"My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball. But tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom."
Clinton Kodos, The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror VII, Citizen Kang
I think I found the ideal quote that sums up the Texas Republican Party's convention and platform and the overall state of the Republican Party in the Obama era.
Late last week the Texas GOP convened in Fort Worth for their biennial
For starters some background about that quote.
In 1996 The Simpsons aired their seventh installment of their annual Halloween episode titled Treehouse of Horror. Since 1990 they have spoofed classic horror films such as Dracula, Nightmare on Elm Street, and The Shining to the sacred cow that is It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! and even The War Of The Worlds.
This installment featured them taking on the 1996 Presidential Election between incumbent President Bill Clinton and Republican Senate leader Bob Dole. It was pretty much the only interesting thing of the campaign as Clinton easily cruised to a landslide victory in the electoral college over Dole. The plot involves the aliens Kang and Kodos taking over the bodies of the two major presidential candidates in their efforts for world domination. Homer exposes their nefarious plans, but in the end the aliens are victorious as they enslave humanity to build a ray gun to aim at a planet no one even heard of.
During a debate, Kodos disguised as President Clinton says that line:
And he receives an applause from the Springfield crowd.
(And I never noticed this until now, but Lisa wasn't cheering with the rest of the crowd)
It began when the Texas Republican Party refused to allow the Log Cabin Republicans, a gay rights group aligned with the Republicans, to set up a booth at their convention. Then the firearms rights group Open Carry Texas was urging convention delegates to openly carry assault rifles inside the Tarrant County Convention Center despite doing so would be in violation of guidelines established by the Texas Alcoholic and Beverage Commission (TABC).
On the convention floor, the Texas Republican Party just produced one of the most ridiculous and backwards platforms ever seen in modern American politics.
They went back on their 2012 plank that was widely seen as being willing to consider immigration reform to one that is a right wing talking point. They included the usual modern Republican Party talking points of repealing ObamaCare, that climate change is a conspiracy theory, people on welfare need to be drug tested before receiving benefits, abolishing the Departments of Homeland Security and Education, repealing the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the 17th Amendment, withdraw from the United Nations, and denying a woman's right to choose even in cases of rape or incest.
The Texas Republican Party also decided to endorse reparative therapy (also known as conversion therapy) for gays and lesbians. This type of therapy believes that one can change their sexual orientation through exercises like these. In August 1997 the American Psychological Association (APA) passed a resolution discrediting this type of therapy.
Nationally the Republican Party has said that they need to moderate their positions if they are to remain competitive in presidential elections, but they have shown unwillingness to cooperate on legislation that would save their party such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
As I pointed on a couple occasions, Texas holds a lot more sway in national politics than people give it credit for and has a well documented history of doing so.
Taking these hardline positions on immigrants, LGBTs, and women may play well in severely red states such as Texas but eventually it will cost the Republican Party votes in future elections and will possibly end their tight grip on the politics in places like Arizona, Georgia, and Texas whose states are seeing demographic shifts that could put those states into battleground status for 2016 and beyond.
Like Kodos, the Republican Party is saying they need to move forward with the changing demographics and positions of the American electorate but as shown with what happened in Texas they would rather satisfy the very small but rabidly vocal conservative base by moving upward, not forward.
Instead of twirling towards victory, the Republican Party will be twirling towards more irrelevancy.