By Brent Budowsky - 02/15/12 10:40 PM EST
In a sign of how far the conservative movement has fallen, Mitt Romney, the Jay Gatsby of the 2012 campaign, told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) the magnificent lie that he was a “severely conservative” governor of Massachusetts. The CPAC delegates then voted for Romney as their presidential vision of modern conservatism.
Then, while the GOP that suffers a gender gap of intergalactic proportions became the first Republicans in history to seek a partisan religious war over women and contraceptives while opposing pay equity for women, with today’s Republicans being the first in GOP history to attack collective bargaining and seek mass firings of police and firefighters and teachers, Mitt Romney as Jay Gatsby adjourned to his latest home state of the month.
Mitt Romney claims credit in Michigan for opposing the highly successful auto industry recovery program of Obama, while quoting George Romney, who spent a lifetime standing for a nobler conviction politics than the shallow convenience politics of his ever-pandering son, and standing for a more American brand of business than what Rick Perry called vulture capitalism.
George Romney would have respected the Obama way to save the auto industry. Mitt Romney preferred more mass layoffs, more bankruptcies, more pain and more suffering to create more profits for the very few.
To fully understand the magnitude of what could be a GOP death march in 2012, consider the column Wednesday, on this page, by my colleague Dick Morris, who appears to almost hunger for America to fail, and appears almost desperate that data have begun to show America is coming back.
Morris’s column is a calling card for what I call the “Hope America Fails” wing of the Republican Party. They’re betting their fortune that the American economy fails, which is a perilous place for a great party to be. These Hope America Fails Republicans look mournful after good economic news and gleeful after bad economic news.
The words “death march” occur to me when the GOP is reduced to attacking Clint Eastwood when Eastwood is talking up America.
Students of history know that my line of argument closely tracks the line of argument from conservative icon Jeanne Kirkpatrick when she supported Ronald Reagan.
The Hope America Fails Republicans are joined by the Blame Americans First Republicans, who say the jobless want to be jobless and the poor want to be poor, and the Help China Win Republicans, who attack the president’s support for new energy while the Chinese government is mobilizing investments to dominate this business.
There is a great common denominator to what could become the GOP death march of 2012:
The Republicans have become so consumed and blinded by the intensity of their obsession against the president and their pure lust for power that they stand for nothing, and offer nothing to voters, except the intensity of their obsessions, ideologies, hatreds and dislikes.
GOP leaders have forgotten the lesson of Richard Nixon’s farewell address. Nixon warned that those consumed with animosity for their enemies will ultimately destroy themselves.
Republicans today have no George Romneys, Ronald Reagans, Jack Kemps or William Buckleys who promote conservative ideas with a politics of good will. They have few ideas. They offer no good will. Their champion’s own father would be appalled by his pandering to extremism and his Gatsby-like reinventions without any core of lasting values. He is opposed by second-rate pretenders who are neither true conservatives nor qualified for the presidency.
At least Gatsby’s reinventions were to pursue his timeless love for Daisy, while Romney’s are to pursue his next career move.
As Republicans now turn their venom against one another other, their death march advances and it is springtime for Obama.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. in international financial law from the London School of Economics, and can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.