Saturday, July 20, 2013

This is Outreach?

Latest Newspaper Column: The Pilot Newspaper

It’s pretty much accepted wisdom at this point that, in order to succeed on a national level, the Republican Party is going to have to broaden its appeal.

As South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham put it, “The demographics race we’re losing badly. We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”

So what are conservative Republicans doing to expand their appeal on the national level?

Well, you have Phyllis Schlafly of the right-wing Eagle Forum going on conservative radio and explaining that it’s useless to try to reach out to Latinos because they don’t “have any Republican inclinations at all,” and “they’re running an illegitimacy rate that’s just about the same as the blacks are.”

Further, she said, Latinos “come from a country where they have no experience with limited government. And the types of rights we have in the Bill of Rights, they don’t understand that at all. You can’t even talk to them about what the Republican principle is.”

Perhaps someone can explain to Mrs. Schlafly, first off, that Latinos don’t come from “a country.” There is no country called Latinostan. Also, they can explain to her that insulting, en masse, the fastest-growing voting group in the U.S. is the path to political extinction.

Meanwhile, Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-Off His Meds) defended his opposition to immigration reform and asserted that Latinos won’t punish the GOP at the ballot box with this gem: “I think you will see people start waking up and go, ‘Wow, I’m Hispanic and these Republicans really like me. … Wow, this Republican really does want me to do well. That’s the party I ought to be in!”

Yeah, Louie, let me know how that condescending and paternalistic attitude works out for you. Of course, this is the guy who once berated the attorney general for casting “aspersions on his asparagus,” much to the confusion of all in the hearing room, so maybe he’s jockeying for Michele Bachmann’s soon-to-be-vacant position as Head Loony of the Republican Caucus.

Don’t worry, ladies — the Republican Party hasn’t forgotten you! Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz., of course) recently demonstrated, once again, the GOP’s ignorance of female anatomy by confidently asserting that exceptions from abortion restrictions in case of rape are unnecessary because such pregnancies are “rare.” He apparently forgot that ignorant BS like that cost the GOP a Senate seat less than a year ago.

During the recent debacle in Texas, where the legislature came back especially to pass a restrictive abortion law, Republican legislator Jodie Lautenberg struck a blow for gender equality in the area of ignorance by claiming that emergency rooms have “rape kits” that “clean women out” (for the record, the rape kits are for collecting criminal evidence). Scottie Nell Hughes, director of the Tea Party News Network, went on TV saying that rape victims who end resulting pregnancies should serve the same jail time as their rapists. And the beat goes on.

Of course, there are some who say that there’s no need for outreach, that “angry white guys” are enough to carry them to the White House and control of the Senate. I invite those people to compare and contrast a pair of events that happened right here this past week in North Carolina. They are the latest “Moral Monday” protest on the Halifax Mall behind the General Assembly building and the “Thankful Tuesday” counter-demonstration the next evening.According to The News & Observer, the police estimated 2,000 attendees at the Moral Monday protest. Organizers pegged the number at closer to 5,000. The Tuesday protest, on the other hand, drew a mere 200 people, holding signs that said, “Stop Abortion Now,” and “Thank you [Gov. Pat] McCrory.”

So, even using the lowest estimate, 10 times as many people turned out to protest the General Assembly’s current path as turned out to support it. And the pictures from the event really tell the tale: The Moral Monday folks are a strikingly diverse group, of all ages and races. The TT’s … not so much. They are, shall we say, ethnically homogenous, and not one of them looks younger than 60.

Of course, the generally low turnout for TT may be because right now even a lot of sane Republicans are getting disgusted with the General Assembly’s full-steam-ahead efforts to enact a radical right-wing social agenda at the expense of little details like a state budget.

Maybe they’d get better turnout if they called for a “Stop Futzing Around and Pass a Budget Already Tuesday.” Granted, it doesn’t roll as trippingly off the tongue, but I think it accurately sums up the frustration I’m hearing from Republican friends of the non-insane variety.  I know the GOP isn’t listening to me, but maybe it could listen to them.


Celine said...

Slacktivist runs semi-regular collections of "Republican outreach" articles. They'd be funny as hell if they weren't so damn depressing. The bigotry (of all stripes) is apparently so deeply ingrained that they don't even notice that what they're saying directly contradicts their stated purpose.

Gerard Saylor said...

Scottie Nell Hughes, director of the Tea Party News Network, went on TV saying that rape victims who end resulting pregnancies should serve the same jail time as their rapists

Holy crap.

Anonymous said...

I find it amusing that the Democrats actually managed to exile most of these chumps, but they seem to be driving everyone else out of the GOP.

If this keeps up, I really do see a new major party emerging in the next 16 years while the old GOP shrivels up and dies from a stubborn refusal to cut loose a shrinking base whom nobody really cares about.