What will it take to finally kill off the Republican Party?
They've survived a staggering array of hits that would have mortally wounded a less resilient organization. For example:
They drummed up a war for no good reason, then they tried to fight it on the cheap to make a point. As a result, the Republican administration was directly responsible for the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Iraqi civilians. And although the situation is now much calmer than it was (thanks to "the surge," the brilliant and creative strategy of finally sending in enough troops to get the job done), it's not even close to being over yet.
They presided over the most catastrophic economic collapse in 80 years, taking the United States from a record budget surplus to a record budget deficit in less than a decade. (Like the war in Iraq, this one ain't over yet either.)
They championed deregulation as if it were a religion: Free market GOOD, intrusive government BAD. Results? See previous bullet.
After preaching that they were the party of "family values" for the last 15 years, they've had to endure the agonizing (but darkly humorous) spectacle of various prominent members being forced to resign (or promising to resign, and then changing their minds) after being implicated in various tawdry scandals.
So why do Sarah Palin and her running-mate John McCain still show up nearly dead-even with the Obama-Biden ticket in the polls?
Frankly, I don't think that the Republicans could have done more damage to the country if they had set out to do it on purpose. I can't understand why anyone would vote for them. And yet, nearly half the people in the United States say that that's exactly what they're going to do.
One obvious reason is that Republican candidates tend to be more effective campaigners, in that they're much better at being nasty and going for the jugular than Democrats are. The main reason for this, I think, is that Conservatives (the core of the Republican Party) tend to see things in black-and-white: either you're with us or you're against us, if you speak out against the war you're a traitor, love it or leave it, and so on. On the other hand, Liberals (the Democratic core) tend to see shades of gray rather than absolutes, they know that there's more than one side to every story. This lack of intolerance puts them at a tremendous disadvantage against a party that is basically certain that they have God on their side. Being open-minded doesn't help you win elections. Being cock-sure to the point of arrogance does.
Example: Try to imagine what the reactionary Republican media would be saying if one of the Democraticcandidates had an under-age, unmarried, pregnant daughter. You and I both know that this would be seized upon as yet another example of Liberal permissiveness gone wild. (The Democrats are in town! Hide your children!) But the Democrats have been silent on Bristol Palin's pregnancy – which, to my way of thinking, is as it should be. Democrats look at the foibles of their own friends and families and know that they don't want to be the ones to cast the first stone. Republicans, with a warehouse full of stones, would love to cast them, but don't want to waste their ammunition on one of their own.
Rasputin, as you may recall, had to be stabbed, clubbed, poisoned, burned, drowned, and shot repeatedly before he would finally succumb. Similarly, the Republican Party has survived a pointless war, an economic meltdown, and one scandal after another, and yet there's still nearly an even chance that the Palin-McCain ticket will win the election.
Maybe I'm off base with the Rasputin analogy. Maybe the real explanation is...
Nah, I don't want to subscribe to fanciful theories about groups of people who are nearly impossible to kill. So I'd have to say that it's probably nothing more than a rumor that delegates were searched on their way into the Republican National Convention to make sure that they weren't carrying any garlic.