Sensible Republicans realize this all too well. Mark McKinnon, an ex-George W. Bush strategist, spoke for many the other day when he contended that Perry and company “seem intent on putting an increasingly ideologically conservative and intolerant face on the party. They are pulling the primary contest so far right that the party will be far less attractive to the independent voters needed to win the general election.”
Independents backed Obama by 8 percentage points in 2008, but they’re currently sour on the president; in the latest Gallup poll, only 36 percent gave him a thumbs-up on job performance. It would appear that these centrist voters are ripe for the taking.
But this is no way to win them over:
-Declaring that evolution is “just a theory that’s out there.”
-Insisting that the scientific consensus on climate change is “all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight.”
-Decreeing that revenue increases of any kind are unacceptable under any and all circumstances, and signing a pledge to that effect.
-Promising to fill all key Cabinet and executive jobs with foes of abortion, and signing a pledge to that effect.
-Asserting that “it’s time for us to just hand (America) over to God and say, ‘God, you’re going to have to fix this.”’
-Announcing in a book that Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional and should be scrapped.
-Contending that gay Americans are “part of Satan.”
-Dissing the Bush-appointed Federal Reserve chairman as “treasonous.”
-Insinuating (yet again) that Obama is insufficiently American and insufficiently in love with America.
Perry dominates that small sampling. What’s noteworthy is that the more he talks, the higher he climbs in the party rankings. Gallup said Wednesday that he had vaulted past Mitt Romney into first place as the preferred nominee, and that speaks volumes about the heavily rightward tilt of the post-Reagan Republican electorate. Reagan himself would be dismissed these days as way too moderate; he’d be down in the polls with Jon Huntsman, whose sane rebuttals of Perry have earned him 1 percent support.
In fact, let’s talk about Reagan. Many conservatives today scoff at the notion that the current candidates are too extreme to beat Obama. They point out that Reagan was widely reviled in 1980 as too conservative and therefore unelectable. Many in the media made that case. So did moderate Republican John Anderson, who ran that autumn as an independent; as he argued in March of that year, “I am afraid that the nomination of Mr. Reagan will only ensure the reelection of (Jimmy) Carter and further ensure the continuing economic disaster that we have suffered now for three years.”
But here’s the flaw in the current conservative argument: Reagan in 1980 did not talk like an extremist, in the mold of Perry or Michele Bachmann. He had no interest in doubling down on crazy.
Reagan didn’t equate gay people with Satan, or talk about them much at all; two years earlier, he had even opposed an antigay California referendum. Reagan didn’t sign any pledges about abortion; he rarely even mentioned abortion. Reagan didn’t sign any pledges never to hike taxes; indeed, as governor, he had repeatedly raised taxes. Reagan didn’t question Carter’s patriotism. Reagan didn’t declare that he wanted to do away with Social Security and Medicare. Quite the contrary, he publicly (and falsely) denied during the campaign that he had ever opposed the concept of Medicare.
The Alabama Legislature opened its session on March 1 on a note of humility and compassion. In the Senate, a Christian pastor asked God to grant members “wisdom and discernment” to do what is right. “Not what’s right in their own eyes,” he said, “but what’s right according to your word.” Soon after, both houses passed, and the governor signed, the country’s cruelest, most unforgiving immigration law.
The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, is so inhumane that four Alabama church leaders — an Episcopal bishop, a Methodist bishop and a Roman Catholic archbishop and bishop — have sued to block it, saying it criminalizes acts of Christian compassion. It is a sweeping attempt to terrorize undocumented immigrants in every aspect of their lives, and to make potential criminals of anyone who may work or live with them or show them kindness.
It effectively makes it a crime to be an undocumented immigrant in Alabama, by criminalizing working, renting a home and failing to comply with federal registration laws that are largely obsolete. It nullifies any contracts when one party is an undocumented immigrant. It requires the police to check the papers of people they suspect to be here illegally.
The new regime does not spare American citizens. Businesses that knowingly employ illegal immigrants will lose their licenses. Public school officials will be required to determine students’ immigration status and report back to the state. Anyone knowingly “concealing, harboring or shielding” an illegal immigrant could be charged with a crime, say for renting someone an apartment or driving her to church or the doctor.
This is serious bullshit and I just moved here too, fuck. I can not come up with anything else to say because the title says it all.