National Commentary

Nicholas F. Benton: Can the GOP Re-Brand?

A growing, concerted effort from within high-level party ranks to oust the arch conservative chairman of the Virginia GOP is evidence of what promises to be an unsavory spectacle akin to watching a snake wriggle its way out of an old, dead skin.

There’s a lot of violent thrashing about when that happens, and always there’s the chance it won’t succeed. At least during such times, the snake is particularly helpless in the event a predator is in the neighborhood.

Of course, America’s kid gloves media is reporting this process in the most dignified, well-spun terms, as defined by the GOP, as a civilized difference between Republican loyalists who disagree mostly on tactics, not real substance.

But it’s far less pleasant, in reality, and is actually a struggle between those in the party willing to admit that they, and all they’ve espoused, have been crushed beneath the powerful, steely heels of their adversaries, and those who are too dumb or blocked to admit it.

It’s like the fights that tend to break out more in the locker rooms of the vanquished than those of victors in the world of sport.

In reality, it’s not the tactics – returning to a “bigger tent” approach or toning down the social values part of their platform – but the core values of the GOP, that which almost all Republicans continue to espouse, that have been dealt a decisive death-blow with last November’s election.

The GOP and its admirers in high places have been “outed” for engaging in the most devious, duplicitous, self-serving greed and excess over the course of this decade in the history of the U.S. It will be compared by future generations to the wanton excesses of the latter days of the Roman Empire. The AIG scandal, including that of securing enormous personal gain at public expense, being brought into full public view at Congressional hearings this week, is only one example.

AIG execs, quizzically hunching their shoulders, holding their hands up and asking, “Whaaat,” clearly felt taking their million-dollar bonuses from American taxpayers was simply playing by the rules of the game everyone has bought into.

All of this sheer immorality has been uncovered as perpetrated by those very ones overseeing and greasing the hands of the organized machines and mouthpieces who’ve gained their political advantage with angry tirades and mobilizations against the alleged immorality and “godlessness” of homosexual and abortion rights.

So, on a number of counts, these types are at the end of their ropes (with countless Americans hoping the ropes are dangling from trees and include loops hooked around their necks). The only lasting legacies of their contributions will be potentially the worst global economic blow-out in history, factors such as war, the environment, poverty and unattended pestilence bringing the species to the brink of extinction, and their own ignominious and lasting defeat.

No wonder some of them want to “re-brand” the GOP image.

But the question is whether they’ve learned anything out of all this that will reach down to whatever depths are necessary to touch and recast their souls.

On the surface, all their beloved social issues are cooked, and not only because most Americans, in the face of the current economy, just don’t care about them anymore. The Supreme Court, with President Obama in a position to shape its future, will not overturn Roe V. Wade. Likewise, the Supreme Court, when asked, will reiterate its groundbreaking 2003 decision in Lawrence V. Texas, establishing that when it comes to homosexuality, the state cannot discriminate against any “class of persons.”

The California Supreme Court may overturn the regrettable Proposition 8 on those grounds, and if not it, then the U.S. Supreme Court will, and the more enlightened among the GOP strategists know it.

But whether any of them have a “road to Damascus” experience, or simply try more devious methods to retrench, will determine whether the GOP can be revived, or not. If they simply show up at the dance in a new costume, they’ll quickly find that no one is in the mood to be fooled again.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*