Quote of the Day: Duck Dynasty controversy poses danger to GOP
Our political Quote of the Day comes from NBC’s First Read, which notes the dangers face the Republican Party as conservatives leap to defend the patriarch of Duck Dynasty over his anti-gay comments:
*** Conservatives don’t “Duck” this fight: From one thorny GOP issue to another… To us, that Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” saying something controversial/offensive isn’t political news, or that it’s political news he got suspended from A&E for saying it. After all, plenty of celebrities — conservative or liberal — say controversial/offensive things all the time and they usually get some slap on the wrist. But what IS political news is when prominent politicians swoop in to defend the controversial/offensive comments. Here was Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R): “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with. I don’t agree with quite a bit of stuff I read in magazine interviews or see on TV. In fact, come to think of it, I find a good bit of it offensive. But I also acknowledge that this is a free country and everyone is entitled to express their views.” (Of course, companies are also entitled to fire/suspend their employees, too.) And here was Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Twitter: “If you believe in free speech or religious liberty, you should be deeply dismayed over treatment of Phil Robertson.” But the real reason why this is a story is that the Jindal-Cruz comments go precisely against the RNC’s autopsy recommendations. “On messaging, we must change our tone — especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters,” the RNC report said. These comments may feel good in the moment and appeal to the base (something certainly Jindal needs to do with sagging poll numbers). But that’s all this is talking to. And it reinforces the problems Republicans have with swing voters when it comes to these issues. That’s the danger here. Republicans have three choices on things like this – denounce, support, or say nothing. The safest thing for most of them is to say nothing.
But Republicans won’t on this and other matters. The fact of the matter is many in the GOP look at swing voters with disdain — as wishy washy for taking too long to decide (which often means ‘think through’) on issues, or The Enemy for leaning towards the Dems if they don’t agree with the Republicans. Additionally, the prime concerns in the GOP are to not make enemies of talk show hosts and to appeal the party’s base. Not doing one of either of these could mean doom for anyone in the Republican Party hoping to win primaries and the Oval Office.
The bottom line is this: there is no Republican rebranding. Only existing brand re-affirmation.