Posted by | September 20, 2012 19:23 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

After Romney’s “47 percent” comments, I’d like to declare this election over. Those remarks weren’t just the “jump the shark” moment for the Romney campaign, they represent the end of the GOP as we know it. This quote from another prominent Republican 26 years ago perfectly captures just how much the modern Republican Party has lost its way:

Millions of working poor will be dropped from the tax rolls altogether. And that’s why I’m certain that the bill I’m signing today is not only an historic overhaul of our tax code and a sweeping victory for fairness; it’s also the best antipoverty bill, the best pro-family measure, and the best job-creation program ever to come out of the Congress of the United States.

That was Ronald Reagan back in 1986 bragging about signing an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). It was a law that removed 6 million Americans from the federal income tax rolls. Before the EITC, the cost of commuting to work, suitable clothing, and child care came to nearly everything the poor would earn from working additional hours. President Reagan recognized this, so he worked with a Democratic Congress to remove those disincentives and get them back to work, because he saw the poor as hard-working Americans, not “victims” leeching off the government. The EITC represents the best of what liberals and conservatives can do when they work together. But rather than embrace the legacy Reagan left behind, Romney and the modern GOP spit on it everyday, and they will pay dearly for it in November.

Heading into the 2012 election cycle, the GOP not only expected to be competitive against Obama, but also to snatch the Senate away from the Democrats. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Claire McCaskill in Missouri were all thought to be easy pickup opportunities, and now they’re all winning handily and expect to be back for another term. Meanwhile, the Republicans are having trouble holding on to one of their own seats in Massachusetts as Elizabeth Warren has surged ahead of Scott Brown, thanks partly to her impressive speech at the Democratic National Convention.

As for the Presidential race? Obama has opened up comfortable leads in Virginia, Florida, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Iowa, North Carolina, and Colorado are still competitive, but my guess is Obama wins them too, losing only Indiana from his overwhelming victory back in 2008. That would give Obama a 347-191 victory in the electoral college.

The GOPs slavish devotion to corporate money, and the priorities of their millionaire and billionaire donors has led them to completely lose touch with the lives of ordinary people. No longer are they the party of Reagan. Now they’re the party that wants to start another war in the Middle East (after Iraq), continue to subsidize the oil companies, the most profitable industry in the history of the world (after the BP oil spill), and give even more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires to “stimulate the economy” (after we already saw this strategy fail under Bush in 2001 and 2003).

There will always be room in the American political discourse for rational conservative principles and ideas. What there will not be room for in 21st century America is homophobic religious arguments against gay marriage, telling Latinos to “self-deport,” and calling nearly half the country lazy, entitled “victims.” There’s a landslide coming in November for this current incarnation of the GOP, and let’s hope a more responsible and respectable opposition party emerges from the rubble.

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