Most people would be inclined to agree that being assaulted by a criminal with a smile on their face is still being assaulted, especially if the assailant has a history of attacking them at every opportunity. Whether an attacker is smiling or scowling, the damage they inflict is still painful, and even semi-intelligent human beings would avoid any situation that might give the assailant another chance to inflict harm on them or their loved ones. Politicians learn early on to smile regardless if they are proposing legislation that helps or harms their constituents, and it does not take long for the public to learn that it is the politician’s record and position on issues that matters and not whether they present themselves and their agenda in a friendly manner or with a smile on their face. Republicans have not proposed one idea over the past decade, or longer, that benefits the population, and in fact have been purveyors of pain and suffering for Americans far removed from the wealthiest 1% of income earners and fundamentalist Christian fanatics. After three days of meeting to plot strategies to continue inflicting damage on the American people, the Republican National Committee decided that if they present detrimental legislation with a smile on the faces, their harmful agenda will be embraced by Americans.
The message coming from the 2013 RNC Winter meeting in Charlotte this week is that substantive policy changes are not the answer to garner support from voters because Republican leaders insist there was nothing wrong with their message that lost them the 2012 election, it was how and who delivered the messages of doom. The consensus among GOP leaders is that Americans want to be assaulted by Republicans; they just want them to smile as they implement Draconian spending cuts, lower taxes for the rich, anti-women legislation, and religious edicts straight out of the Old Testament. Republican leadership is so out of touch with the American people, and so stuck on their ideologically backward agenda, that one member said “We can stand by our timeless principles and articulate them in ways that are modern, relevant to our time and relatable to the majority of voters.” They then unanimously approved a resolution by voice vote calling on Congress to defund Planned Parenthood despite a majority of Americans oppose defunding the organization.
There are myriad problems endemic to Republican policies, but primarily they do not comprehend that their agenda and policies are contrary to the will of the people, and they are only interested in serving voters who agree with their platform. New Hampshire chairman Wayne MacDonald said party leaders need to be firm and assertive without being mean-spirited, and asserted that no-one thinks the Republican Party has to change any platform planks because “this party wants to serve everybody that believes in our principles,” and it informs what pundits and political observers have known for some time; Republicans do not want, or intend, to serve all Americans; only those who agree with their policies.
One of the RNC winter meetings’ attendees, recently elected North Carolina Governor, Pat McCrory, believes the party must reorient itself away from Washington and focus on experimenting with new policy approaches in the states, and Republicans have gone beyond the experimental stage. In two states, Kansas and Louisiana, the Republican governors proposed raising taxes on the poor while cutting taxes for the rich that Republicans in Congress like Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor have proposed over the course of the past year that certainly did not help Republicans in the last election. During the 2012 election, President Obama ran on raising taxes on the rich and giving 98% of Americans a tax cut, and yet according to Republicans, they “have the right policy but do a terrible job conveying it,” so their tactic to better transmit their “tax-the-poor” policy is implementing it in the states, with a smile, so the public will accept them with open arms.
One of the subjects discussed at the RNC meeting was reaching out to minorities and young people in a more “friendly” way, and RNC chairman, Reince Priebus said, “When it comes to young people, when it comes to African-Americans and Hispanics, we really have done an incredible job over the last few years,” and “actually our principles are more conducive to minorities than the Democrats.” However, the results of the election told a different story as African Americans, young people, and Hispanics overwhelmingly supported the President and Democrats, and to correct that, Republicans intend on “communicating with them in the proper forums, and explaining the values to them.” It may prove difficult to explain to minorities, young people, and any American that slashing safety nets, education funding, and raising their taxes to benefit corporations and the wealthy, is good for the people, and certainly not the values most Americans hold regardless if they are minorities, young, or old.
Republicans in Congress and states did not need the RNC to confirm their dystopian policies and extremist agenda is “just fine” and what the people really want. Republicans started off the 113th Congress with a personhood bill to ban contraception, competing bills to defund Planned Parenthood, and some of the harshest anti-abortion bills that are all the rage in Republican-controlled states in spite of a poll signifying support for keeping Roe v. Wade’s access to legal abortion in place; no amount of “smiling” will change public opinion.
If the RNC is dysfunctional enough to think Americans will embrace their extreme positions on raising taxes on the poor, slashing social safety nets, rigging elections, and assaulting Social Security and Medicare just because they smile as they wreak havoc on the people, they are in greater danger of self-annihilation than they could possibly imagine. That Republicans even entertain the notion that explaining their dangerous ideology with a friendly demeanor will sway voters to embrace fascism, theocracy, and Draconian austerity is another indication the GOP will forge ahead at their peril, and smile their way into political oblivion.