Loose Lipped

Can the GOP Get Out of Its Own Way? Recent Comments Make You Wonder

The Republican leadership has vowed to promote inclusiveness, but you wouldn’t know it to hear some of the recent comments by the party faithful.

Getty; AFP/Getty

Another day, another idiotic comment by a Republican—or at least that’s what it seems like. At this point I have to wonder if the advisors hired by the GOP actually hate the Republican Party.

Could it be that Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus accidentally hired Democratic consultants? Or perhaps certain Republicans have a fear of success, so they are subconsciously sabotaging their own party? Of course, there is the possibility that what many of us view as cringeworthy statements are actually the views held by most in the GOP.

Whatever the reason, the Republican Party in the last month alone has churned out more jaw dropping sound bytes than Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus combined. And that’s no easy feat.

At this point, being the RNC chair means always having to say you’re sorry. Or at least being called upon to contextualize and explain outlandish remarks made by some in the Republican Party.

And the biggest irony is that this is supposed to be the “new and improved” Republican Party thanks to the famed “Growth and Opportunity Project” released last year. This autopsy report was billed as the GOP’s treasure map to electoral gold with helpful hints for Republicans to improve their messaging so that they could attract more women, minorities, the young, etc. Clearly, some Republicans haven’t read the report—or perhaps some just don’t know how to read.

In any event, lets take a quick a look at the Republican gaffes that have occurred in the last month alone:

1. Mike Huckabee and the giant libido. At last week’s RNC meeting, Mike Huckabee stated that Democrats want women to believe that they are helpless, without “Uncle Sugar” providing them birth control since “they cannot control their libido … without the help of the government.” This comment spurred numerous questions including, who is “Uncle Sugar”? Is there an “Aunt Spice?” How often do Republican men sit around discussing “women’s libidos”? But the biggest question of all is, did Huckabee actually believe that discussing women’s libidos would actually be helpful in the GOP’s efforts to close the gender gap with Democrats?

2. Gays need not apply. Last month, Republican Congressman Randy Forbes led a crusade to convince members of the National Republican Campaign Committee not to support openly gay Republican candidates running for Congress. To date, there are three gay Republican congressional candidates in the 2014 cycle. While House Speaker John Boehner publicly disagreed with Forbes, it’s certainly not a message of inclusivity for a Republican member of Congress to advocate discrimination based on sexual orientation.

3. Sarah Palin misplays the race card. To commemorate last week’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sarah Palin commented on Facebook, “Mr. President, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and all who commit to ending any racial divide, no more playing the race card.” Apparently Palin believes that the best way for the GOP to attract minority voters is to tell our country’s first black president to stop talking about his race.

4. Demonizing gays is “common sense.” RNC committeeman Dave Agema astoundingly stated a few weeks ago that Russia’s anti-gays laws are “common sense.” Agema, who recently defended Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson against attacks by what he called the “LGBT Gestapo,” is fine with Russian laws that make it a crime to discuss LGBT issues with children. It should be noted that this past Friday RNC chair Priebus called for Agema to resign.

5. Iowa GOP’s “fun with racism” quiz. On Friday, Iowa’s Republican Party posted a flowchart “quiz” on its Facebook page that jokingly asked people to determine, “Is Someone a Racist?” The chart concluded, “If you think this flowchart isn’t funny, then this flowchart is racist.” I guess in Iowa, which is 93 percent white, it’s funny to some Republicans to belittle claims of racism by minority groups.

6. Gays have bad plumbing. Rep. Louie Gohmert stated earlier this month that judges who rule in favor of same-sex marriage, “need some basic plumbing lessons.” What water pipes and equal protection under our Constitution have to do with each other is beyond me, but it appears Gohmert has given a lot thought to the plumbing of gay people.

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Considering these incidents all came in the relatively calm political time period of December/January, just imagine the type of craziness we will hear once we are in the midst of the 2014 midterm elections!

So where does this leave Reince Priebus’s grand plan to rebrand the grand old party? Will the members of the Republican Party heed Priebus’s plea to improve their “tone” and stop the rhetoric that plays to their base but alienates others?

I doubt it. The loudest people in the GOP are on the far right. Keep in mind that almost 50 percent of the Republican Party membership are Tea Party members.

While we don’t know if Reince Priebus will succeed at his mission, the one thing we can say with some certainty is that he will be consuming a lot of Rolaids between now and Election Day.