Saturday, November 08, 2008

The GOP Revealed

Stripped of the plumes and feathers of electoral success, the Republican brand is now laid bare. And it is a scrawny-looking bird at best.

In 1980, Reagan ushered in an era of Republican prominence that ended on Tuesday. Reagan claimed it was "morning in America" when in fact the lights of liberty and reason were being extinguished across the land. Since that sad moment, it has been hailed a truism that we are a "conservative nation"; and accepted as fact that small-mindedness, bigotry, xenophobia and war are tantatmount to true American virtues.

In the era of Bush these ruinous notions were put into overdrive; and coupled with a stunning incompetence as well. The stated intention was "small government". But it might just as well have been "bad government" or "failed government". Didn't matter--as long as American tax dollars weren't being spent to help Americans.

The chief virtue of the Republican party has been its ability to win elections. It has lost that ability. And now it becomes obvious that this had been its only virtue. Any level-headed look at the guiding principles of the GOP reveals an utter lack of substance.

It can be safely said that the GOP offers nothing to the voter who is not a Republican officeholder, a large shareholder, a well-to-do evangelical, an arms merchant, an oil profiteer; and in certain elections, a bigot. This tiny percentage of the population cannot muster the votes to elect anyone to national office.

Since Reagan, the GOP has been able to keep folks distracted with pomp and circumstance; with wars, with fears, with party success and the gerrymandered gifts that flow from it. Now reduced to a regional party and with no discernable core principles except perhaps greed, it will be much, much harder for the party to distract the voter from the bankruptcy of its offering.

Perhaps the GOP can rebuild--no doubt they will try hard to do so. But it will have to be with a plan that benefits more people, more often, and in fundamentally a much more progressive manner.

To the age of Reagan and Bush: don't let the door hit you on the way out.