How Republicans Use the Power of “Staying on Message”

The Republican Party is a huge public relations machine. Because its leaders have no real goals except grabbing and keeping power (thereby enriching themselves and their cronies), they will say anything and pretend to believe anything, however preposterous.

I was just watching the Republican governor of Louisiana on television, and I was so impressed by his acting that I considered nominating him for an Oscar. This 36-year-old Indian-American (that’s Indian not Native American) was born Piyush Jindal but calls himself Bobby (after a Brady Bunch character).

Jindal’s brow was furrowed and his lips pursed as he delivered his party’s message du jour: Offshore drilling is the answer to our economic problems and the Democratic Congress refuses to permit it.

I have to assume that Jindal (photo below) is not a fool. A Rhodes Scholar, he has a bachelor’s degree in biology and public safety and a master’s degree in political science. He has been elected and re-elected. He is a contender for the vice president’s slot on John McCain’s ticket. He must know that he is misleading viewers. So why is this reputedly bright young man spouting such nonsense?bobbyjindal.jpg

It’s the party message, and that’s what party leaders are going to say from now to November. No matter that it’s a lie. No matter that it’s a stupid lie. If enough people say it enough times, enough voters might buy it for McCain to win the White House (they know they can’t win a majority in Congress, everybody knows that).

You and I may not be Rhodes Scholars, but we can put two and two together to come up with four. So we know that offshore drilling would do little more than help the oil companies get richer than they are. If you have stock in an oil company, you may want to vote for Jindal’s buddies. I’m sure they all have stock in oil companies.

If you don’t have stock in an oil company, here’s all you would get from increased offshore drilling:

– The chance of disastrous oil spills with catastrophic consequences for the environment and tourism

– No chance of oil from offshore drilling reaching your neighborhood gas station for five to 10 years

– No real impact on gas prices, as oil is sold in a global marketplace and America has only a small percentage of the world’s oil

– Short-term reassurance to the public, which would probably slow lifestyle changes that are already producing significant reduction in oil consumption. (But the certainty that the earth’s oil cannot last forever, that someday the piper must be paid.)

The Republicans are betting on two human weaknesses:

– Voters don’t want to make the effort to figure things out for themselves.

– A promise of short-term relief will outweigh sensible long-term policies every time.

Isn’t it a shame that the Party of Lincoln has come to this!