Sunday, June 26, 2005

Throwing Himself on a Hand Grenade -- And Shooting His Party in the Foot

It's been a hard week for the GOP PR machine. The majority party -- likely going into a tough fight to name a new Supreme Court Justice in the next couple of weeks just couldn't win. No doubt this weekend has been like a half-time locker room session of a championship team taking a beating from the league's losers. In the end, President Bush's top advisor took one for the team. But like everything else the GOP did this week, it seems he crossed the wrong goal line.

The Party of No vs. the Party of No Plan

Republicans accuse Democrats of being the "Party of No" -- simply opposing anything the Republicans bring up. A better name might be "The Party of Give the GOP Enough Rope."

New polls from the national media reflect what the politicians at the White House and RNC see in their own million dollar data dumps: the President's two waddles from becoming a lame duck. That has Republicans trying to distance themselves from the President willy nilly -- a bunch of headless chickens refusing to follow the lame duck.

The bottom line is the Republicans have spent nearly 8 months since the last election trying to come up with something the American people actually support. As time ticks down to the next election and the Party in charge of the White House and Congress seems blocked at every turn -- there's mounting frustration in RNC HQ at 310 First Street, SE -- and that has to be worrying the boss over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Losing Control

The signs have been there for weeks. Republicans -- facing off-year elections next year -- have gotten an early start distancing themselves from President Bush:
  • When GOP leaders finally introduced a Social Security bill, it was conspicuously missing the President's private account plan
  • Sen Mel Martinez (R-FL) -- a former Bush cabinet member -- has joined the call for closing the detention camp at Gitmo
  • Rep Walter Jones (R-NC) -- the man who coined the term "freedom fries" in protest of France's lack of support for the Iraq War -- has joined the French -- and a majority of Americans -- in opposing the war
But this week saw three high profile setbacks in a row:
  • The Truth About Hillary is that if you write a book blasting a Clinton, it only plays into his or her favor. Billed as a book that would sink her presidential aspirations, even Peggy Noonan and Bill O'Reilly are terrified it has backfired big time and will now help her campaign
  • Rep John Hostettler (R-IN) demonized Democrats by saying they "demonized Christians." He specifically targeted a Catholic and a Jewish Congressman in opposing an amendment to a defense bill calling for more religious tolerance at the Air Force Academy. Rep Hostettler apologized and the next day the Air Force confirmed an atmosphere of religious intolerance toward traditional Christians, Jews, and other non-Evangelical views at the AFA
  • Karl Rove attempted to send the record of America's uncommon unity after 9/11 down the "memory hole." He told a New York audience that liberals wanted to coddle terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attack -- even though the Congressional Record shows united, overwhelming support for military action and other tough action
Rove vs. Lincoln

Mr Rove threw himself on a political hand grenade to rally the GOP around their leader. But he has only galvanized the Democrats. And independents and moderates and everyone else who remembers the uncommon sense of national unity that persisted in the weeks after 9/11.

Just as the Bush White House has never been able to convince the majority of Americans that the War on Terror and the Iraq War are part of the same fight -- the American people see through the partisan politics of Mr Rove's statements in New York.

And as Republicans rally 'round Rove -- they may not notice the damage he's done to the Party. The base, staunch Democrats and Republicans, make up only about 20% each of the electorate. It's that vast, 60% of independents and moderates who ultimately decide what's best for America.

As another Republican -- far smarter and infinitely more eloquent that Mr Rove once said:

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
--Abraham Lincoln

The American people have never liked being made fools of. They didn't like it when Osama bin Laden did it on 9/11. They won't stand for it from Karl Rove -- one of their own -- as he tries it today.

Abraham Lincoln knew what dividing a country could do. He also understood it was more important to unite us than divide us. Maybe Mr Rove missed that day in history class. (Watching Washington)
[Crossposted at]

1 comment:

David Schantz said...

Good post. It's time they start making a plan. Thats what my Question Of The Week is about. I hope you'll stop by to answer it.

God Bless America, God Save The Republic.