Republicans Eating Their Own, Michigan Edition

Polls show them that social issues don’t work and that the GOP is on the wrong side of nearly every issue with voters, but when the Michigan GOP hires a consultant who tells them that, they stick their fingers in their ears and sing “God Bless the USA,” firing the consultant before the second verse. I’m thinking they don’t care about winning anymore.


Commentary By: Steven Reynolds

In Michigan the Republican Party is just not too swift. Earlier this week they snubbed Governor Jon Huntsman, who was scheduled to speak in Grand Rapids, because he wasn’t conservative enough. Well, I suppose Sarah Palin is always available, if she’s finished solving the political problems of all the stillborn citizens in Alaska. Oh, the GOP in Michigan is so screwed that they hired a consultant to report on how to solve the political problem they have, of losing not just the Governor’s office or the registration advantage to Dems, but the State House and virtually every other meaningful political measure. So they hired Dennis Darnoi, long a Michigan strategist, to give them pointers. Then they fired him because he didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. From Susan J. Dimas at Huffpo:

The message of tax cuts and social issues isn’t resonating anymore with voters, who have fled the party in droves, especially in big swing counties like Oakland and Kent. Demographics aren’t in Republicans’ favor in Michigan or nationally, with the fast-growing groups of Asians, Hispanics and young people all voting Democratic by scary margins.

So what’s the solution? Darnoi didn’t suggest anything radical like bowing at Obama’s feet and hoisting the Communist flag. No, he said Republicans should run on accountability and transparency while big government is OK with voters, as a recent Gallup/USA Today poll shows. He notes that moderate GOP candidates have enjoyed some success even in areas where the president won handily, like Kalamazoo.

He also believes that the GOP needs an image makeover, stat, as it’s perceived as wanting gays to stay in the closet and being on the wrong side of environmental regulations and alternative energy.

No kidding. The overarching view of Democrats used to be that they were limp-wristed, liberal weenies. But the ’80s and ’90s are over. What Republicans fail to realize is that their party is now tagged as being one of mean, bigoted blowhards. Of course, many are too busy self-medicating with the primal screams of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck to notice that the ground has shifted beneath them.

The story here is that the Republicans in Michigan think they ought to recruit candidates who are even more extremist than before. A common sense guy like Darnoi had no chance with these folks. He’s not extremist enough.

It’s not the social issues, stupid. Of course, we could shout that loudly to the Republicans in Michiagan and the still wouldn’t dent their psyches. These people are evidently stupid. I guess they think if they can slam gays hard enough even more extremists Christians will vote. Two problems with that. Fewer people are identifying themselves as either fundamentalist or evangelical Christians, for one. Perhaps more significantly, Obama is winning the whole lot of the demographic groups when it comes to religion, Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Agnostic, Athiest, etc. They get a consultant who tells them to ease off the social issues and they kick him out, exactly the wrong strategic move. Hey, the heartland of Iowa also needs to give up on the social issues, according to a poll commisioned by the GOP, and I’m betting they ignore the results and try to gain seats by slamming the gays again.

I think we’ll see more of this myopia on the part of Republicans for some time. It is an extension of what Richard wrote about the other day, that nationally the Republicans are seeing themselves in worse shape than in years. The GOP brand is completely broken now, far worse than when Goldwater screwed up so badly. There’s hardly a Republican out there who doesn’t owe his job to a dwindling and extremist power base, with the rest of the country considering them hateful, incompetent and simply wrong on everything. I’m thinking this is a fine situation for Democrats to be in.

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009 by Steven Reynolds |

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