Tina Dupuy: Republicans look for new boogieman
Since incumbent Republicans are in favor of gay marriage, it’s clear — gays are out. Recently Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, have endorsed marriage equality. LGBTs are no longer that group Republicans can win elections by promising to keep them away from us. The GOP swore to protect marriage and on their watch the altar was altered anyway. Now the party of Lincoln is gay-friendly, or at least not as successfully gay-hostile.
Also, Latinos can no longer be characterized as an invading force hell bent on killing us all (remember “the fajita flu?”). Self-deportation, a Republican policy idea to make this country so unpleasant for people who appear to be Mexican that they leave, has attempted to self-deport since Republicans figured out Latinos are also votantes (voters). They are now reaching out to Latinos or as Sen. Rand Paul said at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, “I am a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez.”
With no more gays and Latinos to kick around, who’s next? I’m guessing Republicans are not going to run on sound public policy ideas. It’s not that I’ve become cynical watching the Grand Old Party gain ground by telling minority groups to get off their lawn. It’s just that I’m a realist. Republicans have enjoyed the fruits of the Southern strategy (aka the art of blaming “the others”) — it’s not easy to just turn that off.
Who’s next? Perhaps people on food stamps: currently one-fifth of the country.
Conservatives have already shown a healthy disdain for people who receive any government aid but reserve special scorn for those on food stamps. About 47.8 million Americans are on the program. During the election, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said, “The African-American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps.” People on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) are at an all-time high because, well, poverty is at an all-time high. Who’s easier to raise your voice at than the voiceless? I mean, the working-impoverished should be clever enough to ask their parent’s for a loan, right? Republicans should be licking their chops to get a bite out of America’s hungry.
But let’s not forget children on welfare!
Tennessee lawmakers have floated a bill to deduct 30 percent of benefits from families on Temporary Assistance for Needy Families if children don’t get good grades. These kids are getting free school plus a whopping $185 a month for their family to live on?! The poor kid in school everyone picked on for wearing the same sweater every day? Up till now they’ve had it too easy. They could be crowned the Republican’s new welfare queen!
Don’t forget non-Christians!
North Carolina Republicans have introduced a bill saying the part of the First Amendment specifying the state shouldn’t establish a religion doesn’t apply to them. The bill reads: “Each state in the union is sovereign and may independently determine how that state may make laws respecting an establishment of religion.” An official state religion? Why has no one thought to do this before?! Why has no one looked at Saudi Arabia and thought, “This place is great! We should make North Carolina more like it!” But since Americans have made the mistake of letting Buddhists, Hindus, Atheists, Muslims, Jews and Scientologists live here, now they can redeem themselves by letting the GOP malign them to turn out the Republican base.
I’m sure there are many more for Republicans to choose from. Hatred of the French is cyclical. Scientists have an annoying way of disagreeing with Republicans. “Sluts” should also get at least an honorable mention as a potential group. Since conservatives have been against certain kinds of marriages, single mothers have gotten a pass. They could make a comeback. But as long as Republicans don’t stand for anything other than freedom for corporations, they will need to find a group of people to be their boogieman.
Without gays and Latinos, Republicans are just cradling their crosshairs with nothing to point it at. But don’t worry, they’ll find one soon enough.
Tina Dupuy is an award-winning writer and the editor-in-chief of TheContributor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.