I recall RNC Chairman Michael Steele saying a few months ago that the era of apologizing was over for his party. Fair enough. I don’t recall hearing very much in the way of apology prior to that, but that’s his call. Still, that oddity has really stuck in the back of my mind. The Republican Party has sadly decided to dodge the most valuable lessons of the Bush era, and instead is trying to avoid any and all pain related to their incompetent involvement in staggering stupidity.
And I swear, these folks honestly do not think they did anything for which they should apologize.
Ask your conservative friends where President Bush fell short. They will tell you, nearly all of them, that he spent too much. They will tell you that he never really did much for them on social issues. The more intellectually honest among them will admit he could have been more agile, more competent in dealing with Hurricane Katrina. Even then, though, they won’t own that failure, or any other failure. These (often angry) conservatives will admit that President Bush had his failures but they seem incapable of associating themselves with those failures.
I know several (former, now) Republicans who voted for Barack Obama. I wrote about them during the election season and immediately following. They fled, mostly due to what Sarah Palin represented (though not due to her personally – the rot goes far deeper). Yes, these folks were mad at the Republican party for “not being conservative enough.” This is, of course, the rallying-cry of the Tea-Partiers. They have that in common, I’ll admit. However, every single “Obamacan” I know was even more incensed at the incompetence and anti-intellectualism of their grand old party.
This has yet to change. The Republican party leadership is absofuckinglutely terrified of their own base. They’ve watched in horror as the debate over health care reform has devolved into some kind of sick joke. They’ve seen a moderate Republican congressional candidate brought low by out of state Republicans. People like Boehner, Cantor, and even McConnell aren’t blind. They can see what damage these events have done, and will do. However, they know that as their party has pared down in size the influence of this hardened core has only increased.
It will increase even more. Read your RedState, folks. They want closed primaries, and they will probably get them in some states. As these conservative activists evict the moderate Republicans who voted for President Obama, well, the Tea-Partiers will have taken nearly complete control over their primaries. You can guess what sort of candidates they will field.
It all comes back to the same problem that got them here. The Republican party did not do much to keep President Bush honest. The conservative base of the party was used by President Bush. He did spend too much and he didn’t do much for them on social issues. They’re right about that. But by focusing on all the ways President Bush wasn’t conservative they fail to understand why we actually have a President named Barack Hussein Obama.
As a partisan Democrat I’m thrilled that Chairman Steele declared that they’re done apologizing. It means that my party will rebound in 2012 from whatever losses it sees in 2010. As a patriotic American I’m fucking terrified of what’s happening. The Obamacans didn’t join the Democratic Party. What they did do was leave the Republican Party without adult supervision.
These Tea-Partiers honestly think they didn’t do anything wrong. Most of them don’t seem at all bothered by the war dead, the damage to the environment, the damage to our alliances abroad, the near-loss of one of our cities, or near-total destruction of our financial markets due mostly to a lack of regulation. No, their taxes are too damned high and by God are they sick and tired of being goddamned sick and tired.
I won’t call them selfish. Selfish suggests at least some awareness of self-interest. No, these people are lashing out as they must. They must stop President Obama! He must fail! If he succeeds then nearly everything the conservatives have believed, have fought for, have shouted ad naseum, nearly all of it will have been false. Maybe their ideas can work. But more damaging than the thought that their ideas might fail would be the harsh reality that ours can work.
These people think that the best way to get out of a recession is to freeze public spending. They seem to think that Americans buying American-made cars by American-owned companies is somehow evil simply because the men and women who made those cars collectively bargained their contracts. These people seem to think that government-run health care will somehow end freedom. And no, I’m not exaggerating. They will shout to the heavens that Ronald Reagan fought “socialized medicine” decades ago. And yes, yes he did.
Mr. Reagan said that he didn’t want to tell his grandchildren about a time when people were still free, having lost those freedoms due to political change. Governor Palin quoted his polemic during the campaign. Palin seemed to ignore the fact that Mr. Reagan was warning us that Medicare would end private health care and destroy capitalism. The man was flat-out wrong. And here we are again.
These people haven’t learned a damned thing about losing, apparently. Why be contrite when you can simply rationalize away your problems? Our GDP grew 3.5% last quarter. Ford turned a billion dollar profit. Home prices are stabilizing. The Dow was over ten thousand rather recently. We see all these signs of stabilization and perhaps recovery. What do these people want to talk about? Socialist/fascist/nazi/communist health care. Inflation of all things in a time of deflation. Deploying four more divisions to Afghanistan when we can’t afford it. Defending Medicare whilst simultaneously trying to end it.
To quote the Great Communicator: there you go again!
These people aren’t fit to govern yet. I hope we stay in power long enough for them to find some adults.