A common talking point whined by the Republican Party has always been that President Obama hasn't "reached across the aisle enough." This, to anyone paying attention, or conscious, is of course laughable. This president spent the better part of his first four years in office nearly bending over backwards to do just that, and took a fair amount of heat for it from progressives. Still, even they know that his actions were met by Republicans biting the hand that did so, accompanied by a firm "NO!" to every offer of compromise.
Among those who love to pretend that President Obama was an uncompromising partisan was none other than Florida's own version of Sarah Palin in a suit, but with a slightly better vocabulary, Marco Rubio.
Well, who do you suppose refused to attend President Obama's second inaugural?
That's right, the GOP's pseudo "Great Right Hope," Sen. Tea Bag himself. Yes, Rubio chose to go home to Florida and pout instead. How potentially Presidential of him. Good grief, even Paul Ryan didn't skip it, and he's about as anti-Obama as it gets, not to mention a tough competitor for Rubio when it comes to the ability to talk rather than actually thinking. As much as it pains me to say it, it appears even he's smarter than Marco Rubio.
This brings me to another subject: The dying Tea Party. I wanted to write about this last week, but there was too much going on and not enough time to address it.
It seems that it finally dawned on the South Florida Tea Party that, after losing elections, they're "doing it wrong." By "doing it wrong," they don't mean their policies. They mean their name:
Jolted by the re-election of President Barack Obama, the defeat of congressional tea party icon Allen West and the cracking of Republican anti-tax orthodoxy during the recent federal budget showdown, the tea party movement is trying to rebrand and repackage itself in South Florida.
The South Florida Tea Party — the group that helped Marco Rubio launch his Senate bid and that hosted Donald Trump during his last flirtation with a presidential run — is shedding the words “tea party” as it undergoes a name change.
“We felt for branding reasons that we wanted to differentiate ourselves from certain organizations that have the name ‘tea party’ and we can’t control,” said Everett Wilkinson, leader of the organization that will now be called the National Liberty Federation.
Yes, that will do it. Lose the "Tea" and replace it with "Liberty." No change in policy, just in branding. Apparently they feel this will not only change their image, but also allow them to distance themselves from the Republican Party. To which I say "Good luck with that."
Before we even get into their policy problems, let's focus on the window dressing. Changing the name of the party, or "branding" won't do the trick any more than it will throw daylight between the Tea.., I'm sorry, the "Liberty" Party and the Republican Party. The GOP is the poster boy for this method of "rebranding" in order to snow the voters.
See: Luntz, Frank, aka the "Word Doctor."
He's the one who advised the GOP to call "government spending" "waste" because that will anger voters more. Instead of "taxing the rich," he advised "take from the rich." He's also the one who came up with using the term "government takeover" to lure in unsuspecting voters and turn them into scared voters when it came to financial and health care reform. That certainly worked on those who became "Tea Party" members, didn't it? You know, as in "get the government out of my" - fill in the blank. I hate to inform the Teas, but by changing your brand from "Tea" to "Liberty" you have much more in common with the GOP than you think. But then that's the goal of the "Liberty" powers that be. Potential followers may want to make a note of this.
The Palm Beach County Tea Party is keeping its name but trying to overhaul its image. Its new leader, 34-year-old public relations specialist Michael Riordan, told activists last week they must re-evaluate their methods after losing the messaging battle to Obama and Democrats in November.
“They won. We lost. They have a message that appeals to the masses. We don’t. That must change,” Riordan said at a meeting of about 75 members, most of whom were old enough to be his parents.
The Palm Beach County Tea Party claims to be at odds with the now rebranded National Liberty Federation, and maybe so if at odds means only changing the message but not the name. Still, the goal appears the same. However, changing the message doesn't mean much if you live by the same policies.
The Palm Beach group wants to focus on "fiscal" issues in order to differentiate from the GOP. Well, they haven't been paying much attention to the recent debt ceiling and fiscal cliff fights. The Republican Party tried it their way in 2011 and nearly crashed the economy. They also crashed their popularity in the polls at the same time. Instead of learning from their mistakes, a majority of them were trying it again in spite of losing in the elections but even now they've shown sides of pulling back.
How do you, the Tea Party, think rebranding yourselves as "fiscally responsible" would work for you if you managed this time to crash the world economy? Closer to home, what would happen when that government you profess to hate were to shut down and your loyal followers stopped getting their Social Security checks in the mail, which also would ceased to operate? There's a good reason why they didn't vote for the Republican ticket in November. VP candidate Paul Ryan was dead set on killing not only Social Security, but Medicare. Sure, he tried his hand at rebranding too, not to mention projection. But voters recognized it wasn't President Obama who wanted to send them packing in front of a death panel.
This brings me back to the Mr. Fiscal Responsibility of Tea Party-Liberty dreams, Marco Rubio, who also wanted to "strengthen" (wink, wink) Social Security and Medicare.......but only for his mom, as did Paul Ryan. He thinks if he says he's fiscally responsible enough times in a speech, no one will remember his little foreclosure problems. Perhaps they won't remember his credit card problem, and that to him fiscal responsibility really means let the Republican Party pick up the tab when he says "charge it!" To Rubio, it also means if you lose everything in, say, a hurricane named Sandy, YOU weren't being fiscally responsible in that you lived near the water. No aid for you! That's a tip that may come in handy in the future for Florida Tea Party-Liberty members. If and when Rubio says "no" to aid in the event that they're wiped out in the next hurricane here, you can probably count on him consoling you by reminding you that after all, you hate the government. Remember? What, you don't happen to have a spare roof in a warehouse somewhere like Tea Party King Rick Scott does? Pshaw! Not their problem.
So yes, rather than being in Washington D.C. for the second inauguration of President Obama, Marco Rubio was back here in Florida pouting and busily hating the government he loathes so much. Never mind that he's worked so hard to be a part of it.
He couldn't be bothered to celebrate having a President who believes in equal rights no matter your color, gender, or who you love, that all Americans have the right to vote, that we as Americans should take care of each other regardless of our level of income, and that Americans, not corporations should choose our leaders.
He'll stick with the "rebranded" Tea-Liberty-Republican Party who hate the government, which itself has been rebranded by all of the above.
They call it "government." The rest of us call it "Democracy."
No thanks, Marco Rubio would prefer to go down with the ship.