The Republican Party is seriously f*cked up

Yesterday, Mitt Romney yielded to inevitable defeat and suspended his campaign to become the Republican nominee for President.

I watched the video, and I must say:  it was downright sickening. This is such a phony pretext for dropping out of the race:

Frankly, in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.

What does he mean? That no matter which of the Democratic candidates wins, they both plan to surrender to the terrorists. You didn’t know that? It’s part of the platform — look it up for yourselves. Clinton and Obama intend to go on TV and invite the Taliban to institute sharia law and put all of our women in burkas.

So Romney isn’t quitting because it’s ludicrous to squander your children’s inheritance chasing after a prize you can’t possibly win. No —

If this were only about me, I’d go on. But it’s never been only about me.

— he’s quitting because it’s in the best interests of America. He’s stepping aside to let John McCain begin a national campaign immediately.

The worst Hollywood hack writer could have written a more convincing speech. And the least talented “B” movie actor could have delivered the lines with more faux sincerity. It was a smarmy, gag-inducing performance.

(Check out the first five minutes of Jon Stewart’s show last night. Stewart provides multiple excerpts from Romney’s speech, and responds with all the respect the speech merits.)

The Republican audience at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) groaned as Romney announced his withdrawal from the race. They urged him to “Fight on!” instead.

Indeed, the Republican base continues to believe that Romney is a better choice than John McCain:

Republicans openly denounced [McCain] at the conference of conservatives.

McCain, who spoke to the group a few hours after Romney, tried to overcome their misgivings. Hundreds of McCain supporters cheered, but they failed to entirely drown out pockets of booing.

I’ve already stated my opinion, that John McCain is a worthy candidate for President. It now seems certain that he will win the nomination:  and yet Republican stalwarts were booing him!

The party is seriously f*cked up. And I don’t care — no party has earned ignominious failure more than the Republicans have these past seven years, from Iraq to Katrina, from torture and the suspension of habaeus corpus to the destruction of the domestic economy.

In their ideological, inbred (im)purity, Republicans have lost their minds. McCain gives them a chance to win the presidency. But they would rather cut off their noses to spite their faces — shoot themselves in the foot — eat their own young — boo their presumptive nominee for the presidential campaign.

Go to it, guys. Your corporate personality has been reduced to hatred, loathing, and bitterness. Please, continue turning on one another — some of us are rather enjoying the spectacle.

Proclaim to the strongholds [on the eastern seaboard]
and to the strongholds in the [midwest],
and say, “Assemble yourselves on [Capitol Hill],
and see the great tumults within her,
and the oppressed in her midst.”
“They do not know how to do right,” declares the Lord,
“those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.”

Therefore thus says the Lord God:

“An adversary [the Democrats] shall surround the land
and bring down your defenses from you,
and your strongholds shall be plundered.”

— my paraphrase of Amos 3:9-11.

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. MaryP
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 09:46:15

    Good thing the Taliban eschews TV, huh? They won’t get their invitation…

    Good lord. What self-serving, egotistical tripe. “I’m not dropping out because I’m *losing*, I’m doing it for the Good of America.” The truly shocking thing, though, is that a good chunk of the American pubic swallow it.

    Reply

  2. Random
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 11:19:32

    With all due respect Stephen, but I rather doubt that either you or Jon Stewart were the target audience for Romney’s speech. The consensus amongst those he was addressing is pretty much that it was what he needed to say and what the Republicans needed to hear at this point, and will have done Romney no harm at all in positioning himself for another run in 2012.

    As for “surrender to terror” – correct me if I’m wrong, but haven’t both Clinton and Obama promised that they will order a troop withdrawal from Iraq as one of their first acts on assuming office? If you seriously cannot see how this will be be understood (by both America’s friends and enemies) as “surrendering” to terrorism then I’m not sure I can help you. And please note this is irrelevant to whether or not you believe it was right to invade Iraq in the first place, we have to deal with the situation as it is now not as we would wish it to be.

    As for “The Republican audience at CPAC (the Conservative Political Action Conference) ” and “and yet Republican stalwarts were booing him!” – CPAC is no more part of the Republican Party than the ACLU is part of the Democratic Party (yes, as with the ACLU and the Dems, there is probably a significant overlap of membership and commonality of views, but they are independent organisations and neither is responsible for, or accountable to, the other). In any case this is factually incorrect, McCain was received positively at CPAC and his speech ended with a standing ovation, such booing as there was was confined to a small section of the crowd who did not represent the whole. Read this account from someone who was actually there to see how it really went down with the audience.

    “In their ideological, inbred (im)purity, Republicans have lost their minds. McCain gives them a chance to win the presidency. But they would rather cut off their noses to spite their faces”

    Erm, if this bore even the remotest relation to reality then McCain would not be the effective nominee today. If you want to see real “hatred, loathing, and bitterness” you should be looking at the fratricidal mess the Democratic party is in at the moment. Yes, conservatives distrust McCain, but all but the most fanatical of them realise he is infinitely preferable to Obama or Clinton and as Romney demonstrated by his concession there are simply not enough of those to affect the nomination.

    As for your list of grievances –

    Iraq – fair enough. If you don’t support the war I agree it would be pretty hypocritical to vote Republican.

    Katrina – a Democratic city in a Democratic state gets trashed by a hurricane and somehow it’s all the fault of the Republican federal government (as if George Bush personally prevented Ray Nagel from using those school buses to evacuate his own constituents). Given that afterwards the people of Louisiana went against the national trend by turfing out their Democratic govenor in favour of the Republican candidate however I suspect the people most closely affected have a more realistic understanding of where the blame really lies.

    As for ” torture and the suspension of habaeus corpus “, has there been any stronger and more passionate voice against these abuses than John McCain’s?

    Reply

  3. Jack
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 12:56:58

    I listened to an interview with Joe Torre in which he said that he thinks that society is moving to a place where we spend more time assigning blame than trying to fix problems.

    That made me kind of sad because I couldn’t totally disagree with him. There is far too much talk about who broke things and less about how to fix them.

    I am not accusing you of that in your post, just commenting upon it.

    Reply

  4. dan
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 15:00:35

    You know, Stephen, as much as I’d like your paraphrase of Amos to be correct, I have a terrible suspicion that the Republicans could pull off another win. Remember last election, and how sure everybody was that the Democrats were going to win? Really, I’m just not convinced that the US is ready to elect anybody who isn’t a white male. Of course, as with most of my views on politics, I hope I’m wrong.

    Reply

  5. Stephen
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 17:21:58

    • MaryP:
    Good point about the Taliban and TV. And a good point about the gullibility of some Americans, too!

    • Random:
    Please note this is irrelevant to whether or not you believe it was right to invade Iraq in the first place, we have to deal with the situation as it is now not as we would wish it to be.

    What a counsel of despair. Even if Bush shouldn’t have led the USA into Iraq — even if he created a terrorist problem in Iraq where none existed before — that’s the situation as it now is so we can’t turn the page and move on to a new chapter in history.

    It’s like investing in a stock that keeps losing value. We’ve already bought that stock; we can’t sell it and lose our investment; it’s better to buy more of the stock and pray that it suddenly rises in value. That way lies bankruptcy.

    Hence the expression, “counsel of despair”. You would not permit Americans to accept their losses and move on; you insist that they keep on bleeding.

    Those of us who think the war was a mistake in the first place, then monumentally botched to boot, quite reasonably think the best thing to do now is to get out.

    Yes, withdrawing the troops will leave problems in its wake. That does not amount to “surrendering to the terrorists.” It is a matter of trying a different strategy, because the one Bush rammed through was a failure. Don’t tell us we’re stuck with it: those who supported the war in the beginning, and continued to support it through every part of the downward spiral, have zero credibility on this topic.

    As for booing McCain, you might read Marc Ambinder’s post, Why McCain wasn’t booed too loudly.

    • Jack:
    He thinks that society is moving to a place where we spend more time assigning blame than trying to fix problems.

    I agree. And I urge Americans to vote for Barack Obama, who is casting a positive vision for the future instead of playing the blame game, or divide-and-conquer politics as usual.

    • Dan:
    I am convinced that there has been a change in the electorate, and neither the Democratic base nor the Republican base has adjusted to the shift. I think Michael Barone is right:

    For a decade from 1995 to 2005, we operated in a period of trench-warfare politics, with two approximately equal-sized armies waging a culture war in which very small amounts of ground made the difference between victory and defeat. It was pretty clear what the major issues were, what strategies were necessary to win a party’s nomination, how to maximize your side’s turnout on election day (and, increasingly, in early voting).

    But times change. Somewhere between Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and the bombing of the Samarra mosque in February 2006, I believe we entered a period of open-field politics, in which voters and candidates are moving around — a field in which there are no familiar landmarks or new signposts.

    The Democrats may blow a fantastic opportunity by choosing Hillary Clinton as their candidate. Hillary pitches her message to where the voters were in 2005. Barack Obama pitches his message to where the voters are now. But, as I say, the Democratic base hasn’t adjusted yet and they may choose the candidate of the past.

    The Republicans are choosing the right candidate despite themselves (i.e., the booing of McCain, who is actually the most electable candidate in the Republican race).

    You could be right, but not for the reasons you give. I think the USA is ready to elect a black man, if that black man is Barack Obama. But if the Democrats pit Clinton against McCain — the Republicans will continue to hold the White House.

    Reply

  6. McSwain
    Feb 08, 2008 @ 22:03:33

    Yeah, I agree. I’m a Republican, but the party is such a mess that I’m seriously thinking of going Independent. I think your prediction of Obama or McCain is correct. I don’t agree with a lot of Obama’s policy stances–he’s far too liberal for me. However, I think he’s truly a good man. And we need that in the U.S. right now.

    Reply

  7. Random
    Feb 12, 2008 @ 04:17:48

    Thought long and hard about replying to it, as i suspect any discussion of the war is going to be a dialogue of the deaf (as distinct from ones on the elections, which have been quite interesting), but –

    “It’s like investing in a stock that keeps losing value. We’ve already bought that stock; we can’t sell it and lose our investment; it’s better to buy more of the stock and pray that it suddenly rises in value. That way lies bankruptcy.”

    Except that this stock is currently rising in value. Yes, there have been several wasted years but all the evidence is that the Surge is working. Some evidence you probably haven’t heard from the news headlines – security has now improved to the point that the Baghdad-Basra rail line has resumed regular operations for the first time since the invasion, and security in Anbar province – Fallujah, et. al – has now improved to the point that the US military has announced it will be handed over to local control in the spring. Heck, even Al-Qaeda in Iraq is admitting they’re losing.

    “Hence the expression, “counsel of despair”. You would not permit Americans to accept their losses and move on; you insist that they keep on bleeding.”

    Two points. First, as the above shows I’m not despairing (though I was when it looked like Rumsfeld was unfireable). And second – less of the “you” and “they” if you don’t mind. I’m British and we have several thousand troops in Iraq, 174 to date of whom have come home in body bags. We have as much of an interest as the Americans in ensuring this thing ends well.

    Reply

  8. Stephen
    Feb 13, 2008 @ 19:37:37

    Thanks for the comment, Random. I admit, it’s difficult for me to retain my emotional equilibrium when it comes to this topic. After I had posted my previous comment, I decided it wasn’t the best response I could have offered.

    I am aware that in some respects the surge appears to be working; and, in some places, it appears to be working paricularly well. But there are other variables involved, too. For example, Iraqis in some places had largely segregated themselves (under threat of death). Once self-partition had been accomplished, reduced violence was bound to result.

    And of course, political reconciliation — the explicit goal of the surge — was not achieved. There is no prospect of effective self-rule in Iraq any time soon. That’s simultaneously the most compelling reason for staying there and the most compelling reason to get out.

    The angle I should have taken in my first comment is this: do you not understand how much the USA’s military and economic options are limited by the continuing presence in Iraq? That has a negative impact on security which must also be included in your calculation.

    For example, we’ve seen the rogue President of Iran rattle his sabre, and the USA is not in a position to respond militarily even if that was a good idea. The troops are already stretched to their limits, going back for third and fourth tours of duty in Iraq without adequate time off, etc. etc.

    And another very important point: those who support the American presence in Iraq seem to seriously believe that the terrorists constitute a vast threat. But the USA is not in the position of Israel, a small state surrounded by wealthy enemy nations, and constantly attacked by suicide bombers, etc.

    What level of threat does al Qaeda in Iraq actually constitute? I think bin Laden himself pulled off one spectacular, but flukey strike against the USA. Loyal Bushies have been sowing terror among their own countrymen ever since, for political gain. And McCain intends to keep on doing so.

    In other words, I repudiate the core assumption by which you argue for an ongoing presence.

    Reply

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