I don't begin to have a clue what the Republicans are doing. If it's any solace, apparently neither do they.
Conservatives are not merely the Republican "base," they've become the party. So, when CPAC met for the big conservative gathering last week, it was significant. It was to show America the foundation from which the Republican Party will attempt to rebuild itself, after getting crushed in the last two national elections, and losing the White House.
It turns out that the foundation is papier-mâché.
With the nation's economy in freefall and two wars being fought, how did the conservatives at CPAC make their case for having substance and depth?
Their keynote speaker was a radio host. "Joe the Plumber" headed a panel. And they had a 13-year-old child deliver a policy address.
Ladies and gentlemen, meet the new face of the Republican Party. Who the GOP hopes to convince America will lead the nation out of its George Bush-created collapse.
Mind you, I understand that Rush Limbaugh is popular with his broadcast audience. But, geez, folks, so is Keith Olbermann. Just imagine if a floundering Democratic Party brought in Randi Rhodes to lead them. But it's worse than that. Rush Limbaugh's fire-breathing bombast is what helped Republicans lose their last two national elections! Why in heaven's name would a political party still want to listen to his advice??? It's like a favorite bus driver taking you over the cliff, and then asking him to drive you out after the crash bursts into flames. Forget directions, the bus is destroyed.
Rush Limbaugh hates everything President Barack Obama stands for. We get it. Fine. But it's Republicans following that very hatred that helped get Barack Obama to be president!! And Republicans now make the conscious choice to have Mr. Limbaugh be their CPAC voice, their keynote, their standard bearer?? This is the political equivalent of pinning a "Kick me" sign on your own butt.
Yet even that doesn't explain having Joe Wurzelbacher at CPAC. "Joe the Plumber" shouldn't have been anywhere near the convention - unless it was to fix leaking toilets. And even then it would be a bad idea, since he isn't licensed. From every public word he has spoken since elbowing into our accidental public consciousness, there is nothing about "Joe the Plumber" that is not pitiful and buffoonish - including that he's known to his admirers as "Joe the Plumber." America is facing its worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. You don't bring in clowns to lead policy. That conservatives think it's a good thing to be associated with Joe Wurzelbacher about anything speaks volumes about their grasping emptiness.
The only thing that might speak louder is having 13-year-old Jonathan Krohn address the convention. Mind you, they didn't invite this preadolescent to preen adorably about the future when he's all grown up - he was there to lecture on party strategy! "Conservative Victories Across the Nation." Who cares that three years ago he was named "Atlanta's Most Talented Child"? The operative word in that title is "Child."
(By the way, know how he got that exciting "title"? He was dubbed it by Deborah Norville on TV's "Inside Edition." No, honest.)
Now, young master Krohn might be extremely bright for a 13-year-old kid. But the point is, if you're trying to convince America that your party's discredited philosophy should be given another chance, is that really what you want to put forward? This is a time when Republicans should be listening to party leaders with the historical stature of Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, Nelson Rockefeller, Jacob Javits, even Ronald Reagan. Not any 13-year-old kid. The problem is that there aren't Republican leaders like that these days. So, the GOP is stuck with Rush Limbaugh, "Joe the Plumber" and a 13-year-old.
"We have to return to conservative values" is what these crack experts keep insisting. Sorry, but if Republicans couldn't handle the concept of being themselves for the past eight years they were in power, why should anyone think that six weeks out of power would make a difference? But far more to the point -- conservative values are cutting taxes and individual liberties without government control. That is how Republicans have been acting for the past eight years. There's nothing to "return" to. And...these conservative values are precisely what has gotten us into the mess we're in. I can understand a 13-year-old not grasping that, or "Joe the Plumber," but these other leading Republican voices know. And you know they know.
They know that conservative values have failed America. That's why at CPAC, Rush Limbaugh once more explained how he hopes the President of the United States fails. It's the only flop trick he has left.
Just imagine if a Democrat said this about any president.
But the thing is, in the end, as much as Rush Limbaugh and Republicans think it's a winning strategy to copy how Democrats ran against George Bush, it shows the mindless futility of their papier-mâché GOP foundation.
George Bush had a 23-percent approval rating. Barack Obama is at 67-percent. George Bush was tarnished with the Iraq War, collapsing economy, Hurricane Katrina, failing education, global warming, and so much more. Barack Obama was just elected in an Electoral landslide.
Yet Republicans want to keep running against the man they just lost to. Want to return to the values they never left which got them voted out of office. And want to push forth as their public faces of leadership a radio host, "Joe the Plumber" and a 13-year-old child.
It's pathetic. But then, it's that attitude when in power which got us in this mess in the first place.