The GOP is as junk-sick as Jeff Conaway, the chief head case on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
In this reality TV nightmare world, starpower is measured by the number of times a celebrity can be caught on camera puking into a wastebasket during detox and the degree to which drug use has hampered an actor's ability to speak — can he utter a complete and coherent sentence or only communicate in slurred gurgles and zonked-out cries? If he can do the latter, he's an A-Lister. If the former, he's a has-been.
The Republican Party is an awful lot like that. On second thought, the GOP is worse. It needs an intervention, right here, right now.
Here's what should happen:
The GOP needs to break all ties with Sarah Palin. She is not its leader. She is not its candidate in 2012. At best she is a future television host, all perkiness and smiles and well-scripted ah-shucks-isms. At worst, she's a dangerously inept Alaskan hillbilly with a penchant for end-times theology and the intellectual curiosity of brain cancer.
So, with Sarah plain and intolerant out of the way, who's the leader of the Republican Party? Well, nobody. At least at the moment. But there is a movement going on, one that might reshape the GOP the way Barry Goldwater's ideas gradually transformed the party. And it's centered around Texas Congressman Ron Paul, a man the current GOP won't even let into its national convention.
That said, Paul isn't the guy the GOP needs to turn to. Aside from his opposition to the Iraq War, a novel move for a member of the current GOP, Paul's beliefs are too tied to the past — he's an isolationist who wants the U.S. out of NATO and the U.N., a proponent of dismantling the Federal Reserve and ending the income tax, and a believer in the guns-and-God platform that has supported the Republican Party over the last eight years. With Ron Paul, it'll be one step forward, 12 steps back.
Which brings us to this next bit of advice: quit kowtowing to evangelicals. They don't speak for the majority of Americans, nor do they speak for the majority of Christians. Yes, most Americans want God in their lives, but they don't want Him involved in foreign policy matters, high school display cases, or license plate designs. God knows who's naughty and who's nice. He doesn't need an "I Believe" license plate or two Ten Commandments tablets next to the state basketball championship trophy to figure that out. Go for somebody quietly religious. You know, the way Republicans used to be, back when they were more concerned about balancing budgets than thumping Bibles.
Speaking of religion, it's time to get rid of the false prophets — men like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. This unholy trinity has abandoned all objectivity in favor of blind, spit-spewing support of the GOP — right, wrong, or just plain retarded. If the Republicans hope to win back the middle-of-the-roaders they just lost, they're going to have to be willing to openly criticize the party itself. People expect the GOP's leading thinkers to disagree, not to march in lockstep. But the Republican Party loses credibility every single time Hannity goes on a rant about why the "Democrat" Party is hell-bent on destroying America and why the GOP is an example of all that is good and holy. It's fine to be partisan. It's fine to argue a point of view. But for Siddhartha's sake, the intellectually dishonest discourse has to stop.
If they ever hope to regain power, the leaders of the GOP must also be careful never to listen to Dick Morris or Bill Kristol ever again. Up until the bitter end, Morris was proclaiming with a straight face that McCain would win; at some point Republicans need to consider the possibility that Morris is a double agent whose loyalties still lie with the Clintons. As for Kristol, the GOP should never forget that The Weekly Standard editor and the chairman of the Project for the New American Century is one of the chief architects of the neoconservative movement. Look where that got us. His dreams of a Benevolent Global Hegemony turned out to be a malicious worldwide clusterfuck.
Most importantly, the GOP needs to be honest about why John McCain lost in 2008. Don't be like Sen. Jim DeMint and lie to yourself. According to the Upstate senator, the American public turned against McCain because he wanted amnesty for illegal immigrants, supported anti-global warming initiatives, and embraced the Wall Street bailout. Um, I hate to break this to you, Minty, but on those issues McCain and Obama weren't much different, and we know who won there.
Last but not least, the most important step of all: Ditch Dutch. Yes, say good-bye to the Gipper. Trickle-down economics doesn't work, and deficit spending has nearly destroyed our economy. And all that good-versus-evil foreign-policy talk that Ronnie was so fond of? Well, it was really just talk; he didn't believe it, and neither should today's GOP.
One day, a new conservative leader will emerge to take the reins of the GOP and win the hearts and minds of the American public. But the road to recovery will either be a 28-day stay at a rehab program or a long, hard, self-destructive slog to the grave, the fate that awaits every user who just can't get off the junk.
The following is a dispatch that was beamed to us from the future. But to quote John Conner, "The future is not set."
Notes from 2012
S.C. governor edges out President Obama, Budget cuts to come
- Courtesy of the S.C. Governor's office
By Chris Haire
It was a battle for the ages. On the left, a one-time messiah who saw his star fall as his administration was beset by one misstep after another — a national gun ban, In Allah We Trust coinage, The Communist Manifesto as an official Oprah's Book Club selection. On the right, the unassuming maverick, whose alter-ego showed a steely determination to trim budgets and take on his fellow Republicans back in his home state of South Carolina. It was the Obamination versus the Man of Khaki. And early Wednesday morning, the results were in. Obama was out. Sanford was in.
Shortly thereafter, Sanford addressed the faithful at the Francis Marion Hotel in downtown Charleston, delivering a stunning Power Point presentation of his plans.
"Obama said he would bring change. As you know, that was just talk," Sanford said. "It's time to cut out empty rhetoric. Now's the time to cut the budget. America needs a haircut. And the federal budget needs a shave."
The crowd responded as countless Sanford supporters had done before them. They raised their hands in the air and made scissor gestures, and shouted what has become a GOP rallying cry, "Snip. Snip. Snip."
At the top of Sanford's budget-cutting list, the nation's highway system. "I'm a walking kind of guy. If I can't get there on my own two feet, well, I don't need to go there. And I sure as heck don't need to pay for roads I'm not going to use. And I don't think the average citizen should either," Sanford said.
According to Sanford's plan, drivers would be responsible for the construction and maintenance of self-financed roadways — streets that only the driver and his or her family would be allowed to use. "You make the potholes, you have to pay for it," the president-elect said. "That's only fair."
Not surprisingly Sanford has other plans on how to trim the budget. "Starting on Jan. 20, 2012, the president will no longer have a personal chef," President-elect Sanford said of the move that will cut $80,000 from the $4 trillion federal budget. "As for the White House, it's your house too. Which is why I'm turning it into a budget hotel. As soon as I get there, I'll call in the bulldozers, and we'll start digging a pool."
The rooms will be available for $49 a night. However, guests will be responsible for beds and toiletries.
Sanford added, "And don't worry about me and my family. We're moving into the Oval Office. There's plenty of room in there to set up a couple of bunk beds."
The president-elect also has plans to shut the doors on the museums that make up the Smithsonian Institution. "I don't know about how things are done in Washington, but in my neck of the woods, when money's tight, it's time for a yard sale," Sanford said. "From all the dinosaur bones to the Hope Diamond, it all must go."
Sanford hopes to raise enough money from the Smithsonian yard sale to pay the water and sewer bill at the White House for one month.