April 17, 2013
Much has been made of the Republican’s 2012 postmortem, in which they attempted to answer the pressing question, why does everyone think we suck? The conclusion they reached, that it was mostly a messaging problem, was so obviously misguided that Democrats could only chuckle in response: they must be missing the point on purpose, right? That’s the only thing that could explain such a shallow, obtuse analysis.
But it turns out GOP operatives may have a better sense of their party than we gave them credit for, because apparently their elected officials can’t even pretend to make superficial changes, never mind undertake a serious re-assessment of their policies. Not a bloody day goes by without some party hack publicly insulting one of the groups they’re supposed to be wooing with their new and improved PR strategies. First out of the gate was Wetback Man, who hasn’t left his house since 1967 and so didn’t hear the news that this is not Latino voters’ preferred term of self-identification. Then there was that one week they couldn’t stop comparing gay marriage to bestiality, and just today an email emerged in which a New Hampshire Republican referred to women collectively as “vagina’s” (sic), all but guaranteeing that Democrats will again carry the coveted vagina vote in the 2014 midterms.
These are heady times for liberals. No need to waste money on opposition research when you can just give Republicans some rope, then wait quietly on the sidelines for them to call the rope an illegal alien and threaten its social security benefits, prefatory to hanging themselves with it. But the left’s snickering schadenfreude has me worried, because the GOP’s ongoing disarray is, all electoral evidence to the contrary, bad for Democratic voters. It’s creating a situation in which their representatives can blithely ignore the will of constituents and still comfortably win elections. Because let’s be honest, Democrats aren’t exactly killing it these days, policy-wise.Republicans are just so hilariously inept, so bafflingly self-undermining, all Dems have do is to show up and NOT openly insult 2/3 of the population and they win by default. No need to examine our platform or anything, just refrain from mumbling ethnic slurs into a hot mic and we’re good to go!
That’s how we end up with destructive and unpopular proposals like the chained CPI, that’s how we preemptively lose the gun control fight before a single vote is cast. The GOP’s incompetence is letting Democrats get lazy and ideologically sloppy, which doesn’t bode well for the party’s long-term health. We’ve heard a lot the past few years about Obama’s “coalition of the ascendant,” but another way to see it is that the GOP has created an anti-coalition for itself, a large voting bloc that’s mobilized by sheer terror at the idea that one of their nitwit pols might actually be elected president. That’s certainly part of what motivated me in the last election. I was less enthusiastic about Obama than I was horrified by Romney, which I guess is one way to turn out the vote, but doesn’t really seem like a sustainable strategy for a major political party.
But in the short-term, Democrats will happily reap the benefits of the GOP’s unparalleled ability to unite the country against them with a single sound bite, because in a two-party system, they’re the only place for disaffected voters to go. In terms of when we can expect the Republicans’ long-forestalled epiphany to truly take place, the only relevant question is: how many more presidential elections are they willing to lose? At this point it looks like the answer is at least two more, so I hope Hillary’s got her campaignin’ shoes all polished and ready for 2016. If somebody could find a gay Latino to run as her VP, that’d be great. Might as well get in all the historic firsts we can manage while Republicans are . . . busy with other things.
What do you think? Is Republican incompetence good or bad for Democrats? Let me know in the comments!