Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Does GOP wish Sarah and 'Joe' would go away?


By PAT MURPHY

Let me guess. Republican elders are having painful second thoughts about their gushing adulation for the political moxie of Sarah Palin and "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher.

Inanities pouring out of their mouths are gradually increasing chances both have zero futures as national figures.

How lucky for Americans that John McCain wasn't elected president. He wanted Sarah a heartbeat away from the presidency. And he lionized 'Joe' with such enthusiasm the unemployed plumber probably would've had a presidential appointment in a McCain White House.

Palin's stature as "a remarkable person" (McCain's words) shrunk last week when she whined, like a juvenile dropped from the cheerleading squad, that McCain's handlers thoughtlessly threw her into that disastrous Katie Couric CBS interview revealing her as unread and unprepared. She whined that "Saturday Night Live" comedienne Tina Fey "exploited" her. And after promoting her lifestyle as an ordinary hockey mom with a yen for moose burgers and consignment store clothes, she whined that she's regarded differently than presidential daughter Caroline Kennedy because of "social class." Oh?

As for 'Joe," while in Israel "reporting" for an Internet blog, he made an incredibly rambling, surreal statement, declaring that wars of all types are too serious a business for news reporters to be reporting (!).

Imagine these two tackling the nation's crises.

Introspective leaders in the GOP admit the party is in chaotic disarray. When candidates for Republican National Committee chair were asked for their political idol, Ronald Reagan was the unanimous pick. President Abraham Lincoln wasn't good enough, nor was Barry Goldwater, acknowledged founder of the modern conservative movement.

However, the "Great Communicator" Reagan is a problematic icon, now that a black president is about to be inaugurated. In addition to the national debt soaring during the Reagan years, his name is still dogged by insinuations of racism: Reagan gave a major political speech in Philadelphia, Miss., where three civil rights workers were murdered, and he lobbied (unsuccessfully) for a special tax exemption for all-white Bob Jones University.

The national GOP suffers problems of deeply imbedded cultural temperament. It relies on dirty tricks and hateful slurs dreamed up by strategists filled with resentment. Democrats are considered un-American. Hypocrisy is useful, such as justifying a trillion dollar war but criticizing a Democratic stimulus plan as excessive. Threats of war trump diplomacy. Congress should be ignored.

The stately tone being set by Barack Obama is bound to put an end to the high-flown dreams of Sarah and 'Joe" to become movers and shakers in the Republican Party with their uncommonly shallow aptitude.




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