Return of the Grand Old (Stupid) Party

Even local Republicans are becoming party embarrassments

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) was embarrassed this week by party officials who -- trying to compliment DeMint's fiscal conservatism -- raised the image of Jews as penny-pinchers.

    A recurrent in-joke among conservatives is that the American political system is split between two entities -- the "Evil Party" and the
    "Stupid Party."

    In conservative-speak, the Democrats are the former because of their policies (anti-free market, redistributive, inconsistent on foreign policy); Republicans are the latter because of their apparently incompetent strategy and tactics (given that the Democrats are "wrong" on so many issues, why aren't GOP positions more popular?).

    Sadly, it might be time for conservatives to consider that some Republicans might actually be stupid -- but not for reasons of incorrect tactical approaches or strategic reflection -- or inability to articulate their issues. Nope, it may just be that, at this point in time, the GOP is just  plain stupid. Dumb. As in ignorant.  As in clueless. 

    Is it any wonder that only 20 percent of Americans consider themselves Republican? Would anyone want to admit to being a member of a party that has officials in South Carolina (yep, the same place that brought us Mark Sanford and Joe Wilson) showing that they don't realize certain characterizations of Jewish people are somewhat, uh, "outdated"!??! Not one, but two county chairman signed their names to an op-ed which, well, let's have a look: 

    "There is a saying that the Jews who are wealthy got that way not by watching dollars, but instead by taking care of the pennies and the dollars taking care of themselves," the piece read. "By not using earmarks to fund projects for South Carolina and instead using actual bills, DeMint is watching our nation's pennies and trying to preserve our country's wealth and our economy's viability to give all an opportunity to succeed."

    Ah, Jews as tight with pennies!  The old stereotypes die hard, don't they? But, what's the big deal? The op-ed, you see, was in defense of their U.S. senator, Jim DeMint, and his position on earmarks.  DeMint promptly told his fellow party members, thanks but no thanks on the praise. By that time, after near universal media condemnation, the two officials apologized. No word on whether they blamed the media -- controlled by you-know-who -- for the whole flap. 

    In fairness to the good people of South Carolina (though they do seem to have more than their share of politicians in apparent need of attitude adjustment), they are not completely alone in having nutty Republicans in their midst. 

    In upstate New York, embattled Republican congressional candidate Dede Scozzafava has adopted something of a novel approach to tough questions from the media -- she sics the cops on them:

    I spotted Scozzafava later as she was walking to the parking lot, and asked her: " Assemblywoman, do you believe that the health-care bill should exclude coverage for abortion?" She didn't reply. I asked her twice more. Silence.
    After she got into her car, I went to my car and fired up my laptop to report the evening's events.
    Minutes later a police car drove into the parking lot with its lights flashing. Officer Grolman informed me that she was called because "there was a little bit of an uncomfortable situation" and then took down my name, date of birth, and address.
    "Maybe we do things a little differently here, but you know, persistence in that area, you scared the candidate a little bit," Officer Grolman told me.
    "[Scozzafava] got startled, that's all," Officer Grolman added. "It's not like you're in any trouble."

    Now, this is probably not the first American politician who has wanted the cops to take care of nosy journalists. But actually going through with it?  

    But, hey, all this seems par for the season -- casually tossing around Jewish stereotypes? Having cops run interference with the media? All in a days work lately for members of the Stupid Party. If they don't get out of their own way, how will they stop the nefarious deeds of their counterparts in the Evil Party? 

    New York writer Robert A. George blogs at Ragged Thots. Follow him on Twitter.