Who am I? Why am I? Where am I going?
So very, very much for the Republicans to ponder in this Winter of the Democrats' Contentment. So many questions. Even the reliable color scheme has gone blurry. Isn't that big-shot GOP strategist Alex Castellanos swirling Republican red with Democrat blue, and coming up with a Washington consulting shop called -- heavens! -- "Purple?" Why, yes.
"Sit tight," the new firm's Web site says. "We are still mixing the colors."
"We're in this rebuilding time," Monica Notzon, a Washington-based Republican fundraiser, helpfully explained this month. "Trying to figure out who we are."
It is into this new world order, this Washington version of an existential whorl, that a steadfastly loyal group of Republicans descend this week, skidding into an iced-over landscape and holing up at the Capital Hilton beginning yesterday for a four-day winter meeting of the Republican National Committee. (Not to be missed on the restorative agenda: a "Reboot the RNC" open house.) They've themed the whole get-together "Republican for a Reason," and left it at that.
"Republican for a reason?" says Stephen Scheffler, a committeeman from Iowa, pausing before a banner carrying the slogan. "I don't know what that means."
Why, it means obstruction and blockage. It means they are against American economic recovery because not a single one of them voted for an American economic stimulus plan. It means they don't want torturers in the past administration prosecuted, and it means they still hate France.
Contenders for the RNC slot include former Ohio vote suppressor Ken Blackwell, and and the Great State's very own Tina Fish of Texas, who promise more kow-towing to the extreme right-wing.
I think that's going to work out real well:
The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base -- but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself.
No matter how miserably the GOP may fail at a comeback nationally, I would imagine that the freaks here in Texas who keep electing them will remain at least ten years behind the times.
Update: Annnnnnnnnnd it's Michael Steele.