GOP is out of touch
The GOP is clearly floundering. This seems to be a result of how out of touch the party is with mainstream America. Yes, the GOP, the party long considered defenders against the radical, secular, progressive left cannot hold ground in American politics. The Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives, the Senate and the presidency is evidence of this. The problem with the GOP is their commitment, nay dependence, on an ideology that is becoming less and less appealing to most Americans.
Gov. Sarah Palin's drag on Sen. John McCain's 2008 election campaign is a good example of the disconnected GOP. Sure, her selection as McCain's running mate gave the campaign a boost in the polls and much needed press. As a committed Democrat, I feel Palin's selection was disheartening, as it seemed to take the steam out of Barack Obama's campaign. However, when Palin's rather radical, right-wing beliefs became known by the public, she became an anchor, causing McCain's campaign to stagnate. Palin's hard-line views on abortion, her alleged attempt to censor library books — "Fahrenheit 451" anyone? — and her association with the radical Alaskan Independence Party are no longer in line with beliefs of mainstream Americans. The GOP should have realized this. The reason McCain was selected as the party's candidate was his status as a "maverick." I promised myself I would never use the word "maverick" after hearing it so many times during the campaign, but that was McCain's strong point.
Public disapproval with former President George W. Bush made being labeled a Republican toxic. Therefore, McCain's status as a reformer, and an outsider willing to challenge his party, made him appealing. However, the McCain campaign, desperate to galvanize support from the base — a must in politics — allowed McCain to be attached to the toxic Republican image. McCain, a moderate Republican, was shackled to a stubborn, right-wing ideologue, exactly what America was trying to move away from.
Despite the loss of the presidency, the GOP doesn't seem to have learned from their mistakes. The Republican Party still trots out "Joe the Plumber" to fool Americans into believing they are in touch with the "working man." Rush Limbaugh, currently being called the de facto leader of the Republican Party by many Democrats and members of the public, was invited to speak at the Conservative Political Action Committee. The CPAC is not the same as the GOP, but they are a major mouthpiece for conservative politics. If this group of conservatives has embraced Limbaugh as a new figurehead for the Republican Party, they have fallen into the same trap of trying to excite the base that McCain did. The GOP must attempt to reach swing voters and moderates, and selecting an ideologue who wants the president's policies to fail is not a good attempt.
Sean Horan is a Rutgers College senior majoring in English.