Friday, May 1, 2009

GOP Declares Bankruptcy

Taking a cue from the auto industry….

Apparently two electoral losses and plunging poll numbers finally got through to some of the the leadership of the Republican Party.

Looking to rebrand a struggling Republican Party, a group of party heavyweights including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) are launching a new group that will hold town halls around the country and look to produce GOP ideas on issues like education and health care.

Republicans will announce today the creation of the “National Council for a New America,” a group led by congressional party leaders that includes Bush, McCain, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as its “national panel of experts.”

Bush and McCain? This is about the same as Chrysler announcing during its bankruptcy proceedings that it will bring back the DeSoto and Plymouth brands in order to revitalize the company. But they say they’re willing to swallow their pride and beg the public for guidance.

In a letter announcing the formation of the NCNA, the group’s leaders explain, “We do this not just to offer an alternative point of view or to be disagreeable. Instead, we want to ask the American people what their hopes and dreams are. Since January, the President and the Democratic Majority in Congress have — rightfully so — put forward their plan for the future, now we must listen, learn and lead through an honest, open conversation with the American people that will result in building policy proposals that will yield the best results for our nation’s long-term success.”

That’s a really diplomatic way of saying “We know we screwed up and pissed off a lot of independents” (vide the “disagreeable” reference) and they are so fresh out of ideas that they feel the need to ask the public what they should do. Well, you have to give them credit for trying.

But not everyone is on board with calling it “rebranding.” The current GOP hottie, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) says it’s not: “[I]t’s not a rebranding effort. What this is, is an attempt to engage and begin a conversation with the American people.” As opposed to being yelled at and intimidated by Rush Limbaugh and Karl Rove?

The NCNA laid out its five-point plan:

Economy: Real Solutions for Economic Recovery: As the country battles through the worst economic crisis in a generation, we must remain focused on the foundations and institutions that have made us the most prosperous people in the world and the ideas that create jobs and grow our economy….

Healthcare: Building a 21st Century, Patient-Centered System: …All Americans deserve access to high-quality, affordable care. But such coverage cannot come at the expense of their ability to choose their own doctor and have access to the right care, at the right time, in the right setting without waiting in line while sick….

Education: Preparing Our Children to Succeed: A high-quality education should not be dependent upon a parent’s income or address…. We must return power from Washington to parents and well-paid teachers who know what’s best for our children.

Energy: Solutions for Energy Independence: …We must implement a comprehensive energy policy that includes traditional fuels, alternative energy, and conservation resulting in affordable, reliable domestic energy….

National Security: Defending American Liberty and Freedom: The threats posed to our nation are more varied and evolving more than perhaps at any other time in our history. Modern communications, technology and the proliferation of weapons of all types have empowered our enemies and those who support them….

Well, maybe Mr. Cantor is right; it’s not rebranding because that sounds like the same old platform the GOP has been pushing for a while now. But notice what’s missing: no talk about abortion, gay marriage, prayer in school, flag-burning, and “traditional family values.” That will not sit well with the Ignorant Tightass wing of the party like Mike Huckabee, Gary Bauer, Phyllis Schlafly, and James Dobson, but maybe the NCNA figures that they’re on the losing end of those issues anyway.

These folks have their work cut out for them. House Minority Leader John Boehner and his pals have come up with new freak-out video that aims to scare the crap out of Americans.

House Republicans want to know: Do you feel safer?

In a remarkable video just released by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and ranking intelligence committee member Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), images of Obama “bowing” to Saudi officials and shaking hands with Hugo Chavez are interspersed with footage of the Pentagon exploding and terrorists doing bad things. All of it is back-dropped by frightening music.

“What is the overarching strategy?” Boehner asked when questioned about the video. “I’m trying to push the administration to describe what their overarching strategy is.”

I guess this is what they meant by the “disagreeable” line that they need to work on.

The difference between Chrysler and the GOP is that Chrysler is worth saving.