The Cult of Pat Robertson Culls the Herd

The shocked look of Fox Newsbots that believed all the pap they spooned out and were fed during 2012 has been replaced by the quiet realization that attacking every group of people in the country just isn’t going to get your freaks into office.  However, late last night as the returns came in, the biggest predators of the Republican Party were already looking for what they considered the weakest links in the voters that rejected them yesterday. I took my eye off the Chicago Celebration long enough to hit FOX news, CNBC, and CBN.

CBN broadcasters did not share that shell shocked look given by a demographic shellacking that characterized the CNBC and FOX news commentariat.  It was evident that Robertson and his US version of the Taliban are not going stop their religious war on women, GLBT, science, and reason.  They’re going to try another tactic. They were signalling their intent to be more sensitive to immigration issues.  They’ve decided that it’s possible to still go after the civil rights of others by loosening up on their kill the brown invader approach to immigration.

Robertson’s group has looked at Hispanics before with their greedy, little soul snatching eyes. John McCain and the  Bush brothers have enjoyed decent support by segments of the Hispanic population which isn’t–as they say–monolithic.  Cuban Americans have always trended Republican insisting that US policy towards Castro and Cuba stay in Cold War mode. Cubans, however, can stay in the country as long as they can put a foot on US soil.  This is not how the country approaches the immigrants of other Hispanic nations.

As Hispanic voters grow in number and influence (Hispanics are the fastest-growing segment of America’s electorate), some conservatives wonder why Republican candidates don’t spend more time reaching out to them instead of joking about an electric fence.

According to Jennifer Korn, with the Hispanic Leadership Network, although most Latinos identify themselves as Democrats, “when you ask about the specific issues they all trend conservative. We’re talking about issues in the economy, smaller government, even religion.”

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, appeared on “The 700 Club” today to talk to Pat Robertson about why Republicans need the Latino vote, educating undocumented teenagers, and the way he believes Jesus would have Christians approach immigration reform.

As I said, Robertson seems to know more about target marketing and recruiting than your average Republican Zealot.  Last night, he was talking loosening up on immigration policy.  This morning, we begin to see that this may indeed by the way the Republicans try to become relevant again.

Mitt Romney and the Republican Party’s tremendous difficulty appealing to Latino voters dealt a significant blow to their chances of winning in 2012.

Romney got off on the wrong foot with Latino voters early in the campaign. During the GOP primary, he took a hard line on immigration, endorsing the concept of “self-deportation” that would implement immigration crackdown policies to spur undocumented immigrants to leave the country on their own.

The Republican candidate tried to moderate his rhetoric over the next several months, but the damage was already done. According to the national exit polls, Obama won 71 percent of the Latino vote while Romney won 27 percent. That’s an improvement over Obama’s 2008 performance when Latinos backed him 67-31 percent over Republican John McCain and the largest Democratic margin since 1996. To give you an idea of how badly the GOP’s Latino support has eroded, just eight years ago, George W. Bush won around 40 percent of the Latino vote.

Obama faced questions about higher-than-average unemployment among Latino voters and a lack of progress on immigration reform during his first term. But he was able to energize Latino voters, especially after he enacted a program over the summer to provide a temporary reprieve from deportation to young undocumented immigrants.

Conservative Democrats even believe that the issue of immigration reform may be one of the first items where Republicans may actually reach across the aisle to save their skins.  Tim Kaine believes Republicans will become more willing to discuss immigration reform.

“There’s so much bad that’s going to happen if we go over this fiscal cliff and I think that’s going to bring both parties together for a solution that’s going to springboard into a bigger picture budget deal,” Kaine said the morning after Election Day. “I do think the Republican Party’s going to look in the mirror and decide that they need to work hand-in-hand on issues like immigration reform.”

“In the future of the Republican party, they’re not going to be able to continue to put such a hard face toward Latino voters and so that’s going to provide an opportunity for another significant issue where we can build bridges early in 2013,” he said.

President Obama has repeatedly listed immigration reform as something he believes Democrats and Republicans could find agreement on after the presidential election.  The president has said avoiding the fiscal cliff would be his top priority after the election and has said he believes he could find support for immigration reform in his second term.

Obama’s victory on Election Night was aided in part by his strong edge among Latino voters, who broke for the president 69 percent to 29 for GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

This jaded attempt to maintain the Republican party’s core commitment to rolling back the rights of women, GLBT, and minorities may fail.  But, it could very well succeed.  The Republican Party was generally quite successful when it used code words–instead of blatant dog whistles–to signal to Ralph Reed’s army of zombies or the Chamber of Commerce that they would be amenable to gutting the rights of workers, women, and minorities.  I’m afraid the lessons of this election will be that they need to go back to their subtle approach.  The key will be how susceptible the Tea Party nuts will be to the suggestion they roll back their rhetoric.  The worst Republican defeats–and ones where the demographics played in their favor–were districts where over-the-top rhetoric scared off the electorate.  Believe me, the rhetoric won’t stop in party offices.  They’ll just try to go back to the day when they can signal their own that they hate affirmative action and birth control. Can they gussy up their weirdos enough to make them camera-friendly in two years?

As Republican after Republican made crackpot comments about rape, contraception, and abortion, the GOP’s rightwing brain trust unfailingly followed up and said, yeah, that’s what we believe, that’s what we’ve always believed.

And because the conventional wisdom had always been that autonomous, sexually active women and the men who love them are just a fringe constituency, instead of questioning the wisdom of attacking them, the big brains questioned the wisdom of having Sandra Fluke speak at the Democratic Convention.

I always knew this issue was a winner for the Democrats, but now I’m beginning to think that it affected everything else as well. That is, Romney’s crackpot economic and environmental policies might have had more traction with voters if so many of them were not convinced that he represented and was listening to a bunch of lunatics who were totally out of touch with how human beings live. In tough times, you might go for a small-government reformer who says he has a plan to turn things around if you trust him. Americans have bought bigger grifters than Romney; a lot of them haven’t even figured that the nice old man who unleashed the markets in the 1980s set them up for the hard times we have now.

Who knows what a Romney campaign might have achieved if he’d decisively cut loose the Erick Erickson contingent and run like a man trying to be governor of Massachusetts?

The likes of Pat Robertson, Pat Buchannan, Michelle Bachmann, and Allen West–who wear their emotional and mental issues on their sleeves with pride instead of seeking help–always tend to scare off the electorate in fairly predictable cycles.  These aren’t eccentrics.  These are people with serious issues that have managed to become successful despite their obvious need for some kind of help.  George Will is an asshole. Michelle Bachmann needs help. There’s a distinct difference.  Americans viscerally react to these people in the same way they react to folks that wander our streets and talk to themselves.   We know there’s something off there.  There’s some brain chemistry that needs correcting or some therapy that should be applied.  Republicans, however, don’t get these people the help they need, they try to keep them below the camera as much as possible to help their coalition.  The trouble comes when they sneak into the public view and become the latest Barnum act on You Tube or The Daily Show.  Democrats send their Anthony Weiners off to rehab. Republicans let their persons with issues smolder and fester and work to subvert. They harness the crazy to plow the fields.

I turned on TV this morning long enough to see that there was the usual punditry hand wringing and pearl clutching going on about the future of the Republican Party. They actually think this will make the party change.  This same conversation happened the last time Obama got elected, and yet, we did not see any course correction. We saw the nascent obstruction agenda.

Republicans got worse and they came back during the midterms to win back the House of Representatives at a time when they could gerrymander districts.  West may be gone, but the underlying district structure is still there.  The same agenda with a different mask and the toned-down approach of a different grifter just might keep the party from a much needed session on a couch.   Fred Barnes has already shown that denial is a really potent ego defense and he’s in no mood to change the party platform.

As hard as Republicans tried, they were unable to upset the balance of political forces.

What’s their problem? In Senate races, it’s bad candidates: old hacks (Wisconsin), young hacks (Florida), youngsters (Ohio), Tea Party types who can’t talk about abortion sensibly (Missouri, Indiana), retreads (Virginia), lousy campaigners (North Dakota) and Washington veterans (Michigan). Losers all.

And those are just the Senate contests decided yesterday.

See those words I put in bold?  This leads me to believe they just will not get it.  The problem is the packaging.   We just need a few more folks that know how to sell the flim flam without scaring teh good womenz and teh civilized brown people.  So, mark my word.  We’re about to get a new face on the same old package.  We’re about to see the grand appeal to as many Hispanics as they can cull from what they perceive as a ‘herd’.  The Republican party is basically a group of extremely old, rich white men that manipulate and use true believers in guns, gawd, jingoism, and white exceptionalism to get more money and assets.  I wish I could believe they’ll change, but I don’t.