The Strange Animal | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

The Strange Animal

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Brad "Kamikaze" Franklin

About a year ago I wrote a column eulogizing the Democratic Party, particularly in Mississippi. State elections had just wrapped up, and only one Democrat came out victorious: Attorney General Jim Hood. On the national front, Republicans won seats in Congress, some of them held previously by Democrats. Republican presidential candidates were challenging President Barack Obama, taking shots at a vulnerable commander in chief.

Things didn't look promising for Democrats. I--and many others--wondered publicly what could be done to "rebrand" the party.

Politics is a strange animal. Who would have thought that a year later we still would be talking about rebranding, except the party is now the GOP.

First was Obama's win: The president garnered 332 Electoral College votes. In a year where Democrats were in a weak position to retain a majority in the Senate, Dems took or retained 25 seats while Republicans retained or won just eight seats. Democrats took seven of 11 gubernatorial races as well.

One could argue whether this was a mandate or simply voters choosing candidates who didn't attack women, public education or public services. But no one will debate that the Grand Old Party has taken it soundly on the chin. Almost immediately, Republicans began cannibalizing each other, especially after reports began surfacing that Republican nominee Mitt Romney allegedly had little desire to be president.

Republicans created gridlock on the fiscal-cliff--the 112th Congress practically walked out on Speaker John Boehner. They didn't bring a vote on aid to Hurricane Sandy victims or the Violence Against Women Act. They went on news talk shows in the wake of the national tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary to say that Democrats were politicizing gun control. Then there's the "summer of insensitivity" to women and the arrogant disdain for anyone who isn't rich.

I hope the GOP takes great strides in changing the party's reputation in 2013. That is, if you want to win undecided voters and elections.

Or, you can ignore the signs, remain stubborn and dismiss the fact that the country is now more diverse, more compassionate and more tolerant than ever--and that voters just aren't buying what you've got.

And that's the truth ... sho nuff.

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