You’ve Gotta Hand It To Conservatives.

Following the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the GOP employed the Southern Strategy which was designed to employ racism in order to gain votes from long-time southern Democrats. It worked. As a result of the strategy, Republicans were able to win the White House in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, and 1988.

It took Southerners to break the GOP hold in 1976 and in 1992.

But after the disastrous presidency of George W. Bush, the GOP lost Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008. Seeing that demographics were aligning against them, conservatives employed an equally disturbing strategy. Sure, they continued to appeal to racists after Democrats elected the nation’s first black president. But they based their new strategy on six pillars:

1 – Government obstruction
2 – Corporate political donations
3 – Erasing limits on political donations
4 – Voter suppression
5 – “Model” legislation designed to implement right wing ideology at the state and local levels
6 – The use of conservative-dominated radio and cable TV to relentlessly attack Democrats

These strategies are now almost fully in place. Since 2009, Teapublicans in the Senate have blocked nearly 400 bills and dozens of appointments. The Teapublican-controlled House attempted to shut down the government. The conservative-dominated Supreme Court ignored decades of precedent to rule that money equals free speech; that corporations are people and therefore entitled to contribute to political campaigns; that the Voting Rights Act is no longer needed; and that individuals and corporations should be allowed to spend unlimited amounts on politics.

Concurrently, conservatives realized that it is easier to sneak bills through state legislatures than through Congress. So they began an all-out attack on groups that traditionally fund Democrats, such as labor unions. They have also pushed ideological legislation through ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and similar groups that gave us such ideological bills as Arizona’s racist SB 1070 and legalized discrimination laws such as Arizona’s SB 1062.

As a result of these efforts, corporations now have more power and influence on government (at all levels) than ever before. There has been an avalanche of corporate money from the Koch brothers and others financing political advertising disguised as “issue” ads. There are virtually untraceable millions of in political spending to influence elections. And tens of thousands, if not millions, of minorities, the elderly and the poor will be denied their right to vote in this and future elections.

The tactics have even succeeded in pushing aside dozens of moderate Republican politicians. To make matters worse, Democrats seem to have no real strategy to combat these strategies. And, with few exceptions, Democratic candidates seem to think the best way to be elected is to run away from their party’s principles and pretend they’re Republicans.

Senatorial Amnesia?

It is well-known that there were more filibusters during Obama’s first term than in the entire previous history of the Senate, forcing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to resort to the extraordinary measure of changing Senate rules. As a result of the GOP obstruction of presidential appointments, federal judicial offices are grossly understaffed and overworked.

Yet GOP senators Marco Rubio and Richard Burr recently blocked two more judicial nominations. What’s shocking and somewhat amusing about their GOP-stopping moves is that both of the nominees were recommended to President Obama by the very same GOP senators who blocked them!

Come again?

You read that correctly. Senators Marco Rubio and Richard Burr each recommended a judge then took the extraordinary step of “blue slipping” the candidates after President Obama nominated them. One of the nominees, William Thomas, would have become the first openly gay black man to serve as a federal judge. He had been awaiting confirmation since late 2012 until the president finally withdrew the nomination.

That, of course, raises a few questions. Did Rubio not know that Thomas was gay when he recommended him to the White House? What possible impact could Thomas’ sexual orientation have on his ability to perform as a competent judge?

And what of Burr’s recommendation? He refuses to say why he blocked Jennifer May-Parker. Did he learn of something that would disqualify her as a federal judge? Did he contract amnesia or dementia forgetting that he had made the recommendation? Did he nominate her only because he secretly disliked her and wanted to torture her by leaving her nomination twisting in the wind? Or is he blocking her nomination simply as the result of his Teapublican anti-Obama fever?

These are all fair questions.

Whatever the answers, such behavior is worse than bad politics. It’s outright nincompoopery! And now Rubio expects us to take him seriously as a potential presidential nominee? More important, given the behavior of the GOP for the past decade, why would voters take any of their candidates seriously?