Saturday, September 01, 2012
Amid all the hoopla of the Republican Convention there were a couple of people who played a rather large role in Republican politics in the last few years, but were totally ignored at the convention -- by the delegates and by all of the convention speakers. They are Michael Steele and George W. Bush. The party would like to just put both men in the closet and act like they don't exist -- at least until after the election.
George Bush said he had been invited to the convention, but declined to go. If you believe that, I've got some ocean-front property here in Amarillo that I'll sell you real cheap. George Bush presided over the worst recession this country has experienced since the Great Depression, and his "trickle-down" economic policies were the primary cause of that recession. The American people still blame Bush more than anyone else (including Obama) for the continuing economic mess in this country.
The Republicans are still trying to blame President Obama for the poor economy (even though they have blocked nearly all of his efforts to improve the economy). The last thing they needed at the convention was a reminder that they are still following the failed trickle-down economic theory that threw this country into a jobless recession -- and that's just what Bush showing up at the convention would have done. Romney is trying to sell that policy (deregulation of Wall Street & corporations and massive tax breaks for the rich) again to the voters, and he didn't need Bush reminding voters what happened the last time that policy was pursued.
But it was just Bush's absence (obviously requested) at the convention. Except for one fleeting reference to the "Bush administration" by Condi Rice and a sad attempt by Jeb Bush to rehabilitate his brother's image, none of the convention speakers even mentioned Mr. Bush. The impression that was left was that the last Republican president was Ronald Reagan -- and I think that's exactly the impression Romney and his Republican cohorts wanted.
The other unmentionable was Michael Steele, who was neither seen nor heard from or about in the entire convention. Steele was chosen as the token head of the Republican National Committee in an ill-fated attempt to convince voters (especially minorities) that the Republicans were a "big tent" party that welcomed them. That failed miserably, mainly because the policies of the party were clearly anti-minority. In addition, Steele's tenure tended to anger and alienate the racist teabagger base of the party.
It was part of the reason the teabagger movement turned against the established leaders of the party. And no one wanted a reminder of him at their convention. In fact, Steele told Jon Stewart that he had not been given any convention credentials, and in fact, had not been invited to the convention -- a clear slap in the face for the last party chairman.
There was a third entity barely mentioned at the Republican Convention -- the "tea party". Some of the media seemed to think this meant the party was turning its back on the teabaggers, and they were losing support in the party. Nothing could be farther from the truth. They are the party. The teabaggers now control the Republican Party. All you have to do is look at the list of speakers to know that (like Ted Cruz, Nikki Haley, Marco Rubio, Newt Gingrich, Janine Turner, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Paul Ryan, etc.).
The truth is that the teabaggers and the Republican Party are no longer separate entities. The teabaggers make up the largest part of the party's base (and congressional delegation). To speak of the teabaggers as though they were a separate element would be to deny reality, and would really be a moot point They are the face of the Republican Party.