep him away from microphones. Steele lurches into television studios, reveling in a spotlight that only serves to highlight his incompetent message delivery, as he paints the GOP further into a nut-right corner. Now, apparently, he is going after what he imagines as the Bush/Cheney old guard in his own party. What a riot. The guy needs a prime time show – we all need a good laugh these days.

Instead of accepting the Specter defection as a wake-up call, the GOP leadership in Congress is following Steele and the talk-radio demagogues off the cliff. In the House and Senate, they continue to whip their members into unanimous opposition to all things Obama, despite the president’s extraordinary popularity and the slow, tentative economic rebound that his policies have so far produced. The Republicans are betting and hoping that the economy remains miserable and somehow Obama and Democrats will be blamed for it in time for the 2010 elections. Even if that does happen, they still have to offer a legitimate alternative and the tax-cuts-for-the-rich party is hardly that.

Obama came to the White House with at least small hopes of bipartisanship in the face of the various crisis dumped on his lap by the Bushies and has been rebuffed at every turn by the Party of No that refuses to even acknowledge obvious and pressing national problems. How can you reach any consensus with people who refuse to admit that we have to do something about health care or climate change? There is no middle ground when irresponsible GOP "leaders" would just as soon let banks and auto companies fail; imagine what kind of death-spiral we would be in with the party of economic Darwinism in charge.

The Republican Party is going the way of the Whigs. History shows us that the Whigs fractured over the slavery issue in the 1850s, the wrong (pro-slavery) side taking over the party and leading it to oblivion. Now, the GOP’s minority relative-moderates are being driven out in the name of ideological purity, and the party is increasingly regional – only the South and Plains states remain. A couple more election cycles and the party will be (or should be) left for dead. The only question is whether and when conservative-to-moderate Democrats and Republicans peel off to form the second party this country desperately needs.


patrick said...

First of all, let's admit that Specter's defection has nothing to do with ideas or principles, but rather to do with political opportunism; he fears that a conservative candidate will beat him in the next primary. Only the support of Bush and the RNC helped him to victory last time.

You also comment: "Not since, well, Junior Bush has anyone so clearly out of his depth been thrust into a national leadership position." Perhaps you should stop listening to Steele and pay attention to Biden. Without a doubt, nobody is more stupid than Joe Biden. A close second would be Obama without a teleprompter.

By the way, which cowboy ordered Air Force One to buzz New York?

Mike Plaisted said...

Oh, Patrick...

Specter would not have survived another Republicn primary in Pennsylvania. That was his point. The GOP is so nuts, he doesn't want to by judged by them in a closed primary. So, why stick with the sinking ship? I don't blame him.

Biden makes a couple of harmless gaffes. Steele loses a easy seat in New York State, helps lose Specter, sparks an internal war at the RNC and reacts to the loss of Specter by missing the point completely and running further nut-right. And he does it with a vacant gleam in his eye. Joe Biden has a long career of fighting for the common man. Steele has nothing but electoral losses and rampant ambition.

As for the fly-over -- please. Is that all you guys have left? Pathetic. Obama had nothing to do with it. Did he even get around to appointing anyone in the White House Military Office or were they holdovers? Since when do you guys beat up people in the military? Don't you love America?

Mike Plaisted said...

Oh, and the teleprompter talking point is brilliant as well. He has been talking extemporaneously at press conferences, town halls, etc. -- more than he has been reading prepared speeches from the prompter. You know what would have happened if Bush ever got off the teleprompter? The Secret Service was ordered to wrestle him to the ground. Talk about an idiot.

And, again, is the airplane and the teleprompter all you got? Sheesh. Good luck with that. In the meantime, we'll keep trying to solve the many problems left to him by Junior Bush. Just stand on the sidelines and squawk. At least you're out of the way.

Anonymous said...

Mike Plaisted of all people riffing on the "educated black man as buffoon" stereotype. An African-american rises to a historic position of power within his party and Mike can't hold back from stereotyping him as a clown. What kind of prime time show should Mr. Steele have Mike? Perhaps a minstrel show? Despicable. You should be ashamed.

Mike Plaisted said...

Oh? So Steele is invulnerable to criticism, even ridicule, because he's a black guy? Give me a break. I don't play that with Obama (although right-wingers pretend that Obama supporters claim racism at every criticism, I've never heard it -- just like no one has ever called him Messiah). Steele rises and (mostly) falls on his own merits. Of course, I didn't use the words clown or buffoon -- his shtick is a little too subdued for that -- but even if I did, he's not immune to it.

The whole preceding comment is ludicrous, but at least Anony has held back from calling Obama the N-word again and calling for his assasination, as he has in several previous comments that I declined to publish.

Anonymous said...

I assume, Mike, that you wrote a similar blog about the demise of the Democrat party when they were in the minority in this country at all levels and were losing more at mid-term?

Isn't it about time for a blog about how much you hate James T. Harris and how latently jealous you are of him?

Anonymous said...

You have the wrong guy. I've never posted on this site before, I just take it in with amazement for entertainment purposes, as I do the Shepherd Express, or MSNBC. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you didn't for one second consider that two (or more) people may wish to post anonymously and that your comments about racial epithets and assasinations were not meant to take away from the original comment by attacking it's source. Although I must say it smacks of the "cheap tricks" you accuse Sykes, Belling, et al. of engaging in with their callers who disagree with them.

And before you write it, yes, it would be nice if people would identify themselves when they comment but some of us enjoy our anonymity.

Anonymous said...

Their folks are in total control and all the left does is continue w/ personal attacks and bitterness toward the right/Bush. It doesn't take any real insight to realize that the Right is reeling and looking for direction, but they don't agree w/ certain directions that Obama is going. That's basic democracy last time I checked. Finally, it's interesting how conservative minorities in power so consistently get brutally attacked from the left.

Unknown said...

The right wing and Republicans as "victims". Love it. Is Sykes writing another screed about victimhood in America?