Today, Easter Sunday, is the day when many around the world celebrate resurrection, the miraculous return to life of Jesus Christ. Whether or not one is a believer, the story is interesting and presents many lessons from which we can learn about the power of change and belief. Like many people, I enjoy finding a lesson in stories; learning from events in others’ lives fosters growth and development. Being the political sort, I apply lessons to many of the news events of the day — and the thought of an attempt at resurrection crosses my mind whenever the Republican Party comes to mind.
During the speech given by Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, at which time he presented the findings gathered in their “autopsy” report, the chairman noted that if the party wants to return to its former glory significant efforts must be made at outreach towards those who didn’t support the GOP during the most recent election. That’s nice, but if the party seeks to resurrect itself from the pile of ashes it has become, their words and deeds must match in order to be seen as believable — and the GOP has a credibility problem.
The lack of credibility is directly proportional to how busy the Republican party has been at doing the opposite of what they assert is necessary to increase their popularity with voters who feel no connection to, or rejected by, the party. The party intends to spend $10 million to bring their new message of inclusion to women and minorities but across many states the GOP has been making strides towards:
- Ending women’s right to choose, imposing harsh restrictions and limiting access to pregnancy termination. Remember when Governor Tom Corbett told Pennsylvania’s women that they need not about undergoing mandatory, invasive ultrasounds because they could “just shut [their] eyes” to cope? Virginia’s newly-enacted restrictions on abortion have spawned a national assault on women’s right to make decisions about her own life, and North Dakota’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a “personhood” amendment, effectively banning all abortions in the state.
- Union busting. Remember Wisconsin’s push to strip away labour unions’ rights and even target private sector unions?
- Further destroying the environment.
- Restricting voting rights. See, Pennsylvania for electoral vote-rigging.
- Further giving away huge tax breaks to big corporations and the wealthy. While rejected by the Senate, the House of Representatives voted in favour of Paul Ryan’s draconian budget.
When Republican state legislatures become the stomping grounds of right-wing extremism how is anyone supposed to believe that the party wants to become the ‘new and improved’ GOP?
Then there was the recent interview during which a high-level, 21-term GOP Representative, Don Young of Alaska, used the slur “wetback” to refer to Latinos but, since he meant it in the nicest way possible, we should all just move on.
The bottom line is that given their words and deeds don’t match, a resurrection of the party as it currently stands is out of order. The electorate, at this point, no longer needs to focus on words but, rather, these important numbers:
- 2014: The next big election
- 21 Democratic Senate seats up for election
- 6 Republican seats are needed to take the Senate over to majority Democrat
When the words and deeds finally match, the credibility problem will be resolved — and the resurrection of a real ‘grand party’ can finally begin.