Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Republican Leadership Is Out of Touch

By Dale Bowling

In the past week, three very different media events took place.

1) Mitt Romney gave his first interview since his drubbing in the November election. He and Ann Romney talked with Chris Wallace from Fox News and he reflected on why he lost the election. His take was that shiftless folks (especially minorities) really like the goodies like Obamacare that they get for free from government. Ann alternately blames the media for not showing the "Real Mitt" and the people for not getting to know the "Real Mitt". (In the interest of time, I will omit the zinger that one of those Mitts must have been the real one.)

2) House Speaker Boehner rejected the President's position that a balanced mixture of revenue increases from eliminating tax loopholes (which Republicans previously said they were all for) and targeted spending cuts would be better for the Nation than relying on across-the-board spending cuts alone. When polled of 76% of Americans (including 56% of Republicans) say they are in favor of the Democrats' balanced approach to deficit reduction.

These two events were well-publicized, but the third one flew in under the radar.

3) In a recent poll, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press asked respondents about the two parties. The results showed that 62% of respondents said the Republican Party was out of touch with the American people. 52% said the GOP was too extreme. And most shockingly, only 45% said that the Republican Party looks out for America's future.

These three separate media events provide us with two very valuable lessons.

One is that the Republican leadership is in such deep denial and has become so far removed from what matters to Americans that they don't even represent their own voters anymore in a lot of cases, much less the rest of us.

The other is that they have become incapable of, or perhaps simply not interested in reading the writing on the wall. They had their heads handed to them in November. Do they retool? No. Do they say, hey we're going to really listen to what our constituents are saying? No. They continue to double down on the same ideas that Americans already have soundly rejected. Why?

Because they can't reject those ideas and still be Republicans. They have defined themselves by their terrible ideas. If they reject those terrible ideas now, what do they become? Democrats. 

Pick any issue: Voters are overwhelmingly on the side of Democrats. Independents voted Democratic by a wide margin in the last election and even the majority of Republican voters back the Democratic postion on background checks for firearm purchases, legalizing gay marriage, and deficit reduction through both revenue and spending cuts.

My advice to the Republican Leadership comes from Bob Dylan - "Your old road is rapidly agin', Please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand. For the Times they are a changin'".

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