Rand Paul took a break from hounding Bill Clinton and said on Saturday that if the Republican Party does not change, it could lose the Lone Star State: “Texas will be a Democratic state within 10 years if you don’t change.” This repeats a message he gave to Republicans in Detroit a few days ago, a city where 97 percent of voters went for Obama in 2012.
Speaking in Houston, Paul said,
That doesn’t mean we give up on what we believe in, but it means we have to be a more welcoming party. We have to welcome people of all races. We need to welcome people of all classes – business class, working class.
Don’t get excited. Paul is clearly talking about cosmetic changes, not substantive changes to Republican ideology and platform. Remember, this is the party that thinks if they get better looking candidates who smile more, voters will elect them no matter what they say or do.
In fact, if you think about it, what Paul is suggesting is impossible. People aren’t voting Democrat because Republicans are less aesthetically pleasing. They are voting Democrat because of what Republicans are saying, and Republicans can’t say things people like without giving up what they believe in, unless they want to come across sounding like Romney, and you know how well that worked out.
That Paul is thinking more in terms of appearances than substance, however, is clear: “We need to have people with ties and without ties, with tattoos and without tattoos; with earrings, without earrings. We need a more diverse party. We need a party that looks like America.” Again, this mirrors what he told Detroit Republicans: “We need to be a more diverse party if we’re ever going to win again. We need people with tattoos, ponytails and earrings.”
Notice what he did not say: nothing about gays and lesbians. Nothing about Muslims or atheists. Nothing about the impoverished and out of work to whom his party has denied unemployment benefits and jobs. Looks. It’s all about looks. Paul may be banking on that old adage that says perception is reality, but our perceptions depend on more than a single sense. We can hear as well as see, and even where vision is concerned, we can see Republican actions do not match their words. They attack Obama over jobs while declining to create a single job in five years. And how many votes have we had against Obamacare? It’s gotten so bad that even Obama is beating Bill O’Reilly over the head with it on national TV. As Rmuse wrote here yesterday, the GOP not only does not do anything, it does not plan to do anything.
And Paul thinks earrings and tattoos will help? Really? Paul said on Saturday, “People who are Hispanic or Latino, they have to believe that we want them in our party, so it is an attitude thing as much as it is policy.”
Mitt Romney, the last rich white guy the GOP threw at America, managed to garner just 6 percent of black votes, 26 percent of Asian and 27 percent of Latino – to go along with their telling 44 to 55 percent margin among women. Obama won the Jewish vote; he even won the Catholic vote (50-48).
Demographically, 2012, like 2008, was a disaster for the GOP. Does Rand Paul really think some earrings and tattoos are going to fix the Republican problem?
Unsurprisingly, Paul’s outreach Saturday, which included the proposed message, “If you want to work and you want a job and want to be part of America, we will find a place for you,” earned him what he himself admitted was “tepid” applause.
Paul told CNN’s Peter Hamby on Friday, “I think having people who are trying to make the party bigger is good. The party has to be bigger across the country, not only appealing to people of various ethnic background but various economic backgrounds.”
That is exactly what the GOP needs because as Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said back in 2012, “We’re not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term.”
The Republican Party is now reaping the results of the hatred it has been sowing since Barack Obama announced he was running for president. It is significant that Graham talked about “generating” angry white guys because that is exactly what the GOP, with the help of Fox News, has been doing since 2008. And a party that denigrates minorities and women and anyone who is not a fundamentalist Christian is asking for trouble. And asking to lose Texas.
The GOP is making voters but it is making voters for Wendy Davis. Earrings and tattoos are not the answer. It is not the ties that make Republicans so reprehensible to the majority of the American people, but the people who are wearing those ties, and that is a point no Republican alive – at least those not jumping the party – seem willing – or able – to understand.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.