Saturday, January 31, 2009


With the Republican Party flailing and try to find its way in an evolving political landscape, the election of Michael Steele, the first African-American to lead the party, smacks of the Palinism (picking someone because they bare a superficial resemblance to some popular candidate) that seems to be pervading Republican decisions. While I hope the move is a genuine sign of change, I hesistate to imagine that being likely. With around 95% of African-American voters voting for Obama and, similarly, an overwhelming majority of Latinos (around 66%), Republicans have a lot of work to do in order to appeal more widely. As the U.S. demographically shifts to being a minority majority country, the increasingly white, rural, ultra-conservative, and xenophobic GOP of people like Rush Limbaugh will not suffice. At this point I honestly can't imagine how this change would take place, and it will take a lot of soul-searching on behalf of Republican leaders to bring about such a large change in strategy. 

However, though Democrats clearly came away with a huge victory this year, supporters need to be wary here as well. While many in the Democratic party speak of grassroots change and reference progressive issues, when the time comes to defend those issues, they are often forgotten. The most recent example was a provision in the stimulus package that would have subsidized birth control and family planning services for the poor. This measure was lambasted as shelling out millions of dollars, when in actuality, all real estimates highlighted that it would save the U.S. far more money than it would cost. At the first sign of protest, Democrats dropped this provision from the bill without so much as a fight, only to not even be able to garner ONE Republican vote for the stimulus in the house. This rapid capitulation doesn't bode well for the rest of the session, I hope I am proved wrong.

I guess it doesn't take long for optimism to die...

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