Back in January, Louisiana’s Republican Governor, Bobby Jindal gave a keynote speech at a meeting of the Republican National Committee. The speech came on the heels of the GOP being burned in the November election, not only in the Presidential race, but in key Senate and House races that they actually should have and possibly would have won, had it not been for the inflammatory remarks made by the candidates seeking those positions. During his speech, Governor Jindal implored his fellow party members to think before they spoke in order to facilitate a re-branding of the party, i.e. GOP 2.0. Jindal said, “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults… …we had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. I’m here to say we’ve had enough of that.” Jindal’s comments were seconded by Mississippi’s Governor and former RNC Chair, Haley Barbour, who stated that comments made by candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock hurt the party overall.
Was the GOP listening? Apparently not. Since Jindal’s now infamous plea to his fellow GOP party members to “stop being the stupid party,” numerous Republicans, including Jindal himself, have either said or done something which perpetuates the idea that the GOP, even the revamped 2.0 version, is still the “stupid party.” Here is a round up (in no particular order):
Number One: Let’s start with Bobby Jindal himself, since apparently stupid is as stupid does. Last November, Louisiana voters passed a NRA backed piece of legislation that amended Louisiana’s state constitution. The amendment, which Gov. Jindal supported and championed as “an ironclad guarantee of freedom here in Louisiana,” requires that Louisiana courts review gun laws passed in the state under the stringent strict scrutiny standard. Subsequently, this week, a Louisiana judge ruled that in light of the constitutional amendment passed last year, a statute prohibiting violent felons from having firearms was unconstitutional; a ruling that Jindal himself disagrees with. In a prepared statement the Jindal Administration said, “We disagree with the judge’s ruling. The amendment passed last session is not in conflict with Louisiana or federal law barring felons from owning guns.” Now, while Gov. Jindal was never an attorney, he holds two bachelors degrees (one in biology and one in public policy) from Brown University and a Master of Letters degree in political science from Oxford University. He is not stupid. So, it is beyond me how he could not have foreseen that this amendment would give violent felons the right to own weapons. But I digress. Moreover, he supported the amendment before he made the “party of stupid” speech anyways, so for what it’s worth, we won’t count this one.
Number Two: Last week, Representative Steve Stockman (R-Texas) released his new campaign bumper sticker. What did it say? “If babies had guns they wouldn’t be aborted.” Ummm… what?? Do you remember that old elementary school insult, “if you look up stupid in the dictionary…”? That probably applies to this. Strike One.
Number Three: Speaking of “talking like adults,” who could forget Rep. Don Young’s (R-Alaska), “My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes.” So much for needing to do more Hispanic outreach. Strike Two.
Number Four: Have you met Mary Sue McClurkin yet? Rep. McClurkin is a member of the Alabama State House of Representatives who believes that a fetus is the largest organ in the body. In February, during an interview, she told a reporter, “When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body. That’s a big thing. That’s a big surgery. You don’t have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that.” It looks like Rep. McClurkin really needs to dust off her elementary school biology text book, especially considering that she is the Education Policy Chair for the State of Alabama. For the record, the largest organ in the body is the skin. Strike Three.
At this point they’ve already struck out. But wait, there’s more!
In Wilcox County, Georgia, students at a public school contacted Governor Nathan Deal’s office, requesting that the Governor integrate their still segregated prom. Gov. Deal’s response? Deal had a spokesperson from his office release this statement, “This is a leftist front group for the state Democratic party and we’re not going to lend a hand to their silly publicity stunt.” I think someone needs to remind Gov. Deal that Brown v. Board of Ed. was decided back in 1954.
Further, just last week, Louie Gohmert asserted that “radical Islamists” were being “trained to act like Hispanic[s]” and cross the U.S.-Mexico border. According to the Huffington Post, The Hispanic Leadership Group, a conservative pro-reform immigration group, condemned his remarks as “unacceptable, offensive and ignorant.” The group further stated, “Using a national tragedy to further his own anti-immigration reform agenda is not only shameful, but also a blatant attempt to disingenuously twist public sentiment at a vulnerable time. We must take a strong stand and make it clear this kind of intolerance has no place in the conservative movement.”
Finally, FOR THE WIN! At the beginning of April, Republican lawmakers in the state of North Carolina filed a resolution that would allow the state to declare Christianity its official religion and would nullify all federal rulings against Christian prayer by public entities, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the U.S. Bill of Rights.
I want to conclude by pointing out that I am not in the slightest bit blind to the fact that several Democrats have both said and done stupid things in the past (and I don’t mean passing legislation you may or may not agree with, either). I’m sure we can all think of a few examples. But, the Democrats aren’t running around claiming they need to “stop being the stupid party” either. In other words, it appears the GOP’s whole “re-branding” thing is getting off to a rocky start. Check please!