Op-Eds Speaking Truth to the Powers-That-Be
Remember the day after the mid term elections in 2010? President Obama was not shy about stating that his party, of which he is the standard bearer, took a major “shellacking.” They lost their majority in the House and their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate. 
Most Republicans, still power drunk with their victory, went around shouting about how this was a referendum on the President and the job he was doing. They boasted that they would set out to make America all-American again, and all that jazz. They truly took that as their cue to pass any and every piece of legislation that had nothing to do with the economy, while arrogantly pointing to the election results anytime anyone so much as uttered a complaint.
Republicans, true to their word, got right down to work in 2010. No, not on the jobs, jobs, jobs that they ran on. They worked hard on busting liberal-favoring union power, gerrymandering post-census redistricting, rewriting election law to disenfranchise the unfavorable (Read: Minority, elderly, and young) voters; anti-LGBT repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, repeal of the Lilly Leadbetter Fair Pay Act, hundreds of pieces of legislation in state houses and the Congress that involved women and their uteri, and their capstone push, the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare,” to the tune of 33 attempts and a Supreme Court challenge from half a dozen radical Right wing state governors.
Even with all of that hard work going on, they still managed to forget what “referendum” meant:
1. A general vote by the electorate on a single political question that has been referred to them for a direct decision.
2. The process of referring a political question to the electorate for this purpose.
If the 2010 was a referendum, by the GOP’s own phrasing, on the economy and Democratic policies, then shouldn’t their recent shellacking mean the same thing?
Apparently, it does not. Why? Because the GOP says so.
It is a different spin when they are on the receiving end of the shellacking. When Bush won his second term, he claimed a mandate, that he had “political capital” that he intended to spend on the far-Right’s agenda. The GOP will cede no such right to President Obama, even though the 2012 race, and the seats that the Republicans lost and the ones that they were unable to pick up in the more powerful Senate, were a clear message from the electorate about balance.
What’s been interesting, almost to point of amusing, to watch has been their reaction to their losses.
Although the GOP managed to hang on to their majority in the House, they still lost eight seats there and lost two in the Senate. The House, Senate and the Presidency are in the same hands as they were going into the election. More important though, is that there has been a serious shift in their make-up in the Congress. It wears more makeup.
There are now twenty women serving in the Senate and at least 81 seats in the House now belong to women.  Wisconsin elected its first openly gay woman to the Senate. She didn’t squeak by either, beating her Republican opponent 51% to 46%. Even the Republican fortress of Arizona (ARIZONA!) elected Krysten Sinema, an openly bi-sexual state senator, to become the first such person to publicly sit in the United States House of Representatives 
This election was a big deal for progress. The GOP knows it. Or do they?
Shortly after the election on November 6th, Karl Rove started running around to every news outlet that would listen, which is namely Fox News because no one else takes him seriously, claiming that President Obama only won because he’d managed to suppress the vote.
Really, it was Obama who had been trying to suppress the vote? Remember the comments of Pennsylvania House Majority Leader Mike Turzai who wanted to finally be able to win Pennsylvania?  Do you recall Florida Governor Rick Scott vetoing Voter ID laws? Pushing for longer early voting hours at the polls? Me neither.
The GOP threw the kitchen sink at assuming complete power. They spent billions to make the first Black American president out to be a fluke, to break the political back of the growing population of minorities, which will be a majority by 2016, and the growing political power of women of all colors.
From the moment the Republican primary started up with race-baiting and division and up until the last words about how rape victims should be forced to carry and bear their rapists’ baby, the GOP has to own this one.
They managed to alienate every demographic group that is not centered on older, rich, white males. They lost the Latino vote. They never had the Black vote. They lost women by a huge margin. They even lost big with Asian Americans who tend to be fiscal conservatives.
Sometimes it’s not just that the guy running against you is better, it’s that you are just that bad.
Romney and the Republicans who were spewing nonsense were just that bad. It wasn’t a race thing.It was a crazy, out of touch thing. Rep. Allen West from Florida was repudiated by fellow black Americans and by white and other minority voters who thought that telling Democrats to get out of the country and identifying Democratic members of the House as Communists was that bad. Equally bonkers Michele Bachmann escaped the jaws of defeat with less than 1% between her and rival Jim Graves. It only cost her $23M to hold on to her seat by the skin of her teeth.
So, here now is the “come to Jesus” moment that most parties handle internally. Yet here, it’s playing out externally. Romney blamed his loss on “gifts” that Obama gave to those “code” groups like welfare queens, college students and all of the other societal sponges who turned out in record numbers so that he managed to lose. He claimed that health care, the Dream Act and the student loan reforms were all “gifts” to Blacks, Latinos and America’s youth respectively.
At first glance, it seems as though the lessons necessary to move the GOP forward, if they even have such motion available to them, have been lost on them. However, recently there has been a little loosening of the usually tightly held lips of the more public members of the party. But then a moment listening to them reminds you that they’re still the same, only trying to put on a glossy new coat.
On a recent appearance on Fox News Sunday, Senator John McCain said this about the future of the party as it pertained to reaching out and attempting to be more inclusive:
“The demographics are not on our side,” he said. “We’re going to have to give a much more positive agenda. We can’t just be against the Democrats … We have to be for things.”
Senator McCain also stated that abortion issue should have been left alone, but he’s had a pro-choice position for sometime, except for at election time when he won’t defend it to his party.
Other members have been running around telling everyone who will listen, mostly FOX, that they’re now for immigration reform when this time last month every last illegal alien was a criminal mooch off of the tax payers.
The country has changed. Over time it is going to change some more. The party that, in its infancy, authored and fought for the 13th Amendment to end slavery in this country should be mindful of that. They should also realize that they will have to do more than play lip service to Latinos and women if they want their votes. If we’re going to have a functioning two party system we need a strong opposition party. If all the GOP has to sell is crazy and irrelevant, the country has just demonstrated that it will move forward without them.