Colson: A ‘gloomy’ GOP? Why change now?
The New York Times noted snarkily over the weekend that Republican candidates for president have gotten “gloomy” about the state of the Union, so much so that they “leave behind Reagan Cheer.”
If you ask me (or don’t, I’ll tell you anyway), Republicans have been gloomy about nearly everything for decades, and even when Ronald Reagan was in the White House in the 1980s, his “cheer” was little more than fantasy dressed up as political rhetoric, aimed at deceiving voters about the true nature of things.
When Reagan the candidate proclaimed in 1984 that we were experiencing “Morning in America,” he clearly wasn’t talking about the middle class, since his policies and actions are broadly seen as the beginning of the end for that ephemeral economic grouping.
No, he was talking about his wealthy patrons, the people who had cheerfully bankrolled his entry onto the national political stage. And, actually, he was mouthing the words of ad man Hal Riney, who wrote a lot of what Reagan spouted during his campaign for re-election.
If you’ll recall, all he had to do during his first campaign was point out that his predecessor, one-term president Jimmy Carter, failed to bring home the 52 hostages held captive in the U.S. Embassy to Iran.
Even Carter, at a later date, cited the failed hostage rescue attempt, known as Operation Eagle Claw, as the main reason he lost to Reagan.
Anyways, back to today’s gloomy Republican Party, as identified by the NYT.
News writer Jeremy Peters opened his article with the observation that, “To listen to the way some Republicans tell it, America is a pretty awful place these days.”
Peters quoted Donald Trump as calling the U.S. “a hell hole” and accusing our current leadership of being “stupid” and engineering our conversion into “a third world country.”
I find that assessment very interesting, particularly since Republicans have been essentially driving national policy ever since 2000, when George “The Shrub” Bush stole the presidency from Al Gore.
Even following the election of our first black president, Barack Obama, the Republicans have played a counter-insurgency role, undermining everything Obama tried to do while feeding the simmering racist tendencies of this nation’s illiterati.
In fact, it appeared to me at one point that the Republican politicians of this country had taken a page from the Republican Guards of Iraq.
After we wrecked Iraq in the name of mythical weapons of mass destruction, the former military elite there (the Republican Guard) looted the country’s wealth and turned themselves into an insurgent army determined to prevent Iraq from putting itself back together.
See the parallel here?
After Obama wrecked the Republicans’ presidential hopes in 2008 (not to mention Hillary Clinton’s), the former political elite of the Republican party concluded that they, too, needed to wage a guerilla war against their enemy. It was a war of nasty words and evil lies, of course, rather than bombs and bullets, but just as effective in derailing or crippling just about any good initiative that came out of the Obama White House.
And now, this same bunch wants you, the voter, to put them back in complete charge of the country.
But interestingly, their rhetoric has been dragged downward, largely by their being Trumped. To do battle with a hog, you’ve got to get muddy, seems to be their thinking.
Republican operatives such as David Gergen trumpet their belief that the U.S. faces “a serious risk of decline” thanks to Obama — ignoring the fact that Obama pulled us out of The Shrub’s recession, put a band-aid on our health care system and put together a nuclear deal with Iran that is about as good as we could hope.
The GOP’s strategists have finally noticed that the American electorate is deeply disturbed, not to say manically enraged by what has been done to their standard of living, their jobs, their children’s ability to get any kind of good higher education, the list is endless.
And the Republicans are blaming it all on the Democrats, with rhetoric that a former strategist for The Shrub’s political campaigns called “more mean-spirited, angry, not optimistic and much more viscerally divisive” than political rhetoric was in the past.
In truth, though, this is just more of the same. It is a kind of political déja vu from the past eight years of divisive, obstructionist and nationally destructive crap that Republicans have used to undermine Obama, regardless of the harm such actions represented for the nation as a whole.
That’s because Republicans really have no core to their political philosophy, other than a rabid need to win at any cost.
Of course, it could be that once Trump is gone from the presidential race (and I firmly believe he will self-destruct at some point), the Republican party will try to remake itself into the party of optimism, wearing the same fake grin and spouting the same retrograde, 1950s style of pablum that voters gobbled up from Reagan’s machine in the 1980s.
Then we’ll truly be back to the good ol’ days, eh?