Occasionally a story comes along that leaves one blinking, wondering if it’s a joke or if people have finally lost their minds. Lately, though, a steady stream of ridiculous and bizarre inanities have been streaming forth from the Republicans and their Far Right supporters, and I’m beginning to wonder if they’re actually crazy. First the Republicans tried to make a family values martyr out of a half naked blonde with fake boobs. Then they whipped their base into a frenzy with the Obama Dijon mustard scare. Now they’re trying to elevate their party and regain political ground be engaging in farcical ruminations and laughable grand-standing.
One of the agenda items at a special meeting of the Republican National Committee this week is a resolution to formally rename their opposition from the Democratic Party to the “Democrat Socialist Party”. Yes, friends. That’s for real. Apparently, since they haven’t been able to remake their own image, the Republicans have decided to re-work their opposition’s. If the resolution passes, it does nothing whatsoever. It has no power. The Republicans have no authority to re-brand the Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party” anymore than the Democrats have the authority to re-brand the Republicans as the “Nazi Party”. So why even bother? According to the resolution, it calls “… on the Democratic Party to be truthful and honest with the American people by acknowledging that they have evolved from a party of tax and spend to a party of tax and nationalize and, therefore, should agree to rename themselves the Democrat Socialist Party.”
Right. I’m sure the Democrats will get right on that.
One has to wonder if there will be sub-text to the resolution in which alternatives such as “poopie heads” and “booger eaters” will also be deemed acceptable alternatives. And if the Democrats don’t change the name of their party, are the Republicans going to stick their thumbs in their mouths and refuse to eat their broccoli until they get their way? Or are they going to stick their fingers in their ears and repeat the word “socialism” until someone, anyone starts taking them seriously?
Not surprisingly, the resolution thrilled the air-heads at Fox News. They were all over it this morning. GOP chief Michael Steele, who had shown up to promote his big speech at the RNC meeting, found himself back-pedaling on Fox and Friends. Steele has repeatedly said that he doesn’t support the powerless and pointless resolution. But Fox, incapable of containing their glee at the prospect of flicking boogers in the direction of the Democrats, framed three of the four questions posed to Steele around the resolution, with the omnipresent text bar on the TV screen rotated between two messages:
- New GOP strategy: Rebranding the Democrats
- RNC rebrands the Dems: The Democrat Socialist Party
Right out of the gate, Steele had to correct host Steve Doocy, who kicked it all off by asking, “Essentially you’re going to do your best to rebrand your opponents, the Democrats?”
“Well not so much,” Steele said. “This is less of a focus on Democrats and more of a focus on the [Republican] party. It’s time to talk to folks in our respective communities and lay out an agenda that looks toward the future.” He added that the Republican Party needed to “pull their heads out of the sand”.
Doocy was having none of it. Even after Steele said the focus was not on the pointless resolution, Doocy pushed him on it. “You’re going to rebrand them the ‘Democrat Socialist Party’. They’re not going to like that,” he said laughing.
“I don’t know how that resolution will turn out,” Steele replied, appearing to cringe.
“Are you for that resolution?” Doocy asked.
“No, I am not for that at all,” Steele said. “I’ve mentioned that to folks inside the party and said we need to be smart and strategic about that.”
The jokes write themselves. With the mess the country is in, this is what they come up with? This is their idea of how to put the Republican party back on the map? What else should we expect, really? This is, after all, the party which, in February, called a press conference to present their alternative federal budget proposal. It was 19 pages long, was described as containing roughly 8 cover pages, and only a brief outline of concepts, with no numbers and no forecasts for spending. Real solutions are apparently not the Republicans’ forte. Of course, if the eight years of the Bush administration didn’t prove that thought, nothing will.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was asked about the rebranding effort in his press briefing last Friday.
“Given the challenges that they face, that’s exactly the way I would be using my time too,” he said sarcastically, chuckling.
There is a real danger for the Republican party. If the RNC not only approves this absurd vocabulary stunt, but members of the party begin parroting the term “Democrat Socialist Party” in mindless allegiance to the new talking points, the danger is that every potentially serious figure in the party will be seen as a nutjob who can’t put forth an original thought, unable to talk about real issues and good for nothing but wasting the public’s time with relentless propaganda.
Neal Cavuto summed it up pretty well on FOX News: “I see a party in a heap of trouble and the last thing you want to do when you’re in a heap of trouble is dig a ditch deeper. So put down the shovels and deal with some issues.”
Personally, I’ve been amused by the whole thing. Let’s hear more of the Republican party’s grand plans for this country. What solutions do they have for getting the unemployment rate down from its 25 year high? What do they intend to do about the housing crisis? What are they going to do about the instability in the financial sector? How do they plan to get the economy back on track? I’m having a hard time understanding how trying to tar and feather the Democrats with the label “Democrat Socialist Party” is going to help with any of it. So far the only solution the Republicans have offered is yet more tax cuts for the wealthy. Yeah, that sure helped us out the half a dozen times, didn’t it? Really. What are we supposed to expect?