“The Republican brand has been so badly damaged that if Republicans try to run an anti-Obama, anti- Reverend Wright, or (if Senator Clinton wins), anti-Clinton campaign, they are simply going to fail. “ So is Newt Gingrich’s headline grabbing diagnosis of his party’s chronic illness.
But Dr. Newt’s home remedies are a sign of his real quackery. The first three have to do with energy, including advocating the summer gas tax holiday. The fourth has to do with a moratorium on earmarks, a tired Republican battle cry that won’t find many takers among the G.O.P. senators and representatives who bring home the bacon to their districts.
Four of the remaining five are a hoot and the last is one of the Republicans’ oldest and tiredest recommendations. Here goes:
--Overhaul the census and cut its budget radically.
That’s bound to fire up the people. Joe Sixpack in Xenia is losing sleep about this one.
--Implement a space-based, GPS-style air traffic control system.
Note to Newt: Reagan killed PATCO twenty five years ago. Now you want Star Wars for the runways?
--Declare English the official language of government.
OK, that will bring them out to the ballot box. And it will work real well with McCain's efforts to hive off some of the Hispanic vote from the Democrats.
--Protect the workers' right to a secret ballot.
Here is Newt’s special pleading for anti-union business leaders. Scarcely an issue that will warm the hearts of bitter blue-collar workers.
--Remind Americans that judges matter.
Wait, haven’t the Republicans been reminding us of this for the last, well, 40 years. In any case, for better and for worse, judicial nominations have never been very high on the list of ordinary voters, particularly when the nation is bogged down in an endless war and the economy is tanking.
If this is the best that the Republicans have got, we can pause and take a breath.