Colin Powell brought reality down on the Republican Party in an appearance on ABC News special inauguration day coverage with Diane Sawyer and George Stephanopoulos this morning, saying, “26 percent favorability rating for the party right now. It ought to be telling them something.”
Powell also criticized the Republican Party’s crutch of changing their messaging instead of adapting their policies. “The Republican Party ought to be out there not restricting voting by voter ID, but saying we want everybody to vote. It’s a party that has to stop saying, ‘We are going to appeal to you with new messages.’ You need policies — the country is becoming more minority.”
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Powell said Republicans have hurt themselves by not calling out the lies of birthers, “Republicans have to stop buying into things that demonize the president. I mean, why aren’t Republican leaders shouting out about all this birther nonsense and all these other things? They should speak out. This is the kind of intolerance that I’ve been talking about where these idiot presentations continue to be made and you don’t see the senior leadership of the party say, ‘No, that’s wrong.’ In fact, sometimes by not speaking out, they’re encouraging it. And the base keeps buying the stuff.
“And it’s killing the base of the party. I mean, 26 percent favorability rating for the party right now. It ought to be telling them something. So, instead of attacking me or whoever speaks like I do, look in the mirror and realize, ‘How are we going to win the next election?'”
Right now, Republicans think they’re going to win the next election by cheating and by better messaging. They are going to stop insulting immigrants and stop using the word rape. They have no plans to change their actual policies that restrict freedom for women and treat immigrants like criminals.
Powell endorsed Obama for both of his presidential runs, but is still a (hopeful) Republican. He’s doing the tough job of trying to kick the party back into sanity and national viability. In case you’re not sure if he’s still a Republican, he did blame Obama for not reaching out to Congress enough, when the facts are that Republicans held a secret meeting four years ago on Obama’s first inauguration, plotting to derail the President at every turn. They’ve carried that agenda out, to the nation’s detriment.
It is not the President’s job to force Republicans to grow up and do their jobs. If Powell really wants the party to change, he’s going to have to go all of the way and hold them accountable for their actions. They chose to be obstructionists. Blaming the President for that is simply enabling Republicans’ childish behavior.
The Republican Party won’t change until they address their policies. They can’t forge forward on a meaningful path until they face their failures and admit that their policies are out of step with the public. If they can’t win by stoking resentments, they’ll have to come up with a real platform. If they come up with a real platform of fiscal responsibility, they will have to admit that they’ve been ballooning the deficit every time they are in power. They’ll have to admit that revenue is necessary. This requires that they turn their backs on the Koch brothers and other huge donors who are driving them off the crazy cliff.
If Republicans are going to get serious about what they stand for, they need to stop wasting money on showboating. “The Bipartisan Policy Center has calculated that last year’s debt ceiling fight will ultimately cost taxpayers $18.9 billion over 10 years, due to elevated interest rates between January and August 2011. “This is what they wasted last year,” said Steve Bell of the center, and a former GOP Senate aide.”
The party of fiscal responsibility would not have wasted 18.9 billion dollars refusing to do their constitutionally mandated job of raising the debt ceiling, and President Obama would be an irresponsible president were he to attempt to meet those folks in the middle of crazy. No, it’s not the President who needs to move to the middle; it’s the GOP who needs to move to reality and responsibility.
The party that drove up the debt and brought our credit rating down for no reason other than to cater to the extremist Tea Party caucus is the party of birthers, legitimate rapers and self-deporters. That party is not a national party in any real sense, and while they hardly deserve to be one, the country functions best with at least two viable parties.