Chained to a Corpse: The GOP and Why McCain Lost.
Part I: A Fetid Corpse
A German general in World War One once lamented that the alliance with the moribund Austrian-Hungarian Empire, an alliance that was daily diminishing Imperial Germany’s chances at victory, was akin to being chained to a corpse. Of course, since that term was coined, it has been used to describe many situations. At present, it was also fitting description for John McCain’s run for the White House in 2008. Despite the lunacy that Barack Obama represents, and his barely concealed socialistic intentions, as well as his alliances with radicals, John McCain lost the election simply because no matter what he did (or for that matter, what Obama did) the electorate was unwilling to vote for a Republican. Indeed, once the economic crisis struck McCain was doomed because the voters trusted the Democrats more than the Republicans to fix the economy. One wonders how it could have come to this considering that only a few short years ago the GOP was the party of fiscal responsibility, enlarging its majority in the Congress and re-electing President Bush. Of course, the answer to this somewhat ironic turn of events is simple insofar as the Republican Party has become a walking corpse and a victim of its own greed, decadence and hubris.
If the corpse was to have a name it would most certainly be Senator Ted Stevens. Though most would, at first blush, automatically go to George W. Bush, I think that Stevens is a far more apt symbol of the transformation from the party of Reagan to the big-government, big-spending and ethically challenged leviathan that suffered a staggering defeat on November 4th.
Uncle Ted reacts badly to his future in prison.
Stevens, as you may know, has served a staggering 39 years in the Senate and has recently been convicted on seven counts of corruption. Stevens is known for his affinity for pork, including the infamous bridges to nowhere, as well as his total misunderstanding of modern concepts like the internet (which he thought was made up of a series of tubes).
It is men like Ted Stevens that is at the root of the public’s negative perception of the Republican Party. Stevens is a perfect example of the Republican incumbent that has served so long as to be corrupted by the process. He is out of touch, is a fiscal hypocrite (though he has a point about wealth distribution vis-à-vis Alaska and the rest of the Union) and his refusal to resign is indicative of a gross sense of entitlement and terminal hubris. He has betrayed the public’s trust and used and abused his august position making his constituents look like utter fools.
Uncle Ted the REMIX!
Of course, as noted, Stevens is not the sole offender as one could name any number of so-called Republicans who have compromised themselves and the people they were elected to represent. Names like DeLay, Cunningham, as well as everyone involved with the wretched Jim Abramhoff, have sullied the reputation of the GOP to the point that one can argue that the current incarnation of the Party is nothing like the one led by Ronald Reagan or even George H.W. Bush.
Arthur Harris, the commanding officer of Britain’s Bomber Command during World War Two once warned his German adversaries that they would “reap the whirlwind” for their habit of bombing civilian targets. The same could be said for this election year and it remains to be seen if they can dig themselves out of the rubble.
To be continued with Part II: How the GOP can turn defeat into victory in 2010 and 2012.