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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Republicans: We're Ready for Our Close Up Mr.DeMille


Eric Cantor can't simply  wish to make the Republicans into "better people" with empty words. As Dana Milbank writes, Cantor can't just put a "happy face" on Republicans. To me, Cantor's "new GOP face" is merely an old face with too much make-up.

Milbank writes: 'Republicans have ...a felicitous new strategy for reviving their party from its depressed state: (All) they need (to do) is think happy thoughts. At a (January) retreat for Republican leaders, former House speaker Newt Gingrich told them to 'learn to be a happy party' and a 'cheerful' one, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said they should be a party 'that smiles'. "

This reminds me of the classic last scene in the hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical-opera "Sunset Boulevard".
In the musical, the aging former silent movie star Norma Desmond (a theatrical proxy for Gloria Swanson) falls into a delusional state. She's totally out of touch with her "has been" status when she closes the play with the line, "Alright Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up".
Audiences realize, of course, the futility of the aging star, who will never regain her former magnetism. Likewise, putting a new image on the Republican Party will not improve their "has been" old fashioned opinions about nearly everything impacting on middle class Americans.

It should concern us that America's Congressional leaders need coaching, like amateur actors, being told when to "smile" and "be nice" so they can improve the Republican Party's image. This veneer can't mask the GOPs tired policies.  

Rather than act like an aging actress yearning for her youth, they must do more than smile when speaking about immigration reform.  Rather than smile, they must vote in support of progressive immigration policies.  Instead of being nice about social programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, they must write laws to prioritize the funding for these programs. In fact, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are humanitarian safety nets paid for with special dedicated and general payroll taxes.  Defense spending is an entitlement for rich contractors, but, yet, they receive tax breaks to spend our money, while poor people are labeled as "47 percenters".

If the GOP means to balance our nation's budget by cutting "entitlements", let them begin by voting to cut their own salaries as well as the numbers of staff people they have on Congressional payrolls.

There's no way Republicans can refresh their tired image by smiling.  They must find a leader who can replace their fading image with a new spotlight on protecting Americans from the ravishes of right wing extremism.  Republican Party icon  President Eisenhower warned Americans to beware of the Military Industrial Complex.   Republicans should study their roots as a political party.  Furthermore, Republicans must rewrite their party's values, consistent with progressive policies and freshen their political positions, before calling for a new public close up.

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