February 22 2012

The GOP’s Lost the Plot

Nicole Kurokawa Neily

From the headlines, it seems like there are problems with contraception, the Girl Scouts, and even prenatal testing… really, everything except for the economy. What a relief we’ve taken care of the budget deficit and that scary $15 trillion debt that’s been hanging over our heads!

What’s that you say? Those problems haven’t been addressed? Yet we’re not talking about them? How strange… and how very, very foolish.

As the graph below – an aggregation of public polls collected by the Huffington Post’s Pollster project – shows, Americans feel that the country is on the wrong track by an almost two-to-one margin. Doesn’t that seem like it might be a pretty good target if one were in the business of, say, unseating a sitting President?

But please… don’t go after the topic on everyone’s mind! Certainly, a wiser political strategy would be to play to a tiny segment of the population. How tiny? Well, a recent Economist/ YouGov poll found that only 2 percent of respondents said that abortion was the MOST important issue to them – compared to 38 percent who said the economy, 13 percent who said Social Security, and 12 percent who said health care.

Regardless of your views on the issue, it’s unwise for the GOP to focus solely on such a divisive issue – particularly when the Administration’s economic missteps are so painfully obvious. I understand my colleagues’ concerns over the birth control mandate and its symbolism… but at the same time, I’d prefer that candidates keep their eyes on the prize.

One of the main reasons the GOP took the House in 2010 was their decision to focus on the economy (“where are the jobs” is one of the all-time greatest political slogans ever). To give up the goat when the economy remains so bleak – and when the public still trusts Republicans more than Democrats on this issue – is insane. It demonstrates extremely poor judgment that Republicans are focusing on birth control and so flagrantly overlooking the electorate's priorities. I’m an independent, and quite honestly I’m disinclined to vote for a party that’s so out of touch.

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