During the 1990's and early 2000's I actually felt sorry for the Democrats. They just didn't get it. As they lost the congress and then the presidency, the Dems, horribly out of touch with the American electorate, became a virtual party in exile.
I'm starting to get that feeling again...but this time it's the Republicans who seem to be like a deer caught in the headlights as the American people increasingly see them as out of touch.
I started this week in a good mood. I read that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal was going to deliver the Republican response to President Obama's first State of the Union address. Gov. Jindal is a rising "star" in the Republican party and is seen by many to be the GOP's answer to Barack Obama. His Indian heritage helps the party break the perception that it is a "whites only" club and his intelligent take on issues has helped foster a respected reputation.
However, I saw Gov. Jindal on Meet the Press this past Sunday. I was amazed at how out of touch the Governor was. In addition to muttering nothing more than the same GOP mantras "tax cuts" that have gotten them nowhere, he seemed to be disconnected to the situation that is surrounding him. I thought if he goes on Tuesday night after Obama's speech to give the Republican response with the same demeanor, he's going to get crucified!!
Sure enough, when I woke up Weds. morning here in China I saw all the news agencies talking about Gov. Jindal's amature performance. When I viewed the clip I kept wondering if he was talking to a 4th grade Social Studies class. I was literally cringing as I watched thinking it was some kind of Saturday Night Live parody!
This was possibly the worst opposition response to a State of the Union I have ever heard.
Hope is not lost though. I have seen some voices of reason in the fog. Florida Gov. Charlie Crist came across brilliantly on Meet the Press following Jindal. He was everything Jindal wasn't namely he connected with the struggles the American people are going through and is prepared to rationally address those struggles in the political arena.
Kudos also to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger who had a one on one with George Stephanopolous on Sunday morning. Listening to him on the weekend convinced me we should have some kind of special dispensation to allow the foreign born Governor to run for President. He was smart, rational, and knows how govern effectively in a two party country.
Sadly, until some of these GOP leaders, with both sense and sensibility, are allowed more onto the party's center stage, the Republicans will continue to wander in the wilderness.