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elephant balancing

Republicans Betting They Can Beat Something With Nothing

By Don Feder – BarbWire guest contributor

Is there anything more pathetic than a party without a message – other than: “The economy sucks and we’re not Obama”?

Imagine what it would be like if everyone took the Republican approach to messaging:

“Join us for Sunday worship.” Why? “We’ll get back to you on that after we check with our focus group.”

“Shop at Macy’s – We’re not Gimbels!”

“Eat at Joe’s – you probably won’t get ptomaine poisoning! No offense to Al’s or Fred’s.”

This should be a banner year for Republicans – surpassing even 2010. Democratic candidates would rather be photographed with the President of Liberia than with the leader of their party. One of their Senate candidates actually refused to tell the Washington Post whether she’d voted for Obama.

In a September Gallup poll, respondents were asked if their vote in this year’s election would be a message of support for or opposition to Obama. By a 12-point margin (32% to 20%) voters said “opposition to” – the highest send-the-bum-a-message for any president in 16 years.

Democratic candidates must have cringed when the president boldly proclaimed that this election will be a referendum on his policies. (“But make no mistake, these policies are on the ballot. Every single one of them.”) Does this include the decision not to ban flights from Ebola-ravaged countries (58% of the public want such a ban), and the president’s pledge to close GITMO and try terrorists in U.S. courts, supported by only 29% of Americans?

According to the media hype, the Democratic Party is terrified at the prospect of a low turnout among its base – blacks, Hispanics, single women, the envious and the government-dependent.

All of this has pundits asking the obvious: Why aren’t GOP Senate candidates doing better?

In New Hampshire, barely Republican Scott Brown is anywhere from 3 to 10 points behind incumbent Jean Shaheen. In Iowa, it’s a dead heat. (In September, Republican Joni Ernst was ahead of Democrat Bruce Braley, 44% to 38%.) North Carolina and Louisiana are red states where unpopular incumbents are running neck and neck with their Republican challengers. Republican incumbents are in trouble in Kansas and Kentucky.

Karl Rove, wizard of the Republican establishment, is already making excuses for a possible GOP defeat.

In a September 17 Wall Street Journal commentary, Rove lamented the other side’s fundraising advantage. “On Tuesday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced it raised $7.7 million in August, $1.5 million more than the Republican Senatorial Committee raised.” At the end of August, the Democrats had $25 million in the bank, against $20 million for Republicans. (Rove is now predicting a razor-thin 51-49 Republican majority in the Senate next year.)

For RINOS, it’s all about the Benjamins. Open your wallets Republican donors, Rove implores. Wall Street Republicans can’t imagine any other factor working against the Dumb Old Party – like the lack of any coherent message for instance.

There’s a swelling chorus on the right. Rush: “Can anyone tell me what the Republican Party stands for when it comes to amnesty?” David Horowitz says that on national security and defense issues, the Republican message is “tepid, diffuse and easily missed.” Editor Erick Erickson (“Five Weeks Out and No Coherence”) writes, “Have you noticed the Republicans have given up a concentrated effort against Obamacare?”

Republican consultants (a curse on their tribe) are telling their clients to lay low. “Obama and his party are self-destructing; don’t get in their way. If you express an opinion on a controversial issue (even one where the public overwhelmingly supports you), you’ll risk losing votes.”

That’s the strategy that made Romney an also-ran. “Play it safe,” Mitt was told. “Stick to the economy and jobs. Be nice to Obama. Aim for the middle” – the revered independents. He carried independents, both nationally and in every swing state except North Carolina, and lost every swing state and the election. Romney actually managed to get 2 million fewer votes in 2012 than Vinegar John McCain did four years earlier. Do you know how hard that is?

Those missing voters are part of the Republicans’ core constituency (the coalition that propelled the GOP to victory in five of the last nine presidential elections) – right-to-lifers, family values voters, gun owners, patriots and those who think America is worth defending – who were so uninspired by Mitt’s mush that they sat at home and contemplated their navels on Election Day.

In 2012, Obamacrats discovered something that Republicans still haven’t figured out: Elections are no longer won at the edges (among the lukewarm), but at the core. So while Democrats do whatever it takes to mobilize their loyalists, Republicans shun theirs, for fear of offending independents and the media.

The president is a master at mobilizing Democrats’ army of the disgruntled. “If Republicans win, we know who they’ll be fighting for. Once again the interests of billionaires will come before the needs of the middle class,” said the president of the putting green, before being whisked off to another $32,000-a-person fundraiser. (Message: Republicans hate everyone but Daddy Warbucks and the Monopoly Man.)

By one estimate, as much as 60% of the Democrats’ advertising budget this year is going to propagating the myth of a Republican War on Women. The theme has become so tedious that a constituent asked New Mexico Democratic Senator Mark Udall if perhaps he should change his name to Mark Uterus. (Message: Republicans have contempt for you, ladies. They want to take away contraceptives and your right to choose – to extinguish a life.)

Pandering to African Americans is way over the top. Recall Obama’s “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin” comment last year. It took less than a day for a jury to find the shooter, George Zimmerman, not guilty.

In a July ABC News interview, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder said at least some of the opposition to Obama is based on “racial animus.” Racial identity politics has been the sine qua non of Holder’s tenure at DOJ.

In the latest chapter, Holder has sent 40 investigators to Ferguson, Missouri to see if some kind of case can be made against the white cop who shot a black teen who may have assaulted him. In 2009, Holder refused to prosecute the New Black Panther Party for a clear case of voter intimidation. (Message: We’re all that stands between you and killer cops, “White Hispanic” neighborhood watch coordinators going Charles Bronson, and voter ID laws which will drag you back to Jim Crow.)

For low-income voters, there are food stamps (thanks to Obama, one in five Americans now gets them), and another rise in the minimum wage – just the ticket for an economy where more than 300,000 have given up on ever finding work. (Message: The GOP is a tool of the super-rich and tells the rest of us to eat cake.)

For Hispanics, there are really, really porous borders – which 68,000 illegal alien juveniles streamed across this year – and the promise of an unconstitutional executive amnesty after the election.

There’s no shortage of Republican issues. It’s just that the GOP refuses to use them.

The unaccompanied kids are carrying all kinds of communicable diseases, like tuberculosis, swine flu, the Enterovirus D68 and possibly Ebola. In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control, Congressman Phil Gingrey, MD noted the youth “are being transported to shelters around the country on commercial airliners and other forms of transportation” and “As you undoubtedly know, some of these diseases have no known cure.”

In the past week, 13 states announced they were canceling individual insurance policies that don’t comply with Obamacare. In Virginia alone, 250,000 are expected to lose coverage. “If you like your current plan, you can keep it – unless Democrats retain control of the Senate.”

The Supreme Court let stand judicial nullification of voter-approved marriage amendments in 26 states. When was the last time Republicans warned of “judicial tyranny”? Gov. Huckabee has threatened to leave the party if it doesn’t fight so-called same-sex marriage.

Obama is to national security what Typhoid Mary was to hygiene. Not only can the president not say “Islamic terrorism,” he can’t even say “terrorism.”

The war on terrorism has morphed to “overseas contingency operations.” When asked if we’re going to war with ISIS, the president demurred. We’re going to contingency operations? A beheading in Oklahoma by a convert to the religion of peace is workplace violence. The deaths of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood were workplace violence. The murder of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans was sparked by a video Muslims naturally found offensive.

“The future must not belong to those who slander Islam’s prophet,” Obama declared in a 2012 U.N. speech. No fear of that. Thanks in part to his policies, Militant Islam is the future. Large sections of the Middle East now belong to ISIS, al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Hamas and Hezbollah. Obama might have seen it coming, if he didn’t miss half his security briefings.

Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand lived through the Russian Revolution. When asked why no one was willing to fight for the moderate socialist government of Alexander Kerensky, overthrown by the Bolsheviks, Rand replied, “You can’t beat something with nothing.”

Nothing is exactly what Republicans are offering this year. Let’s see what it beats.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website,

First published at  GrassTopsUSA.


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