As the recent government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis rumbled chaotically on, both Republicans and Fox News desperately tried to lay the blame for the events Republicans purposely orchestrated on President Obama and Congressional Democrats. This is about as accurate as if the Confederate states had claimed that President Lincoln kicked them out of the Union.
The American public is apparently neither fooled nor amused. According to the latest Gallup poll, in the aftermath of these events the Republican Party’s approval rating is down to 28%, the lowest it has ever been for either party in the more than twenty years since Gallup began asking the question.
Now, you would think that this might have Republicans rethinking their whole approach, but apparently not. A visit to the local Republican web site certainly reveals no such remorse. Rather, there is only praise for those, like Ted Cruz, whose antics took us needlessly to the brink of economic apocalypse, and scorn for those of their own, like Mitch McConnell, who actually helped avert disaster.
Republicans were stunned when mainstream polls were right and their “experts,” like Dick Morris, Charles Krauthammer and Karl Rove, were wrong about the public mood prior to the 2012 election. They vowed to remake their image to be more inclusive and attuned to what the public wants and expects. And so how’s that working out so far?
Well, immigration reform is still languishing on John Boehner’s desk, where it’s been since passing the Senate last June. Republican legislatures are still passing laws to restrict voting rights and deny women reproductive freedom. And what do you want to bet that come next January Republican congressional dogma will raise the specter of yet another government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis?
A pundit much wittier than I once posited that denial is not just a river in Egypt. Indeed. It’s apparently also a core Republican value.