Burnard: GOP buyer’s remorseWritten by Don Burnard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It appears that the Republican leadership is experiencing a little buyer’s remorse after their adventures in crazy land.
They seem to have figured out that appealing to the lowest common denominator and adopting positions that appeal only to white males is totally inadequate for winning elections on the national level. Thanks to the tea party wave in 2010, the Republicans took control of a number of state houses and governorships.
The reason for this, as previously stated, was not so much a come-to-Jesus moment by voters agreeing with their beliefs, but rather a general apathy by voters who had unrealistic expectations of what President Barack Obama could accomplish in two years. They stayed home in droves compared to in 2008, and voilà, the inmates were running the asylum. The leadership eventually tired of the uncontrollable loonies they had depended on to take control of the House. Many, if not most, of the new Teapublicans had no respect for the institution, the leadership or government in general. For the most part, they just didn’t play well with others. With the bit in their teeth, they pushed through some of the most homophobic, misogynistic and racist policies seen on the floors of Congress in quite some time — and that is saying something.
They didn’t think it would matter, because this all happened in a census year, and they could gerrymander their way to power, hoping to take control of not only the presidency, but the Senate as well. This was especially prevalent here in Ohio, where they butchered the electoral map in such a way as to give them an even more insurmountable majority in both state legislative bodies, and a 12-4 majority in the House of Representatives, even though a majority of Ohioans voted for Democratic representation. They figured if they sprinkled in some voter suppression, how could they possibly lose?
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted ignored every court order blocking early-voting restrictions, even from the Supreme Court, right up until the bitter end, risking contempt charges.
What happened? Karl Rove literally melted down on Fox News when Ohio was called for Obama. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and politicians are oft going astray.
This week, after basically having their butts handed to them by Hispanic voters, the GOP has decided that demonizing illegal immigrants is perhaps not the way to go. The latest and greatest Gang of Eight, four Republicans and four Democrats, have attempted to make meaningful progress toward immigration policy, hoping that maybe that will make the Hispanic community forget all the nasty things that were said and done in the past.
For weeks, the big plan to regain power with a shrinking base was to redo the Electoral College so that electoral votes would be parceled out by the gerrymandered districts instead of by the popular vote. Two states with four or five electoral votes do this now. The plan was to have the big electorally important states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin change to this method. That way, even if you lost the popular vote, you could still win!
Of course, we saw that act in 2000 and 2004, but this would be decidedly less messy. It appears that cooler heads have prevailed, and Virginia, Wisconsin and even Ohio have decided not to pursue this route, at least not at this time.
Since “Tricky Dick” Nixon’s run in 1968 when he tried negotiating with the Vietnamese behind President Lyndon Johnson’s back, the White House Watergate plumbers, Ronald Reagan negotiating with the Iranians behind President Jimmy Carter’s back, the Florida debacle in 2000, etc., the Republicans have sought to gain or maintain power through dirty tricks and legislative sleight of hand rather than running on policies good for all Americans. This election saw a public that couldn’t be bought or fooled. Voters needlessly stood in lines for hours to have their say at the polls. They couldn’t overcome the gerrymandering, but still the Democrats gained in the House, Senate and kept the presidency. Perhaps the GOP is seeing the handwriting on the wall, and will try to actually do the job it was elected to do for all its constituents instead of total obstruction and shenanigans for the benefit of the few.
Email columnist Don Burnard at email@example.com.