March 16, 2009

"Kiss My Fat Ass," Or "Let's Make A Deal"?

Remember when I said "Hooray for Meghan McCain?" And then when I pointed out that Laura Inghram mocking her for being "plus-sized" didn't really respond very well to the very legitimate point that Ms. McCain was making about the state of the Republican party? Well, I've got another reason to say hooray to this new light -- or at least a flash in the pan -- in the great Republican Reboot, as Meghan McCain responded directly to Laura Inghram in the most appropriate fashion that I can imagine -- going on national television and saying:

"Kiss my fat ass." Here's the video.*

She's a chip off the ol' block. Does anyone have the remotest bit of trouble imagining that exact reaction coming from her old man under similar circumstances? Actually, the only problem I have is that Meghan McCain is a little bit less aggressive than her father the Senator would have been. And a glance at the video illustrates that indeed, Ms. McCain is well within the limits of attractiveness for a young lady; she would have no trouble attracting a lot of attention from most of the gentlemen in any singles bar in America even if she weren't as well-known and wealthy as she is. Frankly, I find her more attractive than Laura Inghram.

So I'm kind of happy to see that she's returning the insult in kind. It's now reached the point that all the amusement value has evaporated from this little spat. So it's time to say, "Enough, ladies, let's get back to the main point here."

That main point is that the Republican party suffers from an image problem, that it has been branded as a part of extreme social conservatives and become the catspaw of the religious right. As Republicans, we will continue to lose elections as badly was we did in 2006 and 2008 -- and indeed, we will see it get worse and worse over time -- unless we start emphasizing something other than the James Dobson Agenda. We need to set some priorities, craft a new set of political policies to match them, and identify young and articulate people to expound them. What used to work in the past isn't going to work again in the future.

Whether that point is made by an attractive woman, or an unattractive woman, or an attractive man, or an unattractive man, the point is either valid or it is not.

So if we can get past the hissing and spitting, the fundamental message that hard-core social conservatism has lost its appeal and must be at least augmented, if not replaced, with a different flavor of Republican politics. It's a point that I've been arguing for on these pages for some time. It's one that a lot of people have been arguing for. And it's looking like if the only response from the people who disagree with it is to call the reformers a bunch of names. Doing that will have several possible reactions:
  1. The reformers will find the GOP an unwelcome place to sell their message of fiscal responsibility, limited government, strong defense, and/or restrained foreign policy. Therefore, they will seek out another viable platform from which their policies can be expounded -- the Jim Webb wing of the Democratic party.
  2. The GOP will suffer a schism between these wings, and both of the resulting parties will be utterly crushed in all but a handful of local and regional elections, reducing both to semi-irrelevancy.
  3. The two sides will have a showdown at various party gatherings like state party conventions, with the losing side from each bitter and unwilling to accept any of a variety of implications of loss of control of the party machinery, culminating in another prolonged and bitter Presidential primary between one of Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee on the one hand and one of Mark Sanford or Charlie Crist on the other in 2012, with the loser fading into obscurity and the winner taking the reins of a deeply weakened and divided party and being utterly destroyed in the general election by President Obama, leaving the Republican Party to contemplate the fate of the Whigs and the Federalists.
How many of those sound like good outcomes for the Republicans? I don't know what kind of accomodation can be made between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives. I don't know what kind of a bone the social conservatives are willing to throw over to my side of the discussion or whether only total and complete dominance of the party is acceptable to them. No one on that side of the debate has done so much as to even hint that a reconciliation is possible, which leaves only the three scenarios described above. A reconciliation makes possible a Republican victory in 2012. It does not guarantee victory, but without it, Republicans can certainly look forward to four more years of minority status in Congress and Democrats in the Oval Office.

* You can stop watching it after about three minutes, when the astonishingly annoying Whoopi Goldberg starts to concern-troll for Republicans. Yes, we're in bad political shape, Ms. Goldberg, but that doesn't mean we've been reduced so low that we have to take advice from the likes of you.


zzi said...

Volunteers. SoCal's Conservative poster girl. The NY Times loved McCain until he ran against a Democrat.

By the way it's TV. She must look just fine in real life. Women are catty.

Michael Reynolds said...

If I watched Whoopi long enough I'd change my party registration.

Good for the Meghan. How is it that it takes her to put a human face on the GOP? She is the most attractive (in both senses of the word) Republican out there.