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December 27, 2011

Weary, Wary GOP Faces New Year’s Uncertainty

Roy Meachum

Mumbles remain, but they are no comfort to the Republican faithful.


The Tea Party’s grand gesture to smash millions’ hopes for Christmas spirit failed. In the same gasp, former Speaker of The House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, failed to obtain the required signatures and therefore was rejected for the Virginia GOP primaries. Moreover, while candidate Mitt Romney gained President George H. W. Bush’s major endorsement, national surveys show hard-core Republicans still can’t support the Mormon former governor of Massachusetts.


In the face of this backlash in what was conceded last holiday season as a sure-thing to make changes in the White House, Barack Obama’s favorable curve turned up – only slightly. Meanwhile, public opinion toward the GOP-dominated Congress is “low enough that it can’t reach the belly of a snake” – as a priest on a retreat preached to Holy Cross College, when I was there.


Drowned in the spotlight is current Speaker John Boehner (R., OH). He made a flagrant defense of no-cut for the average taxpayer one week ago. The public shouted he was wrong. Going into the Christmas weekend, he ate not turkey but rancid crow, forced to back down rather than the probable prospect of Democrats retaking the Congress and maybe retaining the Oval Office.


Republicans’ distaste for Mr. Romney manifested itself with what Sarah Palin characterized as “flavor of the week.” In that reference, she was describing Herman Cain, who temporarily took over the primaries’ top spot. He slipped out of contention because of several alleged sex scandals. I was wrong when I said Mr. Cain would receive the Tea Party presidential nomination. He’s simply disappeared from the national picture.


With the Godfather Pizza founder gone, Mr. Gingrich swaggered onto the scene; he’d been there before, most notably when his campaign staff resigned en masse. Republicans re-invented the former speaker simply because they possess little taste for the Mormon. As his past more than proved, Mr. Gingrich cannot resist a speaking trap. His comment on the Palestinians missing from history furnishes an example; furthermore he presents himself as a knowledgeable expert on the very same subject.


In addition, recent surveys in Virginia indicate that against any GOP presidential wannabe Mr. Obama might win, not handily, to be sure. But despite having a state bathed in red, this Democratic president could triumph by several points. The only answer I come up with is the Republican performance in Congress.


Despite House-leader Boehner backing down on the issue, taxpayers don’t seem to approve of the GOP policy of backing the very rich in hope that they will jack up employment. The super wealthy provides the money to finance lobbying and for campaigns but they shy fault of the numbers needed to win political office.


The year 2012 does not shape up as 2008 or 2010. No party can claim the formula to restore America’s prosperity. Both have tried and slipped on the political banana; they each received another pie in their faces thrown by the public. Occupy Wall Street should not be taken as a Democratic effort but more general malcontent with the state of the union.


Republicans might still find a recipe for success. But the events in the holiday season caution they have a long and arduous way to go.


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