What are the Republicans thinking?
The new Senate minority has restored Trent Lott to a leadership position as its first act. You will recall that he left the post of majority leader after being shamed out of it as a result of his racist comments.
Meanwhile President Bush's third major post-election action (after ditching Rumsfield and renominating Bolton) has been to renominate Michael Wallace of Mississippi, rated unqualified for the appeals court by an American Bar Association panel, for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans, after his nomination has already died in the Republican controlled Senate. Bush did this without even consulting his Republican judiciary committee chair, Arlen Specter, who has declared the renomination DOA. The ABA rated him unqualified largely on the basis that Wallace is a racist incapable of treating people who come before him fairly.
Do the Republicans think that the 2006 election was punishment from an electorate that didn't believe that they were racist enough?
Do they believe that the fact that the only close Senate race they won, in Tennessee, resulted in a loss for black Democratic candidate Harold Ford, shows that playing the race card is the only strategy that works for them? Do they believe that their success in the Michigan anti-affirmative action ballot measure and on numerous anti-gay ballot measures showed that this was a winning issue for them? Are they surprised that the successive Powell and Rice appointments to Secretary of State have not produced electoral returns for them?
Did they somehow not notice that Republican George Allen's safe lead in the Virginia Senate race collapsed in significant part on the strength of the fact that he stuck a deer head in some black guy's male box and was a proud pro-Confederate, pro-KKK guy in his college days?
I hope that they do. Because, Republicans, the reasons you lost ground in 2006 have everything to do with corruption, a failed war in Iraq, record budget deficits, increased spending across the board, and a failure to address the economic concerns of middle America.
Nobody thinks you aren't racist enough. You got only 10% of the Muslim vote (enough to make a difference in some races and a big decline from previous elections), you got very little of the Jewish vote, the Catholic vote shifted against you by 16 percentage points, you got less than 10% of the black vote, and you got less of the Hispanic vote than you did in the last election. There are lots of gay men out there who wish that they could vote Republican, but don't because you favor burning them at the stake. You have become the first party in half a century to be in the minority in Congress while having a majority in the South. Your 527s played TV ads playing the race card in almost every single race this year. The voters don't doubt your racist credentials.
And, what was the Bolton renomination about? Shoring up the asshole vote? Our Ambassador to the U.N. was opposed in large measure because he has very publicly shown is utter contempt for the institution of the United Nations. Equally important, in his prior State Department posts, rather than behaving diplomatically, which is what State Department people are supposed to do, he acted like a complete asshole, intimidating people to no end, and getting to the point where the Secretary of State had to detail someone specifically to the job of keeping him from screwing up.
They don't specifically exit poll the racist asshole demographic, but I'm pretty darn sure Republicans have it tied up. If they didn't before this election, they do now. What next?
UPDATE: Bush has also appointed a crisis pregnancy center (i.e. fake Planned Parenthood scam) doctor as head of family planning. The position does not require Senate confirmation.