Here I am again, blogging early on Friday morning. (Or late on Thursday night, however you prefer to think of it.) Conan's on in the background again - the next to last rerun before he's off the air until he starts on the Tonight Show in June. And in an interesting revelation, announcer Joel Godard apparently won't be going with Conan and the Max Weinberg 7 to LA. He'll be a definite loss to the show, as hilarious as he was. But in an interesting turn, Conan's old sidekick Andy Richter's coming home, taking over Joel's announcer job on the Tonight Show. It makes sense, all things considered - Andy hasn't had much of a career since he left Late Night. (Andy Richter Controls the Universe was great, but Fox didn't give it much of a chance. Quintuplets was pretty awful, he was the only good part of that show. And Andy Barker, P.I. didn't get much of a chance either.) Here's hoping we'll see the return of some classic sidekick days comedy this summer - I'd love to see the return of staring contests and sketches like that.
At any rate, after a month of blogging on love and pop culture, it's time to get political again. The subject this time? The ever-increasing irrelevance of the Republican party as they continue to embarrass themselves in trying to court my generation - the Gen Y crowd the media's caught between lauding and reviling, which tends to be more progressive in thinking. The Republicans, of course, think we're all idiots. (Many of us are, of course - like any generation - but you're not going to make any friends or do anybody any favors by treating an entire generation like a pack of morons.)
It's no secret that a major focus of the party has in recent months been undermining sociopolitical milestones achieved by the Democrats in recent times. Hillary Clinton made it further than any woman running for president to date, and many of her supporters were angry when Obama got the nomination. In swooped the Republicans with Sarah Palin, saying "Sure, she stands for everything Hillary opposed, but you don't care about that! You're angry and stupid, so all you care about is voting for a woman! Why would the actual politics be a factor?" Palin didn't take long to fall from grace, being something of a wreck and a general great example of the kind of person we don't need in high office, poorly vetted as she was in being nothing more than a one-note gimmick attached to the Angry Old Man '08 ticket. As you may recall, I blogged about all the misogyny that entails last fall.
After Palin did her part to lose the Republicans the election and shed even further negative light on their party - which is a challenge unto itself after how terrible George W. Bush and Dick Cheney made them look - they continued down that path with Michael Steele. The Republicans elected him Republican National Committee Chairman shortly after Obama's inauguration as an attempt at: "See? We've got a black leader too! Obama's no big deal!" Of course, politically, Steele's more moderate than most outspoken Republicans these days, which only serves to make him look like little more than a stunt choice to improve the party's image.
And as of late, Louisana governor Bobby Jindal has been pushed forward as a "rising star" of the Republican party. And why? Because he's much more of a hard-line far-right Republican, and more importantly - he's Indian-American. That's all it takes to be a big deal in the party now - firm belief in terrible, regressive far right politics that're only losing relevance, and not being white. They seem to be completely convinced that that's the key to success in the future - undermining Obama by confusing the American people with a non-white political candidate! (And hoping they don't notice that they'd inevitably be espousing the same old terrible rhetoric that the American people are increasingly turning their back on.) Of course, as Jindal's response to Obama's congressional address (Which was a fairly mixed address - not exactly 100% honest, though it was the kind of optimism we really needed to hear, and beautifully orated.) on Tuesday night made clear, obviously nothing was learned from Bush in how he treated the American people. In his response, Jindal criticized government spending on working to provide emergency economic relief, and made some rather outlandish cross-party statements that simply didn't stack-up about government relief in regards to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina relief in Louisiana. (Which isn't something they can foist blame for onto the Democrats.) He approached his response with an extremely clumsy, outright childish tone, talking down to the American people in a voice not unlike that which we'd found grating all through the Bush years. (On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart likened him to trying to sound like Mr. Rogers.) A firm reminder of everything we've been elated to get away from. If Jindal's a "rising star" of the Republican party, they really don't plan on having much of a future.
Steele hasn't been making anything of himself but a novelty at this point either, stating last week that the GOP needs a "hip-hop makeover." Apparently TV, radio, internet, and print ads with a hip-hop theme are going to magically change the way everybody looks at the Republican party. Because it's important to pretend you relate to or represent parts of the country whose interests you've never looked out for - and in fact, outright fucked over on numerous occasions. Steele has, in recent times, also criticized Obama's economic stimulus package as simply being "bling bling." Do you hear that? Yes, that's the sound of America's black populace shaking their heads in embarrassment. (Need I even mention Steele's "slum love" comment?) Steele's basically pandering to incredibly cheesy, tired stereotypes about his own race to appease his political party - which, of course, is openly dominated by the interests of the wealthy and white at the expense of everybody else.
The fact of the matter is, the Republicans don't have a clue how to be relevant to Gen Y, or even in general at this point. These people live in this alternative reality that they personally idealize (Seemingly rooted in the era of Reagan and his 'Reaganomics,' which never worked to begin with.) where nothing will ever change, and we will only continue to run in the same old circles. The Republicans will demonize the Democrats - and everyone else remotely left of far right - and eventually defeat them through accusations of communism and socialism, spending a few years bringing the country down through deregulation and legislation focused on their wealthiest constituents over the general interest and good of the American people. Then the Democrats will get re-elected, clean up their mess, and get torn apart for any and every little misstep, ultimately being harassed until the Republicans either win again or cheat their way through another election. (Even if by a narrow majority, the American people realized who the better choice was in 2000, though it speaks volumes of how easily led people in this country are capable of being when they don't think that Bush did as well as he did, getting the conditions he needed to steal the election.) That we'll somehow continue this cycle without anything changing, ideally, beyond the widespread legislation of morality and consolidation of further power in corporate hands over that of the working populace. (Which also shouldn't be happening in the long run, either, given the widespread movement against these things from younger generations - we're only going to become a more powerful and important political presence as the years pass.)
As the current economic crisis and continual major political shifts we've seen mark American history indicate, the Republicans are dead wrong about making this fantasy world they believe in a reality. Of course, as they've shown continuously in recent months, they think young people are all idiots who can easily be molded into hardcore Republicans with the right faces at the forefront - pushing people like Sarah Palin, Michael Steele, and Bobby Jindal to the forefront as gimmicks more than anything else, saying "Hey, they're not white men! Now you can relate!" Outright insulting to the intelligence of the American people - a consistent trend in their politics as of late as well. They completely miss the point, in their detachment from reality. Their politics are outdated and reprehensible - outright dangerous to the future of this nation. As they made in their recent open praise of Rush Limbaugh in the wake of his announcing that he hoped Obama's efforts to help get the country back on its feet failed, they're more concerned with their disgusting, unsustainable political rhetoric than they are the well being of this nation and its people - let alone the world.
Steele's thinking they can simply give the party a "hip-hop makeover" (When you don't get much less "hip-hop" than Republican) and draw Gen Y voters in droves demonstrates the utter irrelevance of postmodern Republican thinking. George W. Bush helped to sink their party in many regards, having been one of the worst presidents this nation's ever had, and they clearly haven't learned anything from it. It's not their party's image that needs a makeover. It's that their irrelevant, backwards politics need reevaluation and updating - otherwise, the party has no future. And at this point, it'd probably be better for America if the Republican party effectively collapsed. In times like these, what we need is forward-thinking, rather than its reverse. We need leaders willing to be honest with us and respect our intelligence, and politicians not interested in completely screwing over the younger generations in pursuit of their ideals - the politics of the Republican party have hit Gen Y hardest in many capacities, and no "makeover" is going to make us forget that.