The conventional wisdom says that Repubicans are poised to take back a large number of seats in the House during this year's mid-term elections, but as Rachel Maddow points out, the rift within the Repubican Party over Joe Barton's apology to BP may end up turning conventional wisdom on its head.
As she noted the possibility that the mid-term elections are a choice between what Republicans have to offer rather than a referendum on how the Democrats are governing it's hard to say what's going to happen but that possibility has definitely got Republicans worried given their numerous efforts to try to tell the public what they stand for. Rachel takes us through a little tour of their attempts to sell their brand to the public thus far.
We had the Listening Tour which ended up bombing after just one meeting. Here's a bit from the debacle for anyone that's forgotten about it. GOP Listening Tour Gives Jeb Bush Some Answers: Who Needs High School or College When You Can Listen to Rush Limbaugh.
Then they launched the "America Speaking Out" project, which as Steve Benen noted, isn't working out very well either:
House Republicans launched their "America Speaking Out" project yesterday, an election-year gimmick intended to help give the GOP a policy platform to run on. One of the key problems, as we talked about yesterday, is that the party is asking taxpayers to foot the bill for this.
But there's also the matter of the Republicans' online discussion itself. As part of the initiative, the GOP is creating a forum for their supporters to discuss potential policy ideas. One of the first proposals, apparently promoted by a Rand Paul fan*, was to eliminate provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Republican officials monitoring the submissions removed it from their site. Read on...
Next we got treated to their "Mount Vernon Statement" which Paul Waldman called Founding Father Fetishism and as Rachel noted contained "such generic I love my mama platitudes that even a pinko-commie-elite-infidel like me would be happy signing onto all but one paragraph of the whole Mount Vernon statement".
After taking us through all of their attempts at rebranding and trying to do their best at some turd polishing after the way conservatives governed during the Bush years and trying to make us forget just who's interests the Republican Party represents, Rachel sums up their latest problem which is the party now being divided with its messaging after this disaster in the Gulf has hit us.
Maddow: It's one thing to have the luxury to work out your principles in the abstract, to have the pizza parties and your parchment-ey statements and talk about lovin' America and hating foreign aide or whatever. It's all well and good, until what you want government to do actually gets put to the test, like say when a giant totally unforeseen catastrophe happens like what is happening right now in the Gulf.
The biggest environmental disaster in our country, plainly and inarguably caused by an oil company screwing up. It's exposed deep rifts, deep disagreements among conservatives, among Republicans about what to do and why.
How this plays itself out in the mid-term elections will be interesting but I agree with Rachel that the conventional wisdom on what the mid-term election results were going to be has now been turned on its head. I don't think the Republicans are going to have any success running on being the party of BP and big oil and all the rebranding gimmicks in the world aren't going to change that.