The same old story from the Lincoln Party

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By Wendy Binnie

What do you call a political party that’s out of touch, doesn’t know it, has no leaders and wants to take the bat and ball and go home if you don’t play their game?

The Party of Lincoln is immersed in its own Civil War. The Republicans have been whining so much on so many issues that people have stopped listening. It’s the same old story over and over again.

They can’t seem to deal with the fact that Obama is putting together workable, imaginative programs in every area where they could have made a difference over eight years and didn’t. And instead of hanging their heads and hiding, they are making absolute fools of themselves.

If anyone should hate the previous administration, it should be them. It fouled the water so badly in every area from the handling of Katrina through the War in Iraq that the entire party has been tainted by association and failure to rise above ignorance, arrogance and cowboy approaches that may have worked against the Indians when we stole their homes and then convinced them we were doing them a favor, but it sure as hell doesn’t work now. Among the first to jump ship?

The Yankee Brahmins from whom you don’t seem to hear anything these days. Maybe they are waiting for the dust to clear or Obama to make a mistake. Those on the fringe of the party and the moderates might try to reassemble it from disparate pieces still left in limbo. Meanwhile, we keep seeing budgets without numbers and are not impressed.

It is true that being inside the Beltway is totally unlike anything else and perhaps they could be excused for living in a ‘closed’ community.

But viewed from another perspective, they have the technology and the means to seek out the truth. They can instant-message with friends and colleagues; they can Twitter their fans; they can get on the air at a moment’s notice. In fact, there are more options open to any politician today than ever were available to their predecessors. Today, information moves (almost) at the speed of sound.

With all of these advantages, advisers, counselors and the like, one wonders how the members of this party could have blown it so badly. Consequently now, after weeks of indecision, they have come to the conclusion that perhaps they didn’t listen enough. As a result, they are now touring the country, all of the old faces and a few new ones, whose main strength seems to be in regurgitating the past rather than adding anything new to the equation. Evidence of this is that of them all, the one who most people relate to best, the ‘Great Communicator’ Ronald Reagan, served nearly 30 years ago. Isn’t it time to move on?

But the truth is that the Republicans who are left in the party, the residue of those who accepted the notion that ‘you are either with us or against us,’ have a particular mindset that seems to exclude fresh thoughts from colliding with the detritus of too many years of conservative belief that if you are not a Conservative, there is something wrong with you. There is only one problem with that idea. It doesn’t take into consideration the notion of change.

Change has been upon us with the collapse of the banks, insurance companies and most of America’s economy, all under arguably what has been the most smug, self-centered, self aggrandizing administration ever. Through all this, they did not change their ideas one iota in their Hoover-like embrace of the status quo. It was not only embarrassing to see, it was a barometer that they were locked into the past and could not change if they wanted to, they were and are the dinosaurs who cannot adjust to a changing cli-mate. Even their quasi- spokesman Rush said that they should not have to go around to learn but to educate. What does he care? He has a $400 million contract for life; and the republicans have to worry about staying in office beginning next year.

Joe Scarborough, a moderator and former Republican congressman from Florida, said that they have to learn not to scare little kids. The two moderates remaining in the republican camp probably said it best that the Republican party has to be perceived as welcoming to diverse points of view and not demand that any candidate hew to the entire Republican plank. As of now, their perspective, despite the loss of a prominent moderate representative, has not shown evidence of compromise or moderation. And so they’ll likely thrash about, blaming everyone else for what has happened to them, never realizing that they have a blind spot for what’s needed to be done to resurrect a party speeding on its way to obloquy and obsolescence. And that is too bad. Our country needs a two/here party system. What happened 01/20/09? Oh, the Republicans stopped blaming Clinton for eight years of failure and now blame Obama.

As I was saying . . . 

Wendy England Binnie a novelist and op/ed columnist lives in Oak Trace Villas.