Last month at this time, I wrote a post asking a simple question: NOW do you think there’s no difference between the parties? A few comments were made along the usual whines from the purity brigade, pouting that there “really wasn’t any difference.” In the month since then, the Republicans seem to have taken the … opportunity … to drastically highlight differences, and not in the way that many “establishment Republicans” wanted the party to.
You see, the “establishment Republicans” wanted this election to be about the economy, jobs, the size of government, and of course, the national debt. Which was what the Tea Party supposedly was all about back in 2010. Notably, they mostly ignored that once they got into office and tried to pass an entirely different agenda. Which ended up being painted as “cut taxes for the rich, do away with Social Security and Medicare, and oh yeah, while we’re at it, let’s screw over the poor.”
The problem for the establishment Republicans was that many of their own state legislators, along with presidential candidates didn’t get the message. Instead, they’ve decided to start enacting what, by any standard, is a “conservative Christian legislation.” Mostly aimed against women. For a group of people who scream in terror about “sharia law,” they seem to be bound and determined to implement it, just in the Christian version. No, seriously, while they claim their battle about contraception is about “freedom of religion,” no one is buying it.
Add in the racist dog whistling, or heck, even blatant racism, antagonizing various groups by clueless statements, and the occasional flirtation with the birthers, and you have what amounts to the Republican “base” trying to start a culture war, despite what the “establishment” thinks they should be doing. I’ve come away with the impression that they think they’ve lost that, so they’re bound and determined to drag the party down with them on the way.
This is not going over well with the public:
Not only does the American mainstream not want to fight the culture war right now, when pressed, most of the public likes contraception, supports Roe v. Wade, and approves of marriage equality. One could certainly make the case that gun control isn’t popular, at least not with key voting constituencies, but since Democrats aren’t even trying to change the status quo, it’s not much of a campaign issue.
It’s not making their candidates any more likable. Which does not, despite the spin, bode well for them 2012 election.
Then again, a lot of them don’t seem to care about that, much to to the establishment’s dismay.