Friday, December 7, 2012

Scrooge-Brand® Conservatives Order More Bread

Fat, rich, colleague of futurely deceased Ebenezer Scrooge, miserly old wretch among other virtues, notes that he'll come to Scrooge's funeral, but only if he gets a free lunch. The man illustrates the current message the GOP is hoping will begin to repair their brand—yes, it's a bad thing that the poor are poor, etc., but the only way to fix it is to make sure the rich are VERY well fed. Then, as we know, some crumbs will no doubt fall from the plate or the table, and everyone will prosper according to his worth. And God Bless Us Everyone!
There is a moment in the Alastair Sim version of "A Christmas Carol" (the movie is entitled "Scrooge"), where Ebenezer is having a pre-haunting meal at a local restaurant. To shorthand the fact that Scrooge's miserliness applies to denying himself any pleasure in life too, Scrooge, when told if he has more bread with his meal that it will cost extra, replies: "No more bread." One can imagine the tightness of the fist issuing the tips at that table too.

Later, Scrooge's self-denial is contrasted with one of the businessmen debating the value of going to Ebenezer's funeral. This fellow, a corpulent jerk, notes that he will be happy to go to Scrooge's funeral, so long as there is a luncheon provided. "But I must be fed, or else I stay at home" he notes, patting his rotund belly.

So there's that.

Now, let us note a new pep talk for the newly "open-minded", entitled "The Republican Glasnost", by David Brooks over at the Times. It argues that the revival of the Republican Party and brand has begun, and that two rather unlikely Republicans are showing the way back.

Part of that way, as we have noted earlier, is the now open trashing of the Tea Party by certain Republicans. This is a risky, and one might also say strange strategy for Republicans to pursue. The Tea Party are the very people who helped pull the Republican Party out of the post-2008-election doldrums. Nevertheless, the GOP in the House of Representatives is pushing weepy John Boehner, the hapless punching bag of the Tea Party during the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, as a strong leader of the new, compromise-friendly, Republican Party. Boehner has made it clear that Tea Party extremists will suffer penalties for defying the will of the House leadership, and mainly Boehner, to do a deal with President Obama to avoid the Fiscal Cliff.

Meanwhile, as Brooks notes, people like Marco Rubio, and Paul Ryan, have been remembering to order more bread, and to give verbal tips (sorry, no money of course) and recognition  to America's working class and poor.

Rubio, for example, picked up the Jack Kemp Leadership Award this week, and in his address on Tuesday, Rubio noted that Americans stuck in menial, low-paying, and dead-end jobs, were the stuff on which the American Dream was made. While acknowledging that a crappy, low-paying job isn't what it used to be, Rubio said:
"In the kitchens of our hotels. In the landscaping crews that work in our neighborhoods. In the late night janitorial shifts that clean our offices. There you will find the dreams America was built on. There you will find the promise of tomorrow."
Well, the promise of having a lot of really cheap labor to make rich people's dreams come true anyway.

While Brooks claimed Rubio's identification with poorer, working, Americans, could be the basis for a new hopeful messaging for Republicans to engage the majority of worker-class stiffs, the fact is Rubio's message was basically this: There is nothing that can be done to improve the lot of the unqualified, the unlucky, and "those who have failed to stand up and try again", by working themselves to death for nothing at Walmart.

Right, in fact, Rubio might as well have just said the 47 percent are a bunch of useless bums. And, as we know, it wouldn't be the first time we've heard that view from a Republican, is it?

What Republicans are willing to do at this point, to make themselves seem at least a little bit less like old Ebenezer Scrooge, and especially less like old Mitt Romney, is to order more bread. For in that way, not only can a couple of more pennies be tossed on the table as a tip to one of the proles making some rich American's dreams come true, but the good news is that there will be a few extra bread crumbs for the poor busboy to collect too.

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