Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Aesop and The Republican Party's Problem

by Nomad

Aesop mosaic
Throughout the ages, the humble slave, Aesop was famous for his simple stories that revealed a hidden truth about human nature. I found this fable about trying to please others.
The Man and His Two Wives

In the old days, when men were allowed to have many wives, a middle-aged man had one wife that was old and one that was young; each loved him very much, and desired to see him like herself. 
Now the man's hair was turning grey, which the young wife did not like, as it made him look too old for her husband. So every night she used to comb his hair and pick out the white ones. 

But the elder wife saw her husband growing grey with great pleasure, for she did not like to be mistaken for his mother. So every morning she used to arrange his hair and pick out as many of the black ones as she could. The consequence was the man soon found himself entirely bald.
As I was reading, it struck me how much it seemed to apply to the dilemma that Republican party faces. 

In this election we have watched the peculiar convulsions of Republican party, torn apart by two forces, the narrow ideologies of the Tea Party and the Christian Right and by special interests in the form of corporations. Between them, the Republican party has proved unable to mount a plausible challenge to the incumbent president. In the process, the party has been pushed as far to the right as any party can be pushed. The apparent desperation of the GOP has made this willing victims of corporate control. 

In the end, the nomination fell to Mitt Romney who basically told everybody what they wanted to hear and attempted to erase all trace of his past political history.

So, if the Christian Right wanted a candidate who was pro-life, then, Romney said, he could be as pro-life as Santorum- regardless of his heart-felt statements in the 1994 debates with Edward Kennedy. If the Christian Right wanted a devout Christian, then the Mormon could play along, ignoring the anti-Christian doctrines of his faith. 

If his corporate sponsors wanted to dismantle Obamacare, Romney told them he could do that- despite the fact that his own health care program was essentially a trial run on a state level. If winning the nomination meant hopping in bed with the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adleson, then, by gum, Romney was prepared to take that plunge with a tight smile on his face. 

When all that posturing failed to convince the ideologues, he found himself forced to nominate the hopelessly inexperienced and truly dishonest Paul Ryan as his running mate. While The Tea Party might have been flattered by Romney's choice, Ryan, however, turned out to be nearly as unpropitious a choice as Sarah Palin had been for McCain.
In fact, as one source points out:
Ryan's ratings were less positive than those for any other vice presidential pick part of Gallup since 2000, including Sarah Palin, Joe Biden and Dick Cheney. The only other recent vice presidential selection to gain net negative ratings was Dan Quayle in 1988.
The Tea Party might have been appeased but it came at a tremendous cost. Only this week, Paul Ryan was booed throughout most of his speech to the American Association of Retired Persons, or AARP. As soon as he advocated the repeal of ObamaCare, the normally supportive audience turned hostile. In fact, Ryan was simply echoing the Tea Party’s “Freedom Platform” which the Republican party unwisely adopted as its party platform in August.

Naturally a reaction like that left the door open for the president who later addressed the crowd by satellite.
"Medicare and Social Security are not handouts. You've paid into these programs your whole lives, You've earned them and as president it's my job to make sure Medicare and Social Security remain strong for today's seniors and future generations."
In trying to please both his wives, the hapless husband in Aesop's story eventually lost his manly mane.  For Romney, in doing what it took to get as far as he did, Romney eventually lost the trust of the independents and the undecideds. That's what all of the polls are showing. 

All of the key swing states, Ohio, Virginia, and Florida, are now showing negative numbers for the Republican candidate. And, given his inability to remain coherent and not to shoot himself in the foot when under pressure, Romney is unlikely to rescue himself in the upcoming presidential debates. 

The brutal truth is that  Mitt Romney was never really a suitable choice and yet, by the current Republican standards and by the party processes, he was their best choice- at least, out of a line-up fit for satirical comedy. 
It wasn't particularly Romney's fault. He should never have been allowed to get this far. The blame falls on the Republican conservatives, like Karl Rove and Roger Ailes. In appealing to extremists, they have taken the GOP down a dark and pathetic dead end.

And like Aesop's bald husband, it is Mitt Romney who will have to endure this humiliation come November. 

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