Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Clueless Disasters

Over the last couple of days, some of our media colleagues have been rightly focusing on the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, or the anniversary of the Great Depression. However, with less than a week to go, much of our staff still has our eyes planted firmly on the Virginia election being held next Tuesday.

As we noted yesterday, the Republican Party is currently being dragged down - rapidly -  by its extremist 'Tea Party' wing. There are plenty of opportunities right now for sane, rational Republicans to wrest control of their party back at the national level, with subjects like immigration, the budget, and even LGBT rights being argued in Congress right now.

That doesn't mean doing so would be easy. In fact, as the last Washington Post/SRBI poll before the Virginia election shows, the crumbling Frankenstein that is currently the GOP is far more likely to keep scaring voters away - in part, because those who control remain in denial of the facts.

This couldn't have been made any more obvious than in the chart highlighted by Greg Sargent yesterday afternoon. In multiple major categories - White college graduates, Non-white voters, Women, Independents, and even 'All Likely Voters' - the kinds of Virginians who will likely hit the polls by next Tuesday overwhelmingly dislike the Republican Party right now.

As Sargent also noted, in a state that experienced political observers see as "increasingly resembling the country as a whole," the Republican Party seems to already be among the walking dead.

It's not just those on the left saying these things about Republicans now.

Two of Sargent's colleagues at the Washington Post, from the other side of the ideological divide - Kathleen Parker and Jennifer Rubin - echo both what pundits like us and Greg Sargent have said, but also what the numbers are proving right now.

Parker says the Virginia race should be a strong wake-up call to her party's leaders. Even if the Republican candidate, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, has a bizarre obsession with sodomy, and his own small scandal involving ethics and gifts, that's not his greatest problem. It's the fact that Cuccinelli favored the government shutdown, half-heartedly tried to use Ted Cruz as a blatant political ploy, and has proudly aligned himself with the Tea Party extremists. The fact that Virginia voters - especially women - loathe the Republican Party right now, also is weighting heavily on the Virginia race.

As a contrast, Jennifer Rubin notes that current New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie looks to roll to an easy re-election win next Tuesday in his heavily Democratic-leaning state - the same day that Republicans on the Virginia ballot are likely to get clobbered.

The key, as Rubin makes clear, is that Gov. Christie has learned the art of appearing to compromise on issues like taxes, budgets, schools, and crime, while still bullying through the policies he believes in. Even Christie's appearance of compromise is more than most in the Republican Party are able to display right now, either at the national or state levels, thanks to their fear of Tea Party extremists.

Those controlling the GOP today must finally abandon their denial and realize that the political monster they've cobbled together is one most Americans no longer want roaming around. Until that shock occurs, and party leaders dump the rotting limb that is the Tea Party, the Republican Party will remain a clueless monstrosity blundering over the political landscape.

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