You can hear what’s wrong with the Republican party by listening to Fox News celebrities groan about young people, women, Latinos and African-Americans. In their world, they are simply not qualified to cast an intelligent vote. You wonder how long it will be before the Conservative platform drifts away from heavenly ordained rape to raising the voting age from 18 to 45.

What escapes the Republican party is that most people can only withstand unproductive bitching for so long. Like a dour co-worker who complains endlessly about the assignments he’s been given, the Republican strategy is to corner you in your office and wax depressingly until your coffee is cold. We bear those people initially because we happen to share the same concerns.

But eventually, we begin to realize that the problem is the complainer and not the complaint.

When Mitt Romney and Fox News and Karl Rove stare bugeyed into the camera and grouse about everything that’s wrong with America, the youth tune out. They don’t relate. You’re just old, pampered white men who forgot what it’s like to scramble for rent money or get a few more miles out of a 20 year old Toyota Tercel. For example, you sound like a dorky Christian youth minister whenever you speak of birth control. “The best birth control is Jesus and not having sex!” Do you even realize how bizarre that sounds to a twenty year old? For a party that touts pragmatism, you offer some awfully unpractical solutions.

Dick Morris recently staggered onto Bill O’Reilly’s gloomy talk show and sheepishly admitted that he hadn’t counted on women, minorities and young people voting this year, because 2008 was a trendy aberration that women, minorities and young people were too lazy and stupid to repeat. (Admittedly, I’m paraphrasing that last part.) Dick Morris is supposed to be some kind of Conservative genius. How about examining a few polls before predicting victory?

Young people recognize bullshit. When FOXNews.com  “exposes” the “mainstream media’s” liberal bias while blatantly ignoring its own mainstream conservative bias, the youth is not amused. You cannot engage with sexual active single women by calling them whores when your mouthpieces are Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. You can’t win the hearts of Latino voters by making them second class non-citizens. You won’t inspire a nation by building a bigger Navy or privatizing disaster relief. This isn’t rocket science. The youth are taking over, man, and you’re not getting it.

When the Mitt Romney “47%” video surfaced, it exposed more than just a slip of the tongue. It revealed a sad truth about the Republican party: they’ve become insulated from the country they profess to love. They’re not bad people. They just genuinely don’t understand how anyone could fall behind on a car payment, or that most students just can’t borrow $50,000 from their parents for a semester of college. To the Republicans in power (not necessarily people who vote Republican), America is drinking excellent wine before a brick fire pit, listening to racially nonthreatening pop music while contemplating the next ski vacation. If they don’t see you on the ski lift, it’s because you’re too lazy to get there.

It’s not as if Republicans can’t bring good policy to the table. It is not as if their worldview is without merit. But the attitude must improve if they ever want see relevance again. Republican leaders may call that naive, but then again that’s part of the problem. We are a Nation founded on hope and “can do.” Greatness is never derived from paranoia and exclusion. We don’t want to be a country that worships smart business decisions. We want to be leaders of mankind. And that means demonstrating compassion and vision even if compassion and vision are expensive.

If you truly stand for less government, Republicans, quit trying to use government to enforce your antiquated set of values against a progressive populace. Try a little sincerity and modesty. Dream grander. Inspire. Stop acting like everybody is out to get you.

Because nobody likes that guy.

 

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