This week, the punditocracy started realizing that this race was going to be closer than previously anticipated. Up to now, President Obama has looked positively Churchillian compared to the gaggle that was the GOP contenders. Since Romney has managed to seal the deal, however, given the absence of shenanigans coming out of the right, Romney has managed to get his favorable ratings over 50% for the first time. To unseat an incumbent, this is crucial.
However, to use a sports euphemism, the GOP has begun making a series of unforced errors in anticipation of the general election. Sen. Richard Lugar lost his primary to Indiana state treasurer and tea party favorite Richard Mourdock, thus putting the race, previously a safe Republican seat, into play. Same thing in Nebraska, where the tea party favorite bested the establishment candidate. Now, Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) has somehow, failed to qualify for the fall ballot. McCotter, whose district includes the suburbs of Detroit and earlier flirted with a presidential bid, did not gather the necessary 2,000 signatures to get on the ballot.
Whoops. What had previously been a Republican safe seat, yet again, is put into play. The old adage about Democrats was that we had a tendency to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Time and again, from the 1960s through the 1980s, Democrats managed to shoot themselves in the foot, time and time again, serving up wins to the Republicans on a silver platter. And it was usually because of shenanigans like this: sloppiness and Democrats opting for the candidates that didn’t stand a chance in hell of winning.
And so it goes with the Republicans these days. The party is no longer a bastion of conservative, but rather, reactionary principles that reflect a yearning for a bygone era, rather than offering constructive solutions for today. The reflexive reaction Republicans have to any policy proposal Democrats advance is an immediate no. It’s not good for the GOP in the long term, but what’s best for the country may well be what’s worst for the GOP. Alas.