At this point some very influential Republican politicians are one step ahead of American evangelical Christians, in that they realize that their ship is sinking and it will take more than changing deck chairs if they want to get off the Titanic that is heading for the iceberg. It was no less than Karl Rove yesterday and congressman Eric Cantor (R-VA) who have sounded a call to regroup the "common-sense conservative candidates" and jettison the kooks who cost them the last election.
How they are going to do this, I am not sure. But it seems that Rove, who put together the unholy coalition of the GOP, the Moral Majority and the Tea Party, is now asking himself what hath God wrought. And it seems even to him that the situation--with which God had nothing to do--is clear enough: it's time for the GOP to get a bigger umbrella.
This has not yet occurred to the evangelical American church. Every few years they get another report from the Barna Group telling them that the evangelical Church is withering away and dying, and they double down with their attempts to intimidate people into joining or staying. But you can't help noticing the similarity between the reasonable branch of the GOP and the inauguration address of President Barack Obama, although I suppose they wouldn't dream of acknowledging it.
Cantor made a speech today, following on Rove's call to reason yesterday, in which he affirmed some "conservative principles" that he will stand behind. There is just one problem, though, and it is that the real conservatives like Cantor don't believe any such thing.
The Republicans have been reconsidering their messaging, which is a code way of saying that they have decided that they need to put some lipstick on their pig. Cantor has a brand-new color that he wants to try. However, you need not be alarmed because I am doing to decode his message of today. Cantor professes faith in these enduring tenets of conservatism, but here is what he isn't telling you in his speeches:
Faith in the individual. Goodness gracious, does that mean that Republicans are going to have some sort of faith in women? Could it be that women will have some say in the uses of their own bodies? Silly me--of course not. The Republican Party platform states unequivocally that their goal is to prohibit abortion for every woman in America, no matter what the circumstances. So you can be assured that if you are female, they have no faith--no respect even--in your intelligence, and no regard for your wishes. Your body is the property of Republican men, and not even your husband is allowed to intervene.
Self-reliance. Of course this doesn't mean that the richest corporations in America are going to have to be a bit more self-reliant. You weren't thinking that the GOP is rethinking the tax breaks, were you? And as for paying their share after years of mind-numbing profits, don't you go thinking for one moment that corporations will ever be expected to put a few coins in the revenue basket. The Koch Brothers wouldn't like that at all.
Accountability in government. Oh, I love the sound of that. I wouldn't love it as much, though, if I were an active teacher instead of a retired teacher. Are we going to ask for the restoration of all the fired teachers, firefighters, nurses, police officers and school aides--the ones that Republican talking heads have been referring to as "thugs?" You might as well know right now that Republicans will continue to turn a deaf ear to those requests. Look at it the way the Congress does: the corporations give and the Republicans take away. Senators and representatives who were bought and paid for are not "accountable" to anyone except the people who bought them. Sitting on gun control for a generation is not their problem--they do as they are told and the body count has no significance. They know who holds them accountable, and it isn't you and me.
Trust in the family. Oh, let's define that before we can talk about it. It seems to me that trusting in the institution of family life includes protection from the financial disaster of former President George W. Bush, or maybe by this time at least a few indictments of those who were responsible for thousands of American families who lost their homes? But seriously, I think that this catch phrase has no meaning. Who is against trusting the family? And what respect or trust can the alternative family expect from the GOP, that keeps people who love each other from getting married?
Limited government. That's a cruel joke coming from Republicans who want to put a trans-vaginal probe into the body of a woman who wants to have a legal medical procedure that is protected by the Supreme Court. Legalized object rape--that is limited government. The legal manipulation to close women's health-care clinics, that is limited government. Legal discrimination against and persecution of the LGBT community--that is limited government. But keep your taxation away from rich corporations!
Just like evangelical Christians, who limit God's love to their own kind and color, the conservative movement cannot live with the items that I complain about. The far-right minority has a death grip on the Republican Party and what we see in the Cantor speech today is an alarm bell that will be heard by the far-right Republicans. And they have already begun speaking up.
The far-right wing of the GOP, including the Tea Party, have voiced disapproval of the Rove statement asking that fringe candidates be eliminated from primary elections. Some very "winnable" races were lost last year, including perhaps the Presidency, because of stupid comments about rape and women's bodies--not to mention immigration and voter suppression--which have not gone away, regardless of talking-point emails from the GOP headquarters. So they have moved one step closer to an open break.
I wrote last month that it looks seriously like there will be a fracture in the GOP, as people like Rove and Cantor start moving to the center and the lunatic fringe refuses to budge. My prediction remains as hopeful as ever, in that I do want the fringe to take a hike so that we will have a real Republican Party again. That is good for American politics.
Meanwhile, last night I went to a political meeting in Tucson. An Arizona progressive Democrat is on a "listening tour" of our state and he is assessing a run for Governor to oust our present ego-maniac Jan Brewer, who is now talking about serving a third term because she is having so much fun sitting on Latino Arizonans and giving tax breaks to her friends. If you live in Arizona, this is all I can say right now but I will say it: help is on the way.