I first posted the following blog entry on 11.11.2008, days after the election of Barack Obama. It’s repeated here in its entirety. It’s kind of stunning to note that, if the GOP amended their strategies and policies at all in the ensuing four years, they did so in the wrong direction.
In the wake of the drubbing they took in the election last week , the Republican Party is now in the process of doing some long overdue self-examination. The media have been trying to determine the whereabouts of the soul of the Republican party. So I thought I’d offer my unsolicited 9-point plan for Republican soul searching:
- Get one. In order to search one’s soul, one actually has to have a soul.
- Stop lying. This is the 21st century. We have technology. We will find out that you’re lying. The only ones left to believe your lies will be stupid people. And you don’t want stupid people in your party. (I know this is an unfamiliar concept to Republicans, because you’ve benefited for a couple of decades from the stupid people who you’ve drawn to the party and who have believed the lies that you’ve told them.)
- Have principles, and follow them. Strategy and tactics are the necessary evil of a political campaign, but they’re not what people vote for. We’re drawn to noble, clear ideas. We’re looking for leaders who inspire us to make our nation and our world a better place.
- Get smart. That’s not to suggest that you should be more tactical, but rather that you should actually value education more. That also means valuing the educated more. You’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of “no child left behind,” but you continue to run people (like Michele Bachmann) who seem like the children who were left behind. The nation and the world are facing unbelievably difficult issues, and it will take intelligent, educated people to come up with solutions.
- Ostracize the corrupt. Especially when they’re in your own party. The fact that Tom DeLay is still somehow perceived as someone who can go on national television and represent the positions of the party is laughable. Marginalize persons of his ilk or the nation will marginalize the entire party.
- Stop elevating and rewarding wackos. Believe it or not, people are looking to you for leadership. When you put subnormal or even just mediocre people on the ballot and expect that the public is going to go along with it just because you have previously enjoyed unquestioning party unity, you do your party and the nation a grave disservice.
- Separate church from state. You can have still your religion. Knock yourselves out. But why not put your faith into action by doing good works, instead of blurring the boundaries between pulpit and politics in an attempt to force the rest of the world to believe the same dogma that you choose to believe?
- Distance yourself from the ditto-heads. Admit it. You’ve spent the last 25 or so years building and fostering the multi-billion dollar right-wing media empire — of the Rush Limbaugh/Sean Hannity/Bill O’Reilly variety. But now you may be realizing that you’ve created a monster that is incapable of moderating itself. Cut ‘em off before they eat you alive.
- Quit blaming the media. How can you be focusing on what you need to be doing when you’re whining about how badly you’re being treated? Besides, you don’t win votes with shame and blame.
One more thing you might want to take into account. I’m sure there are Republican campaign professionals who are right now dissecting examining every aspect of Barack Obama’s campaign, searching for clues as to what was done to win an election and how they might replicate those things. What those strategists seem to be failing to take into account is that, while some of the campaign strategy might be replicatable, the candidate cannot. Obama is a once-in-a-lifetime candidate with transformative ideas and, by all accounts, an uncanny ability to inspire and bring people together.
I see little of more importance to the future of our country and of civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist. If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him.
- Pauline Kael, film critic - June 19, 1919-Sept. 3, 2001
Here’s a nice short film about the history of marriage that dispels some of the talking points that jokers like NOM like to toss out.
Perhaps one day, faced with incontrovertible evidence such as that which is included in this film, society will catch up with reality. I just hope it’s within my lifetime.
When President Obama announced the policy change yesterday that will allow undocumented minors to stay in the United States for an additional two years instead of facing deportation, the backlash from the right was immediate. The disrespectful outburst from pseudo-journalist Neil Munro during the announcement was only the beginning.
Republicans immediately started criticizing the policy itself and, more vocally, President Obama. No surprise there.
The biggest kvetch that the GOP kvetched was the fact that Obama’s policy change was merely a political act.
Now I have a few questions for the GOP:
- Are you really pretending that this isn’t an election year and that there isn’t a political component to everything that gets said by every politician between now and Election Day (and beyond)?
- Are we to believe that Obama’s policy change on deportation is a political act, but your immediate, vociferous, rude, and unified objection to this change isn’tpolitical?
- If you think that President Obama’s policy towards non-citizens is wrong, what do you propose as an alternative?
So far, the Republicans have proposed electrified fences, mass deportations, splitting up families, self-deportation (whatever that is), and probably a few more harebrained ideas I’ve missed. Not one plan or policy that the Republicans have proposed to deal with the decades-old issue of undocumented immigrants contains an iota of practicality. All of them, however, appeal to the base, bloodthirsty instincts of the “low-information voters” that the GOP elite are so fond of manipulating into voting against their own best interests.
The fact of the matter is that the INS through many administrations has been widely regarded as the most dysfunctional agency in a government full of dysfunctional agencies. Because immigration and citizenship issues are so problematic and complex, the INS has existed in a state of stasis for a very long time. Consequently, a policy change as comparatively benign as the one President Obama announced is looked at as some drastic swing to the left.
The reality, however, is quite different. Is there a political component? Of course there is. There’s no doubt that an announcement such as the one made on Friday will shore up support among potential Latino voters. Republicans hate that even more than they hate the policy, because they’ve been on the wrong side of the immigration issue for a long time.
But, in addition to being completely in line with the President’s stated beliefs, it’s just the right thing to do.
It was an historic day when the policy referred to as “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was repealed. LGBT service members who were in the military no longer had to make the choice between hiding their true identities or losing their military careers.
But today, there’s another milestone that will likely not be as celebrated as the repeal of DADT. For the first time, a U.S. Secretary of Defense not only acknowledged the contributions of LGBT service members but also acknowledged them in the context of Gay Pride month.
The Pentagon has even announced its own gay pride event – a panel discussion to talk about issues affecting gay and lesbians in the military.
When DADT was thrown out, there was still some lingering suspicion that the military perhaps would not fully understand how important this issue was or would, at best, begrudgingly go along with it while maintaining its existing less-than-open-minded internal way of doing business. But it now seems like (as some had always said) that the full and open integration of lesbians and gay men in the military would just be taken as a matter of course.
In gay pride month, that’s definitely something to be proud of.