Monday, March 10, 2014

If Politics Does Not Like Losers....

This morning Senator Mitch McConnell is quoted in the New York Times as saying, "I know this: Politics doesn’t like losers." In that case, why is Mitch McConnell still around? Why is Reince Priebus still around? Why are John McCain, Paul Ryan still around? Why is the entire GOP leadership that failed to win control of the Senate and White House still around?

After the 2012 election cycle, I wrote a piece calling for the losers to get off the stage. What a silly thing to do! After all, this is the GOP we are talking about. The party that talks a good game about personal responsibility, accountability and yet time after time GOP elected officials, political consultants that deliver defeat after defeat stay firmly ensconced in their positions. Personal responsibility only matters to the Republican Party when it is time to attack programs designed to help poor people.

I know that it is fashionable to blame the Tea Party for the GOP recent losses and there is some truth to that. The nomination of Sharon Angle ensured the re-election of Harry Reid. The comments by Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock certainly didn't help. But the so called "establishment" candidates also did not fare any better. Connie Mack IV, Denny Rehberg and Rick Berg also were defeated. The problems the GOP is facing at the ballot box are much greater than the Tea Party.
Watching CPAC this weekend, I was struck just how intellectually bankrupt the conservative movement has become. The policy agenda, rhetoric and strategies are all old and stale. Speaker after speaker still talked about Ronald Reagan. Every Democrat proposal is reflexively labeled as socialist. About the only new talking point was repealing Obamacare. Everything else was a replay of the greatest hits from the 1980s.

If the GOP wants to make a comeback, it needs new policy agenda, new strategies, new talking points and, above all, a new leadership. Or at the very least, Mitch McConnell needs to learn to watch his words. Actually, the less the public sees of him the better. His appearance at CPAC waving a gun was cringe inducing. And now this interview with New York Times which will be a fund raising bonanza for the very groups he wants to defeat.
McConnell did something similar in 2010 when he announced that Republicans top priority was to make Obama a "one term president". Democrats immediately pounced on his statement and used it to successfully portray Republicans as obstructionists. It is absolutely shocking that someone who has been in politics as long as McConnell makes such amateurish mistakes.

But given the GOP’s record, McConnell has nothing to worry about. He can continue to cause more self-inflicted wounds and he will still keep his spot as party leader. Politics might not like losers, but the Republican Party sure seems to love them.