In this age of super-quick Internet coverage, the adept use of social media by partisans and political junkies, cable ideological shows where politics is now to entertainment what professional wrestling was in the 1950s, talk radio, and political parties scrambling to find something — anything! — the other side does that will cast the other sidein a bad light you have to conclude that THIS is further evidence that there is Republican rebranding is seriously failing. And the GOP better hope it can find new members of its coalition, because it is going to turn off centrists, independents and moderates.
[UPDATE: The Benton County Republican Committee now says the columnist had no authority to put it in their official newsletter — but that won’t undue the DAMAGE the county party and the GOP is going go feel in terms of imagery and branding. The problem has consistently been rhetoric like the kind below which is toxic to the party’s image and in the case of the quotes below potentially endangers the lives of other Americans. The rest of this post still stands including the end.)
THIS comes from a column in the official newsletter of Arkansas’s Benton County Republican Party — which since it’s the party’s newsletter implies that it’s a view that is worth considering. Or, given its prominence in the newsletter. party bigwigs share. Here are the parts angry over legislators going along with Medicaid expansion under health care reform that will be make democratic strategists smile — and make those who truly for a shift in Republican rhetoric almost weep:
We need to make a public statement from our groups that we no longer support those who turned on us, that we will NOT be working to their re-election, that we will be actively seeking replacements, and perhaps even working towards recall. We as the Party have to stand up and say ‘no more – you were given a job, you campaigned on the promise to do this job, you had the ability to do this job, you had the votes each time to do this job, and yet for no legitimate reason you betrayed the trust put in you by the electorate and you are now completely and permanently politically finished.’
We need to let those who will come in the future to represent us that we are serious. The 2nd amendment means nothing unless those in power believe you would have no problem simply walking up and shooting them if they got too far out of line and stopped responding as representatives. It seems that we are unable to muster that belief in any of our representatives on a state or federal level, but we have to have something, something costly, something that they will fear that we will use if they step out of line. If we can’t shoot them, we have to at least be firm in our threat to take immediate action against them politically, socially, and civically if they screw up on something this big. Personally, I think a gun is quicker and more merciful, but hey, we can’t. But we have to do something, we have to gain control of our representatives, if we don’t then what the hell are we doing as a party except having fundraiser dinners and meetings just to raise more money for future meetings and fundraisers, and giving money to empower and elect those who would betray us without having the control to keep them in line once we do? See the pattern – you have to know you can guide the processes you begin, if you don’t, it is better not to start them. And we have to follow through, even if they are our ‘friends’, because the future of the nation depends on it.
Can I put it bluntly? How much time will it be before we have to write about a successful political assassination of someone (Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal) with rhetoric like this?
And, when we do have to write about it, many pundits will ask why.
Just save this link and you’ll might have a little a clue.
FOOTNOTE: Nutcases don’t read whole statements in full or in context. Some kind of hot button (political, persona, etc) triggers them — and they’re off.
UPDATE: From Talk Business Arkansas:
I spoke with several Republican lawmakers who voted for the private option who called the remarks “shocking” and “scary.”
“I’m embarrassed for the Benton County Republican Committee for including this article in their newsletter,” said Republican Sen. Jon Woods from Springdale. “I would think the Benton County Committee would have better judgment and not allow this to be sent out.”
Former GOP Rep. Tim Summers is chairman of the Benton County Republican Committee. He said he had not seen the newsletter when reached on Saturday. When read the portion above, he said he was shocked.
“This is certainly not the position of the Committee,” said Summers who said further comment would be coming after he speaks to the executive committee.
“That’s scary,” commented Republican Rep. Micah Neal also from Springdale. “I don’t appreciate it.”
Both Neal and Woods also emphasized that the article ignores the strong conservative legislation passed during the session.
thumbs down graphic via shutterstock.com
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.