Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Are Republicans Beginning To Grasp That Most GOP Presidential Candidates are Unelectable?

For some time I have lamented the embrace of abject ignorance and bigotry by the Christianist/Tea Party base of today's Republican Party. One of the consequences of the glorification of ignorance and refusal to accept objective reality is that to be viable in GOP primaries, a candidate must court the worse elements of the Party. The other consequence is that individuals who once upon a time could never - even on the Party's craziest day - have been allowed to pretend to be viable contenders for the presidential nomination are now in fact running and getting treated with seriousness. A piece in the New York Times looks at the growing realization by some in the GOP leadership that the short term convenience of allowing the Christianists/Tea Party to high-jack the Party may have been a huge mistake. Here are some article highlights:

The Republican presidential candidates have served comedians a full platter of laughs this year — a steady diet of gaffes, misstatements, puzzled looks and long, awkward pauses.

But the embarrassing moments are piling up, and some veteran Republicans are beginning to wonder whether the cumulative effect weakens the party brand, especially in foreign policy and national security, where Republicans have typically dominated Democrats.

“It is an ‘Animal House.’ It’s a food fight,” said Kenneth Duberstein, a chief of staff to President Ronald Reagan. “Honestly, the Republican debates have become a reality show. People have to be perceived as being capable of governing this country, of being the leader of the free world.”

Even before his “oops” moment in one of the debates last week, Gov. Rick Perry of Texas stumbled his way through an answer about Pakistan and nuclear weapons. Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota has offered a series of historical goofs. And after mistakenly saying China does not have nuclear weapons, Herman Cain on Monday painfully gave an answer to a question about Libya in which he all but acknowledged having little grasp of the military actions that took place there.

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said he was confident that the eventual nominee would enhance, rather than diminish, the party’s reputation for seriousness. But he acknowledged that not every candidate had demonstrated that quality.

What looks to a Tea Party voter like an unvarnished, authentic exchange makes longtime members of the Republican establishment cringe. “It’s common sense,” said C. Boyden Gray, a White House counsel to the elder President George Bush. “People are taking all this stuff in stride, but at some point it accumulates and it hurts individual candidates.”

[S]ome veterans of past Republican administrations said the candidates’ national security stumbles could have a more lasting impact on how voters perceive the party in the future. “This is the core of the Republican brand. You mess with it at your peril,” said Peter Feaver, a national security official under President George W. Bush. He compared the foreign policy flubs to reports about safety problems in Toyota vehicles.

Mr. Wehner said many of the Republican candidates had demonstrated a “pride in ignorance and a lack of knowledge.” But he predicted that voters would not reward those kinds of appeals during the primaries and caucuses. . . . . “at the end of the day, intellectual heft and command of policy and fluidity on the issues will carry the day.”

The Republican establishment allowed the creation of the Frankenstein monster of the GOP base that now haunts the Party. Short term expediency were put ahead of true leadership and statesmanship. I have litte sympathy for those who whored themselves out to the Christianists/Tea Party and who now don't like the results of their handiwork.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One can only hope the implosion continues...NPR basically said tonight that even Newt Gingrich was unelectable since he couldn't stand up to Obama as an orator. YAY for Democrats!

Peace <3