My late-lamented hound Thurber J. Wolf knew a lot of tricks that he could do on command, both by me saying it or by hand gestures. I would sometimes watch Fraiser and afterwards work with him on some of Eddie’s best bits, and he learned them all. He was very clever that way.
Sometimes without me giving a command, Thurber would start in on some of his tricks because he really wanted a treat. He figured (dog-like, they do this) that if he came up with the right trick, or combination of tricks, I would reward him. It was always funny when he would do one of these things in public because people would think he was freaking out: Stand, sit, rollover, crawl, pray, cross his legs, look disdainful (he did disdainful a lot, I don’t think he ever approved of my wardrobe).
I mention this only because the GOP is doing something similar trying to figure out how to get more votes for the next time.
Yesterday, the GOP thought it was that their “messaging” was off, if they just had the right words everyone would love them.
Today, they seem to have focused on Immigration Reform. They lost Latinos almost uniformly, and amazingly, Cubans fled from them. So, like a dog looking for the magic trick, Immigration Reform is suddenly on everyone’s lips.
Good start, but that’s not the problem.
The problem is Republicanism itself. You don’t have to look any farther than the 2012 Platform–and who articulates it–to know what is wrong and why no one likes them anymore.
In issue after issue, bulletpoint after bulletpoint they proclaim No, Don’t, Can’t, Won’t. It doesn’t matter what the topic is, from economics, to Choice, to Marriage Equality, to tax policy, to whatever. The whole platform is about restricting everyone to follow the GOP’s preferred orthodoxy.
The other part of the problem is who they have front and center trying to sell this bile: fetus-fondlers, god-botherers, snarling anti-woman women, self-loathing gay men, and the always present racist.
When you have billionaires buying the country from the millionaires “who wrecked it” and telling minimum wage workers that they have to tighten their belts “for everyone’s good,” no one is going to want to join you. When you have a plutocrat like Mitt Romney saying that about half the country doesn’t deserve his consideration, is there any wonder that half the country walked away?
When you have ancient gorgons like Phyllis Schlafly telling young women to dress modestly and let men make decisions for you, is there any wonder that young women fled? When you have Akin and Mourdock saying that rape doesn’t happen and when it does, that it is a blessing… is it any wonder that those who have two-X chromosomes who had not already fled the big tent must have felt pushed–or shoved–away?
When you have as a core constituency of your party a group of snarling Bible-thumpers telling gays and lesbians that not only are they not equal, but that they are the trumpet blast for the coming of The Beast, what did you expect to have happen? When you scream that no, you cannot marry someone you love, and in fact call for a Constitutional Amendment to deny civil rights to that group of people forever, why do you think that they would follow you into the voting booth?
When you have all the candidates during the debates only arguing over how high the fence along the border with Mexico should be (and oddly never the border with Canada), and whether to electrify it or not, can you possibly be surprised that your animosity towards Latinos is noticed?
And when you have a large part of your party and some of the most famous members going on birtherism rants and dog-whistling that a sitting president is not only illegitimate, born in Kenya, well insert your own shocking moment here, is there any wonder why you lost people of color?
So, GOP, while you are navel gazing and thinking about messaging and wondering why the country broke up with you, remember this: It’s not us, it’s you.