Here’s hoping that Republicans in power stay as tone-deaf to the winds of change as they can be. Here’s hoping the Tea Party gins up its base with lies about Obamacare, immigration reform, and marriage equality to the point that Republicans in congress have to run as far to the right as they can to stave off primary attacks. The more they remain completely blind to a reality that even some among them are starting to recognize, the bigger the electoral bloodbath in 2014 will be.
With the amount of gerrymandering the GOP has done to shore up safe districts, the notion of breaking their majority in the House seems insurmountable. Then again, in the 2012 elections, Democrats actually did get over a million more total votes for congressional seats than Republicans did, so the fact is that Republican policies are already less popular than the “scorecard” shows. Now though, the cracks in the GOP’s facade are starting to show, and the only question is just how deep. If you go by Colin Powell on CBS’ “Face the Nation” this weekend, the cracks are pretty damned deep.
When asked about the efforts by Republicans in states like North Carolina to enact sweeping new voting restrictions — like new voter ID laws — aimed at suppressing the very voters who tend to vote Democratic, Powell had a message for the GOP in response. “You say you want to see if you can bring some of these voters to the Republican side. This is not the way to do it,” the retired General said of his party’s willingness to look like the mean, racist party.
As I get older, I start to wonder if there’s a — pardon the “Star Wars” reference — Sith and Jedi relationship between racist politicking and the forces of equality. Maybe there just has to be balance in America between the racists and the non-racists in power. That’s the only reason I can see why in 2013 the Republican Party — the party that freed the slaves and helped register black people to vote in the South during the Civil Rights Movement — became the party of outright racism, embracing it many cases. The argument against immigration, that our border isn’t secure enough to enact any reforms, is completely bogus. Net immigration’s a net zero from Mexico, meaning the real argument they’re making is the Rep. Steve King “cantaloupe calves” argument — thinly veiled racism if ever I saw it.
I’ve said all along that the law of averages dictates there just have to be people in the GOP that aren’t blinded by their paranoia or racism. There have to be people in the party that are conservative without being vindictive, otherwise as off the rails as the Republicans look now, they’d already have impeachment articles drafted against Obama. There is obviously still a tempering influence somewhere in the ranks, but the question as we roll on to the mid-terms next year is going to be whether or not the voices of temperance win-out. That’s now how it worked in 2010, and it’s hard to see the Tea Party going quietly into the night just yet.
The funny thing is, if they’d actually listen to Powell instead of calling him a “RINO” (Republican In Name Only), they’d hear things like, “The way to do it is to make it easier for them to vote and then give them something to vote for that they can believe in,” which is exactly the right advice for the GOP. The way the Democratic Party grew its coalition of Average Americans was to be a large-tent party. The right mocked the inclusiveness of the Democratic Party for decades. I should know, I was stashed away among their ranks at the time. Yet, it was that very diversity that assured Obama’s victory last year.
Powell also hit the nail on the head when it came to why the voter ID laws are just legislative bilge, aimed at hurting people and nothing else. Powell told Bob Schieffer, “You need a photo ID. Well, you didn’t need a photo ID for decades before. Is it really necessary now? And they claim that there’s widespread abuse and voter fraud, but nothing documents, nothing substantiates that. There isn’t widespread abuse.” Powell neatly and surgically destroyed their argument with about three sentences.
Truly though, liberals should rejoice at the fact that Powell’s words seem to be falling on deaf ears. The reality is that General Powell is giving them the all the hints they need to come back roaring to life as a movement. General Powell sees the future of the GOP laid before him and when he says, “These kind of procedures that are being put in place to slow the process down and make it likely that fewer Hispanics and African-Americans might vote, I think, are going to backfire, because these people are going to come out and do what they have to do in order to vote, and I encourage that,” he speaks from a place of insight…meaning there is zero chance he’ll be heard.
…and the incompetent band played on…and on…and on…