You know, if you were to listen to the right wing cranks who inhabit the current Republican Party, you’d think they were geniuses when it comes to running government. And if you listen to the professional left, you would think the GOP was a group of brilliant political geniuses who always stay “on message,” and who can only be beaten by turning all progressives into clones of the right wing, where everyone believes the same thing and thinks the same way, only from the left. Well, their version of the left, anyway.
Republicans aren’t successful because of their “message.” Go ahead; articulate a coherent “message” from those bozos, I dare you. Which Republican message is the one that resonates? That God will smite all who are not Republican, and that Jesus wants the poor to pay less in taxes? That they’ll protect the sanctity of marriage – which is not at all sullied by the prospect of two drunks being married by Elvis in the “Chapel O’ Love” on the Vegas Strip, but will be permanently damaged by two women or two men marrying each other out of love? That making sure that everyone has health insurance will kill us all, but that guns aren’t dangerous? Or what about the one that rich people are gobbling up all that wealth, because they eventually want to give it all back to you?
Republicans aren’t successful because their “message” is so strong, and they do everything in lockstep. They’re successful because they cheat. We all know this. There’s an example of this in the news currently.
On the website Raw Story, there’s a story about a group of right wing Hollywood celebrities who call themselves Friends of Abe (FOA), who surreptitiously try to funnel money to right wing politicians and right wing political causes. The problem isn’t that they do this; this is America; of course they have a right to to it. But they’ve also been bullying the IRS to give them a tax exemption for doing so. Worse, they’ve been apparently insinuating that they already had the tax exemption, which makes one wonder how many people gave money to the group and subsequently took the tax deduction, based on that false impression. Even worse than that is, it appears as if FOA’s founder, Gary Sinise, may have been (I can’ stress allegedly enough) funneling money for FOA through his Foundation, which was set up to help returning troops (and which does admirable work, to be fair).
For that matter, the entire IRS “scandal” is about making their cheating legal. It’s not LEGAL for groups who are engaged in partisan politicking to get a tax exemption. You can make the case that IRS agents were sloppy in their methods, but Tea Party groups should not be granted tax exempt status based on their political ideology. In fact, they should be denied such an exemption outright, if they’re politicking. Period.
Then, there’s ALEC. If Republican politicians are so incredibly skilled at what they do, then why are people who donate to them even allowed to write legislation, which they dutifully put before state legislatures and pass, by voting as a single bloc? Let’s see… someone gives a politician money, tells him/her what they want done, and the politician does it. Wasn’t that once called bribery? I bet if a slack-jawed mook with a bad haircut and a speech impediment gave John Boehner $100,000 and asked the Speaker to pass a specific law, and Boehner did, they’d be carting him off to jail. But if ExxonMobil “donates” the same amount to his favorite PAC, who gives the money to him, then hands him an ALEC-written bill to pass, he’s considered a political genius. What’s the difference, really?
The GOP’s embrace of Citizens United is another example of their penchant for cheating. There is no way that decision is not bad law. It’s very bad law, in fact. Even if you believe that donating money to politicians is “speech,” and there is a case to be made for that, there is also a case for donation limits. It’s for the same reason I can’t stand and scream about politics in front of your house at 3 a.m. Just as free speech doesn’t include making threats against people, the freedom to donate to a candidate or cause doesn’t mean that said freedom is unlimited, and that bribery is good for the system.
They even cheat when it comes to democracy. The most obvious way they do it is by creating barriers to voting, but they’re limited with that strategy. No, I’m talking about their overall strategy, which is to depress voter turnout. They say and do the most outrageous things possible, because their goal is to make people think the system is broken, or that the act of voting is a complete waste of time. They don’t sell themselves and their policies, they sell gloom and doom and hopelessness. And that’s not what our system is about. While it’s not the type of “cheating” that will result in an orange jumpsuit and a frog march, it’s still cheating. I get that they’re a political minority, and feel that they have to gain an advantage, but encouraging people to not show up and vote is wrong, no matter what the rationale behind it.
Now, if the Republican Party is so great at politics, and their “message” is so awesome, then explain why the only way they can be successful is to cheat the system?