Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Stop Before You Kill (Yourself) Again

In conversations I have had, many due to my recent blog posts, there seems to be a good number of people that are absolutely certain beyond a shadow of a doubt that Barack Obama has zero chance of being reelected. Okay. Let’s discuss.

Not from the standpoint of what he has or has not done, as that is obviously subject to a wide range of opinions. Rather, let’s look at it from another angle. The most critical angle, if you ask me –

Who will run against him?

Now do me a favor. Don’t say, “It doesn’t matter! Obama is such a total and complete failure that they could run anyone against him!”

Well, have you looked at the Republican candidate field? It pretty much defines the word ‘anyone’ – Romney, Perry, Bachmann, Cain, Huntsman, Gingrich…and Palin waiting in the wings. And to recap, Perry was urged to join due to disenchantment with the field…which was after Bachmann was urged to join due to disenchantment with the field…which was after Gingrich was urged to join due to disenchantment with the field.

And ya know what, apparently they are still disenchanted. The flavor this month is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Republicans claim, why, if The Big Man From The Garden State joins, look out Liberals! Next stop The White House! Just like they did when Perry threw his hat in. And Bachmann. And Gingrich. The way this thing is going, if Christie’s shine lasts more than a month it will set a longevity record for this latest round of eating of young that the Republicans are engaged it.

Here’s the problem with the Republican Party of 2011-2012. It’s been hijacked by ideological purists on the far right. And too many of the candidates are tripping over themselves to out-Tea Party each other. Well look, I’m not electorate scholar, but I know math, and if candidates are trying to appeal to an ideological fringe that represents far too small of a percentage of the populace to elect anyone on a national level, that is just not smart. It is a guaranteed-to-lose strategy. 20 percent of the vote means 80 percent did not vote for you. 80 is greater than 20.

Think I’m off base with that claim of far-right hijacking? Okay. Have you been watching the Republican debates? In one a gay soldier serving in Afghanistan asked a question…and he was booed by the audience. Doesn’t matter if he has honorably served his country – he is turned on by men so that disqualifies him from hero status in their eyes. A moderator in another debate asked a question about a 30-year old without health insurance facing a deadly disease – the audience yelled ‘Let him die!’ And in both cases, not a single candidate came to the defense of that war hero or that dying young man. Nobody chided the crowd for their response.

You stay classy, Tea Party.

The problem here isn’t the candidates. The problem is the people that have become the representation of their party. And it has become the problem of the candidates because they feed off such sentiments. Instead, the candidates, or at least one of them, need to step up and grab a hold of their party – the Party of Lincoln and Reagan.

Abe and Ronnie are rolling in their graves, gang. This party and what they stand for bear little resemblance to those giants. In fact, Reagan would be drummed out of this incarnation of Teapublicans as being too liberal – he raised taxes and compromised with Democrats for crying out loud!

To be fair, there is one Republican candidate that has tried to grab the wheel and veer this metaphorical car away from the cliff’s edge and back onto pavement. John Hunstman. Huntsman is actually trying to infuse sanity into his party’s self-immolation. So how is Huntsman and his pragmatic, center-right stance playing with the base? What do the polls say? Look down in the single digits. You’ll find him waaaay down there.

So yes. I feel extremely confident that Obama will be reelected. And it’s not because he has done such a wonderful job. I personally think he has gakked on a number of issues. The main reason that reelection is a near certainty is he has moved to the center that has been violently vacated by the Republicans, who are test-fitting their tinfoil hats for the enjoyment of their fringe supporters.

Makes for good applause sound bites in Republican strongholds but it ain’t gonna play nationwide. Barry Goldwater tried that schtick in 1964. He got the John Birch vote, the Tea Party of the day, but he got waxed by Lyndon Johnson in the general election. Just like Obama will do to whoever comes out of this ideological scrum the Republicans are presently engaged in.

So to paraphrase Mr. Goldwater, since it is a perfect fit for this political climate –

Extremism in the attempt to gain national office is no virtue.

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