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Top 5 Ways the GOP Has Failed to Appear Less Crazy

Despite Republican "rebranding" efforts, the party continues to prove why it doesn't appeal to all Americans.
 
 
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Since their big loss in the 2012 elections, Republicans have sought to “rebrand” themselves as a party that can appeal to all Americans. For instance, a recent document published by the Republican National Convention provides a post-mortem on what went wrong in those elections and how the GOP can recover.

But so far, the Republican Party is failing miserably at appealing to more demographic groups in the country. Recent offensive comments about Latinos and gays have sunk the GOP’s efforts to “rebrand.”

The latest example is a top Georgia Republican claiming that gay marriage will lead to fraud. But that’s hardly the only instance. Here are 5 recent examples of how the Republican Party has failed to appear less crazy.

1. Georgia Republican: Gay Marriage Will Lead to Straight People Exploiting System

Here’s a novel argument against gay marriage: it will lead to massive fraud. That’s what Sue Everhart, the chairwoman of the Republican Party in Georgia, said in comments published over the weekend in the Marietta Daily Journal.

“You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow,” said Everhart. “Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal.”

Everhart added that since a “husband and wife” should be a “man and a woman,” the benefits that come from marriage “should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride.” She also told the newspaper that “it is not natural for two women or two men to be married.”

2. Republican Congressman Calls Latinos ‘Wetbacks’

The big demographic group Republicans are trying to appeal to are Latinos. The fact that party leaders continue to negotiate over some form of immigration reform is one clear way the GOP is trying to ensure success with Hispanics. But the effort to get Latinos to vote for the party is not going so well.

The latest major fail on the appeal to Latino voters front comes from Rep. Don Young (R-AK). Last week, Young told a radio station that his “father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. It takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.”

The term “wetbacks,” of course, has a long and painful racist history. But Young was apparently unaware of the racist roots of the term. In his first statement after the comments were released, he said that “used a term that was commonly used during my days growing up on a farm in central California” and that he “meant no disrespect.”

His second statement was more apologetic. But the fact that it took two different tries at an apology speaks volumes.

3. GOP Officials Says Gays Have ‘Filthy’ Lifestyle

The Republican Party can’t stay away from offending gays and lesbians, despite the fact that 53 percent of Americans support marriage equality.

Last week, Michigan Republican Dave Agema posted an anti-gay article on his Facebook page.

Agema, the Republican National Committeeman in Michigan, posted an article authored by Dr. Frank Joseph. Titled “Everyone Should Know These Statistics on Homosexuals,”  the piece states that students should know about gays and lesbians in order to “preserve their health and avoid cutting off about 15-20 years of their life span.”

The article continues: “Part of the homosexual agenda is to get the public to affirm their filthy lifestyle.”

Despite calls for his resignation, Agema has not backed down. “It’s part of our platform,” he told the Washington Post. “Dr. Joseph, the Family Research Council, the (American Family Association) and others have similar statistics. It’s a principle worth fighting for.”

4. New GOP Star Compares Gay Marriage to ‘Bestiality’

Here’s yet another anti-gay remark, this time from a new-found darling on the right, though Dr. Ben Carson says he doesn’t identify with any political party. Since his right-wing speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, Carson has been praised up and down by Republicans.

But he struck another blow at the GOP’s “rebranding” efforts in a recent appearance on Fox News. Asked by right-wing host Sean Hannity about his thoughts on gay marriage, Carson said: “My thoughts are that marriage is between a man and a woman. It's a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality. It doesn't matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition. So he, it's not something that is against gays, it's against anybody who wants to come along and change the fundamental definitions of pillars of society.”

5. Texas Congressman Jokes About ‘Poking Holes’ in Earth

There’s nothing like being anti-science to paint yourself as the crazy party. Texas Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) wants to drill, baby, drill. And he’s taken to his Twitter account to joke about what that drilling could do to the Earth.

“The best thing about the Earth is if you poke holes in it oil and gas come out,” he said on Twitter. A later Tweet reads: “Funny thing about liberals hating oil and gas – they’re expressing it on computers made from petrochemicals. Why do liberals hate science?” He also said: “There is reportedly $1 trillion in oil off the coast of California. But liberal hatred of science and human progress keeps them bankrupt.”

Republicans aren’t about to win the sane people vote anytime soon.

 

Alex Kane is AlterNet's New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor for Mondoweiss. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

 
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