Democratic politician Adlai Stevenson once characterized the GOP as a group that “has to be dragged kicking and screaming into the 20th century.” I often wonder what Stevenson would say about the GOP in the 21st Century. Perhaps water-boarding would be a more effective technique than dragging if we are to introduce Republicans to the new age. But what would be the point of inflicting simulated drowning on a group that is already drowning? After all, the elephants are so (very literally) mired in their own shit, they might not be able to pull themselves out.
Not only have Republicans chosen the wrong side, both morally and politically, on all of today’s biggest issues like water-boarding, the Iraq War, and yes, Bristol Palin’s baby-mama drama, the party has also been slow and stubborn in abandoning these unpopular positions.
Since 2001, Republicans have failed to reach out to moderate voters. Instead, the GOP has shifted to the far right on issues like abortion and gay rights. Republicans have even lost significant support among their most reliable demographics. Since 2001, the GOP has lost 9 percent of its Midwestern support, 7 percent of its male support, and 6 percent of its white support. Looking ahead, the future is even drearier for the GOP, considering Democrats are favored in the 18 to 29 age group by 14 percent.
The GOP understandably panicked and is in serious need of a makeover, but early efforts to re-energize the party have been abysmal. The question that dumbfounds Republicans is upon what foundation to build their new image. Republicans failed to re-brand their party with sex (Mitt Romney and my God, have you seen Aaron Schock’s abs) because the GOP is the party of abstinence. Republicans failed to re-brand their party as the outdoor party (Check out the YouTube clip of Sarah Palin sitting on a dead bear, discussing snow-mobiling) because the Bush Administration is responsible for the rollback of 400 major environmental laws.
If they are serious about winning back their base, Republicans will have to focus on bread and butter issues that a majority of Americans can identify with, like homeland security and tax cuts. Republicans will also have to air their “drowning shrieks” more privately. Rush Limbaugh and other party representatives must stop declaring publicly that they “hope for Barack Obama to fail.” Statements like these make it clear that, as Republicans sink, the best they can do is pray for an unanticipated event to force Democrats into the same position of vulnerability.
I don’t know what exactly will become of the drowning elephant in the 21st Century. One thing that’s for sure, however, is that the GOP has lost control of its own fate. The GOP’s survival will depend upon the ridiculousness of its remaining arsenal of untested re-branding schemes. It will depend upon what new slapstick character joins the cast of Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal, and Michael Steele. It will depend upon how loudly the Republicans express their panic and, ultimately, whether their darkest hopes for America’s failure materialize. For now, this ass is going to observe and enjoy the anatomy of a drowning elephant.