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May. 5 2010 - 4:16 pm | 648 views | 1 recommendation | 12 comments

Everything you know about the Republican resurgence is wrong

Meg Whitman, former president and CEO of EBay,...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

As you know, because everybody (read: the MSM) has told you so, the Republicans are back, baby! And they’re going to like, totally kick Democrat heiney come November.

In journalism, this is what we call, “the narrative.” Actually, that’s what screenwriters call it, but ever since ‘the news’ became a twenty-four hour show, journalists have embraced “the narrative” as a way to keep eyeballs interested in between the ads for boner pills and diet programs.

“The narrative” has become so powerful that politicians both fear and try to manufacture it, albeit clumsily. Republicans all say the same thing over and over again in hopes that it will become true and Democrats natter on about details while dropping jokes that only they think are clever. Washington no longer sells policy based on facts, but rather on how gripping a tale it can weave.

Of course, this has always been the case in politics; it’s just now we’ve made it the main event.

No narrative has more weight right now than the impending return of the Republican party and no narrative is more wrong. The GOP is more doomed now than ever. Here’s why.

Let’s take the California gubernatorial debate that occurred earlier this week. Meg Whitman, the former eBay CEO whose campaign has been psychotically pro-business, now has her own get-rich-off-the-housing-collapse business deals with Goldman Sachs welded to her like a lead parachute.

I didn’t get Meg’s ‘Hurray for big business’ strategy back in March and now it’s sunk her chances. At least, that’s what her conservative opponent Steve Poizner thinks. He’s having a press conference today to point out a new poll that has him within single digits of Whitman.

Is it any wonder that Democrat AG (and presumptive nominee) Jerry Brown is offering to debate them both now?

Marco Rubio, Charlie Crist

Doesn’t this all sound familiar? Charlie Crist’s own defection from the Republican party was the direct result of a conservative challenger Marco Rubio– and the Republican establishment has suicidally embraced the Tea Party approved candidate. Suicidal? Well, free of the GOP albatross, Crist’s already beating Rubio in the polls.

Republican leaders will tell you that these races don’t matter– it’s the ones in Indiana and Arizona that are important. Which is what I would say too if the Republican National Committee was taking me out to nice dinner’s at lesbian bondage clubs, but it doesn’t change the fact that in the country’s two most populous states, the Republican party is foundering.

Need more proof? Republican enthusiasm for voting in November is dropping like a rock. Gallup shows the ‘enthusiasm gap’ between Dems and Republicans dropping by 19 points in the last month.

And then there’s that Washington Post poll that shows that the Tea Party, which has taken the Republican party hostage, is only 2% of the population. Furthermore, the poll shows Democrats are pretty satisfied with their party.

None of this fits in with ‘the narrative’, so you don’t hear it, but with the GOP splitting itself in two and supporting candidates who please the base but don’t have a chance in hell of winning a general, with the party basically devoid of any policy platform that isn’t ‘Obama is a socialist’ and with the demographics of the country shifting rapidly away from the groups that the party panders to, it’s hard to see how, in Reality Land, the Republicans are anything other than dead white men walking.

Tea Party tax day protest

The whole tea party phenomena reminds me exactly of McCain’s decision to nominate Sarah Palin for veep. At the time, all my liberal friends shrieked that Obama was doomed, that McCain had fired up the race and got everyone excited. At the time I said, ‘Well, McCain could also have nominated an organ-grinder monkey for Vice President and had the same effect. Give it a few weeks.”

People forget that “the narrative” is biased towards the new, the exciting and the visual; all elements at the heart of the Tea Party/ GOP/ Conservative bacchanalia currently underway. Don’t mistake light for heat, though. The problem is that while Americans enjoy a good sideshow, they don’t elect it to office.

Say what you will about the Obama presidency and the Democrats, compared to the right, they look like the very models of sobriety and moderation, all the while achieving their policy agenda step by fractious step.

The chapter on the ‘Republican resurgence’ may be real, but it’s being written in the Democrat’s playbook.


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  1. collapse expand

    I think you’re correct that the GOP is doomed and you could have added far more to the list. More and more the candidates on the right speak to the fringe and no one calls them on it. Before you know it, you have McCain and Rubio advocating taking away constitutional protections for American citizens. Meanwhile, in the light of the recent financial meltdown with unemployment at historically high rates, John Boehner makes the case again financial regulation, and on and on. We wont even mention Mrs. Drill Baby, Drill! as the gulf begins to fill up with crude, right?

    The reason I agree with you is because the great middle, I mean the rational folks, who truly care, and can make reasonable choices between the lesser of two evils, are going to continue to break toward a rational left over an irrational right all day long. And while GOP had a brief moment in the sun, they’re losing it, and acting like cynics across the board at the moment. I take no pleasure in it, but those are the facts.

  2. collapse expand

    Oh, for heavens’ sake! The country is fed up with CONGRESS. Polls show their rating is way down. No one in Washington looks like the “very models of sobriety and moderation.” I’ve never seen so much acrimony, divisiveness, self-congratulation and grandstanding in all the years I’ve been following politics!

    Voters are not in a good mood and my bet is that ALL incumbents are at risk. Naturally, since democrats currently fill more seats, more of their fannies are on the way out. So, despite your gleeful predictions, don’t bring out the champagne yet.


  3. collapse expand

    I believe you are seriously underestimating the stupidity and ignorance of the Murkn public.

  4. collapse expand

    Nice, spirited piece. I agree with on the narrative and conventional wisdom though not quite as enthusiastically. I think in the next election Republicans will make modest gains. Over a longer timeframe, both because of the party’s increasingly extreme politics and demographic change, it is indeed doomed unless it sings a new tune. One wild card you don’t mention in this election. Arizona’s immigration law could well arouse immigrants and liberals to a point at which they are more engaged in the election than the Right.

  5. collapse expand

    Thanks for the sane take on the evidence.
    One minor quibble.

    You have joined the MSM in pushing the narrative that Dems are wimps as Dems and women “shriek”…..but you rarely hear of Republicans or Manly Men shrieking.

    Just sayin’……………………

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    I'm a web TV producer and journalist living in Los Angeles. I've written for Salon, Out, The New York Observer, The Advocate and have directed music videos for bands like Grizzly Bear, as well as creating ads for BCBG/ Max Azria.

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