Lots of mainstream media outlets, liberal bloggers and others have been talking about the Republican Party’s decline as a viable political force as fewer and fewer people self-identify as Republicans, yet it sure looks as if the GOP has succeeded in framing several crucial debates in the past few weeks.
Rather than the nation moving forward with probes of whether the Bush Administration used torture to shore up a weak case for the war in Iraq, and whether those who authorized torture should be held accountable, the GOP has framed the debate as being about what Nancy Pelosi knew and when she knew it.
Instead of focusing on President Obama’s promise to shut down the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror detainees – a move encouraged by human rights leaders, the international community and a fair number of U.S. military officials including Bush-appointed Defense Secretary Robert Gates – the GOP (with a handful of Democrats) has framed the debate so that it’s about imbuing U.S. communities with NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) fears that detainees brought stateside will somehow break out of a maximum-security prison to threaten your Main Street.
As debate begins this week on the Waxman-Markey clean energy bill – which advocates say would create new jobs, save consumers money, move the nation away from dependence on foreign oil and reduce global warming pollution – the GOP seeks to frame the debate as being about “a national energy tax on middle-class families and small businesses” despite evidence to the contrary.
And instead of having a serious debate about whether California needs more tax revenue to support the schools, universities, health programs, public safety and prisons it needs and deserves, the GOP has framed the debate as being about where next to make bone-deep cuts.
Seems like the GOP is getting its message out just fine.