Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 30, 2009

MEET THE NEW GOP, SAME AS THE OLD.... While Republicans try to reconsider their relevance in American politics, there's talk of GOP leaders "rebranding" and reevaluating where the party wants to go in the future.

But some habits -- such as the Republicans' twisted demagoguery and fear mongering -- are hard to break.

House Republicans want to know: Do you feel safer?

In a remarkable video just released by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and ranking intelligence committee member Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), images of Obama "bowing" to Saudi officials and shaking hands with Hugo Chavez are interspersed with footage of the Pentagon exploding and terrorists doing bad things. All of it is back-dropped by frightening music.

Eek! Obama is keeping his promises and closing Gitmo! He's honoring the rule of law and forbidding torture! 9/11, 9/11, 9/11! Run for your lives!

Honestly, the video is genuinely pathetic. It's not the kind of clip that comes from a party anxious to become a national force; it's the kind of clip a desperate campaign runs with five days to go before the election, down by 25 points in the polls.

The irony is, the Republican video is intended to make Americans afraid. What the video shows, however, is a Republican Party that's panicking.

A spokesperson for House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Greg Sargent the new GOP video is "forward looking," adding, "The events of September 11th happened, and pretending they didn't won't make America any safer."

Um, guys? Trying to scare the bejesus out of Americans with images from 9/11 is not "forward looking." It was offensive in 2002, and insulting in 2004. It's just cheap in 2009.

I can't help but wonder if this some sad effort at reclaiming an old mantle. The geniuses in Boehner's office might have gotten together and thought, "Pictures of explosions and Middle Easterners paid off a few campaign cycles ago; maybe we should go back to that."

In other words, the day Republicans announce an effort to rebuild their disgraced brand with an eye on 2010 is same day the same Republicans engage in ridiculous demagoguery better suited for 2004.

The GOP's road to recovery and relevance runs in the other direction.

Steve Benen 4:30 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (31)

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Comments

A noun, a verb, and 9/11.

Posted by: Joe Friday on April 30, 2009 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

At this rate by next year the Republicans will send a special envoy to Pakistan to plead with al Qaida leaders for another attack.

Posted by: Capt Kirk on April 30, 2009 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Even if I was afraid of the Pentagon exploding or of terrorists doing bad things, I wouldn't want those bozos in charge of anything.

Posted by: qwerty on April 30, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

I liked the music. Aside from that, linking terrorist attacks to shaking leader's hands is such a looooong stretch that even the GOP must be embarrassed by it.

I don't know, maybe they should ask the captain of the Maersk Alabama if he feels safer with Obama.

GOP.absolutely. bankrupt. of ideas.

Posted by: hopeful on April 30, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

They're going all in on another attack reversing Obama's popularity. It's allthey have, and their only hope.

The mind reels, even after all these years.

Posted by: David Wonk on April 30, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

The only instance I can think of where anyone pretended 9/11 didn't happen was that Bill Kristol column the other day where he pretended it was Jim Jeffords who gave the Republicans control of the Senate in 2002.

Posted by: Stephen Stralka on April 30, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

I can't overstate how thrilled I was when House Republicans agreed to retain John Boehner as their leader after they got walloped in the last election. As far as I'm concerned, the tanned superstar from Ohio, playing the role of Majority Leader, is a much bigger prize for Dems than Limbaugh, Gingrich and the like could ever be.

Keep on keepin' on J.B.

Posted by: CJ on April 30, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

GOP = Geriatric Old Poops

I mean seriously, will anyone be able to think of John Boehner again without conjuring up an image of Grandpa Simpson on some toothless cane-waving rant?

This...THIS...is the poisoned fruit of the party's strategy of getting nothing but android conservo-bots elected. They were never supposed to think, just do whatever the White House told them to do.

How's that working out for you now, Karl?

Posted by: Curmudgeon on April 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

In other words, the day Republicans announce an effort to rebuild their disgraced brand with an eye on 2010 is same day the same Republicans engage in ridiculous demagoguery better suited for 2004.

And it only barely worked in 2004. Even with Kerry sucking as a candidate, and with the wind of 9/11 still at their backs, Bush squeaked out a 2.5% win.

So if they want to keep on going back to that well, that's fine by me.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on April 30, 2009 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

How does Chavez work into the equation ? I think you would be hard pressed to find an American who actually knows what Chavez looks like much less someone who is afraid of him. They have seriously convinced themselves that handshake footage is gold.

Posted by: ScottW on April 30, 2009 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Odd how the Republicans keep using images of 9/11 to scare people, when the people actually in danger from terrorism and who actually suffered on 9/11 (living in big cities, New York, D.C.) are overwhelmingly Democrat and becoming even more so.

Posted by: captcrisis on April 30, 2009 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Road to recovery" is more apropos than you may realize. Watching the GOP keep doing the same thing they've done 1,000 times and hoping for a different result on the 1,001st, I'm continually struck by how much they resemble an addict who hasn't hit surrender yet. Right now they're like alcoholics who have begun to realize they have a problem but are still hoping they can solve it by drinking a little less. They're nowhere near recognizing that their policies are toxic and unworkable in any quantity and that they can't get well if they continue to embrace them.

Some or most of these people will never accept that their policies can't be saved with a little window dressing or rebranding. They won't get politically well. Others, who recognize that the disease goes all the way through, will walk away in favor of something healthier.

Posted by: shortstop on April 30, 2009 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

The lead comments sums it up!

Cue Giuliani.

Posted by: TBone on April 30, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

The GOP should at least be honest in their rebranding effort - the TEA party - Terrorizing Every American

Posted by: Greytdog Δ on April 30, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

House Republicans want to know: Do you feel safer?

Why yes, yes I do and thanks for asking. You see, Mr. Obama wasn't President when the Pentagon exploded and the WTC Towers fell - your man Bush was and he obviously failed to prevent those attacks. Mr. Obama wasn't President when the US lawlessly invaded Iraq and began torturing "combatants", acts that many believe incited Islamic extremists and enraged the World - your man Bush was.

Posted by: ckelly on April 30, 2009 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

"Maybe they should ask the captain of the Maersk Alabama if he feels safer with Obama?"

I like that idea.

Actually, I am very afraid ... of what these clowns would do if they ever regained power.

Posted by: KTinOhio on April 30, 2009 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

No, wait! Here's the new GOP! Drudge is Palin's first follow as a twit-head. (No italics since I gave up multi-pgrf HTML here):

Toby Harnden
US Editor

Toby Harnden is the Daily Telegraph's US Editor, based in Washington DC. Info www.tobyharnden.com. Contact toby.harnden at telegraph-usa... Follow Toby on Twitter Toby's Facebook group


Sarah Palin signs up for Twitter

Posted By: Toby Harnden at Apr 30, 2009 at 11:37:53 [General]
Posted in: Foreign Correspondents
Tags:
View More
Barack Obama, Drudge Report, John McCain, Katie Couric, Sarah Palin, Twitter

Perhaps this is a tipping point for Twitter - conservative icon Governor Sarah Palin is now tweeting. Under the moniker @AKGovSarahPalin (not very snappy but there are, by my reckoning, already 32 Sarah Palin twitter accounts) the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate has plunged into the social networking maelstrom.

Well, plunged is a bit of an exaggeration. More like dipping a toe in really. In the 14 hours or so since she's signed up she (or whichever staffer is tweeting for her) has sent three tweets. But there's certainly an appetite out there for all things Palin - in that time she's already gained 2,012 followers.

While the first tweet reads ominously corporate (declaring this is Palin's "official Twitter feed" from which "I'll provide updates on issues concerning Alaskans") the second one, encouragingly, accuses the AP of having "gravely misquoted my staff".

So maybe we'll soon be treated to a stream of "you betcha" and "doggone it" (which Barack Obama nicked last night) tweets laced with wink signs and invective against John McCain aides.

Interestingly, among the 36 people she's following are GOP 2012 nomination rivals (and fellow governors) Bobby Jindal and Tim Pawlenty and - from the media - Drudge (her first follow), Fox duo Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, NBC's David Gregory and ABC's George Stephanopoulos.

What, I hear you wonder, no Katie Couric?


http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/toby_harnden/blog/2009/04/30/sarah_palin_signs_up_for_twitter

Posted by: Neil B ☺ on April 30, 2009 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

I'll feel safer when Dick Cheney has been convicted and locked away somewhere he can't torture or kill any more.

Posted by: melior on April 30, 2009 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK

You know the ad is going to be wildly successful with 21% of the electorate. The other 79%, not so much. I guess if you are merely trying to solidify your Southern base this will help. Otherwise it is just a waste of GOP money. Every day they flounder around in the 21% waste land is a day closer to the utter failure of the GOP and the emergence of a right of center replacement party. Keep it up, John. Keep it up.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 30, 2009 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

But there's certainly an appetite out there for all things Palin - in that time she's already gained 2,012 followers.

If this gets around the liberal blogs, she'll have 100,000 in no time. We tend to love comedy.

Posted by: Danp on April 30, 2009 at 5:22 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, let's keep looking back to 9/11.

Let's remember Bush, goat book in hand, staring blankly into space while the WTC burned.

Let's remember that he and Cheney hid out like scared bitches for hours when the country need leadership, forcing Guiliani to fill the vacumn.

Let's remember that he and Cheney allowed several Saudis to sneak out of the country while "real Americans" were grounded in place for days.

Let's remember the Bush administrations stonewalling of the 911 commission investigation.

Let's remember memebers of his administration (Cheney, Rove, Libby) blowing the cover of a covert CIA agent.

Let's remember his cocky invitation to Al Qaeda to "bring it on!"

Let's remember a duty shirking national gaurdsman doing a hotdog landing on an aircraft carrier with "Mission Accomplished" hanging from the superstructure.

Let's remember the adminstrations response to Hurricane Katrina "heckuva job Brownie."

Let's remember all these things and more.

Then, contrast them with Obama's calm, measured, articulate, and competent response to multiple challanges, amany of them created by the malfeasance of the Bush Cabal, and ask me, do you feel safer?

Damn right I do!

Posted by: Winkandanod on April 30, 2009 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

There's no wolfs, is there? I'm scared of wolfs.

Posted by: gomer on April 30, 2009 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

How do you re-brand a pile of shit?

Posted by: Jim B on April 30, 2009 at 6:02 PM | PERMALINK

They'd be very happy if another terrorist attack occurred.

Posted by: grinning cat on April 30, 2009 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

How do you re-brand a pile of shit? --Jim B, @18:02

You call it "a tumulus of fecal matter" and hope nobody has a dictionary.

Posted by: exlibra on April 30, 2009 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK


Regarding Specter's historical voting patterns David Boaz from the Cato institute had an interesting take on that in today's Chicago Tribune. Basically, it documents how the last few senators who switched saw their progressive/conservative vote ratings swing significantly over a relatively short period of time. We can only hope that is the case here too.

http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=10161

Posted by: ciesel on April 30, 2009 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter GOP: "Because Obama is taller than a Saudi prince, and because he is not afraid of Hugo Chavez's cooties, terrorists are going to strike the Pentagon eight years ago."

Posted by: bobbo on April 30, 2009 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

How do you re-brand a pile of shit? --Jim B, @18:02

You call it "a tumulus of fecal matter" and hope nobody has a dictionary. --exlibra @18:25

You spray paint it gold and it transitions to performance art. Oh wait...

Posted by: Kevin on April 30, 2009 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, you can do all that, but it's still a pile of shit. It always was, and it always be a pile of shit.

Posted by: Jim B on April 30, 2009 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

"...there's talk of GOP leaders "rebranding" and reevaluating where the party wants to go in the future."

"rebranding" and "reevaluating" are the wrong terminology.

"RELOADING". Now that's something the GOP can get behind, you betcha.

As in "reloading during a tearful, drunken night of playing Russian Roulette"

Posted by: Snarki, child of Loki on April 30, 2009 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

This ad is as much about projecting what Republicans hope will happen as it is about reminding Americans what did happen. Rejected by the voters and devoid of constructive ideas, the GOP has been reduced to praying for disaster in every sphere of American life. The ad is about trying to frighten us, but it's also wallowing in perverse nostalgia about a time when a cowed populace allowed the Republicans to implement their kleptocratic, warmongering policies with impunity.

I sometimes wonder if, even if their dreams came true and there were a new terror attack on the US, it might not backfire on them. Their delight would be so overwhelming that I doubt they'd be able to disguise it. They might not even want to try.

Posted by: mikeypal on May 1, 2009 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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