Three Blind Mice
By Charles M. Blow
The Republicans have reached a new low, literally.
According to the most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the percentage of Americans who view the Republican Party positively is at an all-time low. Meanwhile, President Obama's positive rating is at an all-time high, and the Democratic Party's positive rating is near its high.
Why? Because the Republicans have dissolved into a querulous lot of nags and naysayers without a voice, a direction or a clue, and we are not amused.
And who has surfaced as their saviors? Bobby Jindal, Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh -- the axis of drivel.
Let's start with Jindal, who delivered his now-infamous, numbingly rote response to Obama's national address in a kindergarten cadence. He fumbled his facts and sealed his fate. He then scurried off to Disney World to lick his wounds in a place where they appreciate a character and a fairy tale. Goofy.
As for Steele, the Republicans seem to be suffering from buyers' remorse. They apparently didn't show him the job description. They wanted a wheeling-and-dealing, Rovian maestro. Instead, they got a bobbing-and-weaving, camera-loving mouthpiece.
On Sunday, he continued his ludicrous, "off the hook" mission to appeal to the hip-hop set by going on the D.L. Hughley show on CNN and calling Rush Limbaugh an "entertainer" with an "ugly," "incendiary" style. Spot-on observations -- and brave. But, alas, illusory.
Limbaugh delivered a blistering, frothy-mouthed rebuttal on his radio show, admonishing Steele to pump his brakes and stay in his lane (hip-hop references just for you Mr. Steele): "It's time ... for you to go behind the scenes and start doing the work that you were elected to do instead of trying to be some talking-head media star, which you're having a tough time pulling off."
Steele predictably bowed and scraped and repented.
The whole sorry episode reeked of the same cowardice that the entire party is showing in the face of this howler, afraid of offending his Limbaugh-tomized minions of the far, far right.
The Democrats know the Republicans are afraid to confront and disavow Limbaugh, so they keep poking him, and he keeps snapping like a rabid dog. This is a brilliant bit of Machiavellian strategy on the part of the Democrats. (I didn't know that they had it in them.)
Commenting on this circus of absurdities, Steele told the "Today" show on NBC that "there's a lot of popcorn going around for folks who are watching this and enjoying it." You betcha. Keep it coming. You guys are obviously blind to the damage you're doing.
The past two weeks perfectly illustrate why the Republican ranks are withering -- the mindless bickering with the left and spineless groveling to the right.
The future of the Grand Old Party is in the hands of some mighty small men. Jindal should bring back Mickey Mouse ears for them all. It'd be suitable.