An Embarassing Lack of Imagination

Today the Senate takes up debate on Constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, this in response to a renewed push from the White House. Well that is fantastic, as it is a worthy goal; although establishing a sumptuary law in the Constitution strikes me as a little out of sorts. But that is a debate for another time. The problem here is timing. A look at the chief concerns in our nation of the past months reveals a few major issues that have real significance for Americans-immigration, Iraq, Iran, global warming, etc. Immigration and foreign policy really matter now. Then all of the sudden we see Congress taking a couple of weeks to debate the marriage amendment.

Then we think about that fact that the President’s poll numbers are abysmal, and that those for the Congress are worse still. What that means is that not only have swing voters gotten fed up with the astounding fecklessness of the Republican majority, but now the Conservative base has as well. The signs have been there for some time, at least for more close observers; but now they are clear to everyone. And that is scaring (as it should) the Republican Congress now that midterm elections are mere months away. So what better way to get on track than to start shoring up conservative support than to drag out the old standbys; for instance, the marriage amendment. The problem is this-if you are like me, you heard this debate was beginning and immediately thought, “What a pathetic ploy to rally the troops.” This is just the latest blunder in the GOP’s rollicking comedy of PR errors over the past years. It will take more than a pitiful bone-tossing to the party faithful to mitigate losses this November. This Republican congress has shown itself to be more addicted to the cause of reelection than any in recent memory, and so in rushing to satisfy everyone they have succeeded in failing them all. Now, the last bastion of principle, George W. Bush, appears to be aquiescing to the demands of the Congress to stop annoying Republican voters. “We are losing points with our constituency,” they whine. I say wake up, congress, it your own fault, not the President’s.

GOP hopes this fall will rest on two contingencies. One is its ability to fix its hapless PR machine. Second, is whether or not the Dems can put together a somewhat coherent message. Sure the Dems have successfully lambasted the Republican agenda of late, but when they go on the campaign trail they will soon realize that voters want more than finger-pointing; they want a plan, something that has been lacking in the rabble of the Dems. If fed up conservatives fail to show up at the polls this fall, though, that may not matter.