Often, when someone does something really stupid in public, decent people will look away. Decent people do not ordinarily want to add to the embarrassment of the unfortunate person who has done the painfully stupid thing.
However, in the case of the National Republican Party, it is almost impossible to look away. Their incredibly stupid behavior is so frequent, so pronounced, so public one wonders how any person with any self-respect can continue to claim to be a Republican.
At the recent Winter Meeting of the Republican National Committee, they let Governor Bobby Jindal have the microphone.
Jindal said: “We must stop being the stupid party.”
Stupid is defined as 'lacking intelligence or common sense."
Is it even possible for the Republicans to stop being the party of stupid? A look at their recent history would suggest not.
The Republicans got behind a candidate for President who could not understand that the first rule of being a candidate is to get the voters to like you. The Republicans supported -- then ran away from, then supported -- Todd “Legitimate Rape” Akin of Missouri. They put forth Republican Richard Mourdock of Indiana who managed to say (publicly!) that God intends for rape to happen.
Then, former bright light of the Republican Party, Marco Rubio, denies science when asked a 6th grade question about the age of the earth.
Surely, there is much stupid to overcome here.
After Obama’s second inaugural address, Speaker of the House John Boehner complained that the President is out to "annihilate the Republican Party." The Speaker must have forgotten about Mitch McConnell’s pledge to make Obama a one term President.
At the RNC meeting, Jindal could have gone on to say that the Republican Party also has to stop being the willing handmaiden of fringe groups who hold extremist views on social issues which Republicans are bullied into supporting even if those views are unpopular with the very voters the Republicans need in order to win a national office.
The National Rifle Association heads this list closely followed by Grover “No, they didn’t vote for a tax hike” Norquist. (The Tea Party is all but defunct and Sarah Palin is no longer a Fox News Contributor).
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the N.R.A. spent almost $19 million in the last federal election cycle. This money was used to attack Democrats but it was also used to attack Republicans who dared to stray from the NRA position that all gun regulations are the work of the devil.
Other groups who oppose gay marriage, abortion, stem cell research, acceptance of mankind’s role in climate change and science deniers of all stripes, among other issues, are endowed by billionaire supporters. These groups are more radical than the population as a whole. Their money, given the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, allows them unlimited impact on the stupid party.
As if to prove they completely failed to grasp reality of the 2012 elections, Jindal’s message and Boehner's fears, the Republican National Committee re-elected Reince Priebus as chairman.
The Republicans seem to think that the guy who was at the head of the disastrous Republican showing in the 2012 election can put on a new suit and suddenly read the changed demographics of the nation; shake off the collective choke-hold of the NRA, Norquist, and the radical and religious right; design a campaign that doesn’t exclude 47% of the voters; and refocus the Republican Party on its traditional message of growth instead of Mitch McConnell’s message of obstructionism.
Chalk up one more stupid for the Republican Party.