The Republican Party is at a crossroads, my friends. Deeply unpopular and bereft of power outside the South, the GOP needs to find a way back to the hearts and minds of the American people. They can do this many ways, of course: by moderating their views, by finding new and better ways to express themselves, or by simply being quiet and waiting for events to turn on the Democrats.
Or — and I’m just throwing this out there — they can behave like a bunch of seventh-graders, and hurl incoherent insults as loudly as possible, in the hopes that others will think that proves their mettle.
Sadly for the GOP and the country, this appears to be the Republican strategery for the coming years:
A member of the Republican
National Committee told me Tuesday that when the RNC meets in an extraordinary special session next week, it will approve a resolution rebranding Democrats
as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”
When I asked if such a resolution would force RNC Chairman Michael Steele to use that label when talking about Democrats in all his speeches and press releases, the RNC member replied: “Who cares?”
The sad thing is that America needs grown-ups in the Republican Party. I truly and absolutely believe that this country functions best with two functional parties. But this country does not have two functional parties right now; it barely has one. The Republicans are simply not up to the task of being thoughtful, intelligent leaders of our country; indeed, they seem to be permanently mired in a middle-school mentality, that if they just yell loudly and strut around, everyone will think they’re awesome.
Well, sorry, Republicans: the election of Barack Obama was a signal that America has tired of tough-talkin’ bullies. We actually want leaders who will engage with the issues of the day, who will take serious issues seriously. Who will listen to those he disagrees with, and who will treat his or her ideological opponents with respect.
So long as the Republicans stay stuck in a game of name-calling, petty politics, they will stay mired in the minority. At some point, wiser men and women will prevail, and the GOP will begin the hard but necessary task of updating itself for the 21st century. Until that day comes, the GOP will continue to stamp its foot like a schoolyard bully — and it will continue to get the respect that behavior calls for.