I always said the Republican Party absolutely lost its mind when Barack Obama won the presidency back in 2008. And if they lost their mind in 2008, then Obama’s re-election made their heads explode.
The GOP has seemed to operate with absolutely no core principles since Obama became president except to oppose any and everything Obama says and does. That sounds like hyperbole, but sadly it is what has actually happened for the last six years. If Obama got up today and said he loved Ronald Reagan, the Republican Party would likely issue a statement denouncing Reagan as a sell-out.
Think of the policy, statement or initiative Obama has undertaken during his term, and just try to find an instance where those on the other side of the political spectrum did not vehemently oppose him, even on the smallest matter. Obamacare, education, gay marriage, job growth, the Middle East, Russia, hell even his choice of suits. And that last one is not a joke. Some on the right actually made a huge issue about Obama’s choice to wear a tan suit in a press conference. That, folks, is when you know their heads have completely exploded.
Some will argue that opposing the sitting president is what the opposite party always does, so what the Republicans have been doing with Obama is no different than they did with Clinton, who they looked to impeach as well. But the level of hate for Obama goes far beyond what we saw during Clinton’s terms in office. You could say the Republicans were at least organized and civil in their opposition then. Their stand seemed at least to come from a place of simple party differences. With Obama, there is also talk about impeachment, and let’s not forget about the unprecedented lawsuit that Speaker Boehner wants to initiate against the president, who he and his cohorts accuses of being a dictator in essence. And while there has always been opposition from the party not in power, Obama’s election actually caused the GOP to split, giving rise to the Tea Party, an even more vehemently anti-Obama faction, who thought the main GOP didn’t hate the President nearly enough. Clearly we are talking about a whole different level of animosity and hatred than we’ve never experienced before.
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So the question then is why did Obama’s election and re-election, cause the GOP to fall apart so badly? To the point where they have almost made themselves irrelevant and completely out of step with mainstream American, meaning Independents, young people, non-Republican women, minorities, and generally any thinking person?
Of course it's hard to not factor race into that answer. The level of disrespect Obama has faced is unparalleled, from questioning his citizenship, to accusing him of being a closet socialist, to the unforgettable outburst during a State of the Union when a Republican representative actually yelled out “You Liar” on national television. That has never happened before. Ever. And Obama is not the most liberal president we have had, so that cannot be the reason.
But I don’t think it is all about Obama’s skin color. Part of it could be the general feeling by those in the GOP that they are losing the cultural and political wars in this country and the America they want to see is no longer and won’t be again. That reality must frustrate them so much that they simply don’t know what to stand for anymore. Throw into the brew Obama’s skin color, liberalism and his trouncing of Republicans twice, and it's easy to see what has led to this headless, directionless party.
I cannot even imagine what will happen to the GOP should Hilary Clinton run and beat them in the next presidential election. That may well spell the complete downfall of the party. When that happens, I hope at least they don’t try to take the whole country down with them in the process.