GOP Comes Up Short

By Jeffrey Page

There is something laughable in the breast beating and soul searching of the Republican Party as it tries to figure out how to remain opposed to immigration while trying to persuade Latinos that it loves them, wants them and welcomes them.

Following President Obama’s reelection, the GOP has backed itself into many corners. There was immigration. Then came the matter of what women should or should not be allowed to do with their own bodies. The Republicans want lots more young people to join their ranks, but many younger people, according to most polls, are pro-choice. Still, the Tea Drinkers who have taken over the party are pro-life and unwilling to give an inch.

This is what caused Jeb Bush to declare, in a moment of self-examination at the recently concluded Conservative Political Action Conference: “All too often we’re associated with being ‘anti’ everything. Way too many people believe Republicans are anti-immigrant, anti-woman, anti-science, anti-gay, anti-worker, and the list goes on and on and on. Many voters are simply unwilling to choose our candidates even though they share our core beliefs, because those voters feel unloved, unwanted and unwelcome in our party.” The response was tepid.

Modern day Republicans – with their birther madness, their eagerness to scrap the Voting Rights Act, their refusal to recognize the equality of their gay and straight members – remind me of the way Groucho Marx sang about the character he played in the movie “Horse Feathers” 81 years ago:

“I don’t know what they have to say./ It makes no difference anyway./Whatever it is, I’m against it./No matter what it is or who commenced it,/I’m against it.”

The Republicans want to freshen their image? If the response to Bush was lukewarm, the keynote speaker got a standing ovation when he declared in classic demagoguery, “We saw every single Republican in the Senate vote unanimously to defund Obamacare. Every Democrat voted together to maintain Obamacare funding, even if it pushes us into a recession [emphasis added].”

The speaker was Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. If the Republicans are looking to clean up their image, they’re going to have trouble with people like Cruz and the former one-term House member Allen West of Florida. Both have shown themselves to be the reincarnation of Joe McCarthy.

In 1950, McCarthy went from Senate back bencher to overnight sensation when he held up a piece of paper at a speaking engagement in West Virginia and declared that he had a list of 205 State Department employees who were communists.

In his book “Proofiness,” Charles Seife posits that allegations take on important believability when preceded by a number – McCarthy remained unknown the first time he alleged there were communists working at the State Department. But he started to be taken seriously when he said there were “205” communists at State. What apparently escaped notice 63 years ago was the fact that not long after, McCarthy said his list of subversives bore the names of 207 [sic] people at the State. The very next day he wrote to President Truman to complain that little was being done about those 57 [sic] security risks. Later, Seife reports, the number rose to 81[sic].

In fine McCarthy fashion three years ago, Ted Cruz charged that there were 12 communists on the Harvard Law School faculty. He didn’t name them. More recently, when Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel to be secretary of defense ran into a GOP roadblock, Cruz came close to questioning Hagel’s loyalty.

Before Cruz there was Allen West of Florida – elected in 2010 with 54.3 percent of the vote and defeated in 2012 with 49.6 percent. In that one term, West told a gathering in Florida that he had “heard” there were about 80 communists serving in the House of Representatives. And wouldn’t you know it, all 80 were Democrats.

West also said: “If Joseph Goebbels was around, he’d be very proud of the Democrat party, because they have an incredible propaganda machine.”

If the GOP has any hope of becoming a majority party it needs to disassociate itself its own demagogues and hate mongers.

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2 Responses to “GOP Comes Up Short”

  1. Randy Hurst Says:


  2. Marshall Rubin Says:

    Contrary to the title of this article the GOP has NOT come up short. Its very goal is to destroy the government’s ability to deliver services and protect the rights of the vast majority of Americans, wanting instead to privatize most everything. Money and corporations, to them not only are more important than people–they ARE people. To the degree they have been able to bring our democratic institutions to a halt, it can only be concluded that they have been quite successful, rather than having come up short. I hope I’m wrong about this but the sliver of progressives in government may not hold out much longer against the big money funneling into the GOP-tea party coffers. Sadly, the wishy-washy Democrats make lousy saviors!

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