Last night I watched Marco Rubio's Republican response to President Obama's State of the Union address with some trepidation. After all, TIME magazine has just annointed him on its cover as "The Republican Savior."
And I'm a Democrat. I don't want the GOP to be saved. I want it to continue on down its road to ruin.
Thankfully, proving that my prayers to Tao, Buddha-nature, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster paid off, Rubio gave a thoroughly mundane speech which, in my oh-so-reasonable opinion, wouldn't sway many (if any) Dem-voters to the Republican side.
I tried to picture independently minded swing voters watching Rubio. I did my best to forget what I knew about him, and just focus on how he came across in his big TV moment.
And I'm not talking about his distracting hand motions, dry lips, and weird mid-speech drinking of water from a plastic container (didn't they have a classier looking glass handy?) If anything, those things made Rubio look appealingly human.
No, what struck me was how the GOP continues to fail to understand how out of touch the party is with a majority of Americans.
The country has moved on. The Republican Party hasn't.
It's acting like a guy still trying to sell VHS tapes when almost everybody watches movies on DVD or via online streaming. Dude, your pitch was fine for the 1980s, but not now.
After the financial industry meltdown, most people don't believe that big corporations are innocents, while big government is the evildoer. Neither do most people believe that traditional marriage is threatened by giving same-sex couples the right to marry. And other rights.
Anti-science global warming denying doesn't cut it any more, not after such clear signs as extreme heat/drought events, record rains, unusually powerful storms, disappearing Arctic ice, and such. Blathering about "broken borders" is no longer persuasive when illegal immigration is at a record low.
The stock market is nearing its highest level ever, so obviously the business community isn't fearful of a socialist Obama second term. Marijuana has been legalized in two states; medical marijuana use is steadily spreading; calling for fighting harder on the "war on drugs" is increasingly laughable.
Women aren't willing to roll back the clock and be told what they can and can't do. Forced vaginal ultrasounds, denial of contraceptive coverage, and refusal to support legislation aimed at stopping violence against women isn't going to win female votes for the GOP.
Yet the Rubio I watched last night was clueless about all this.
He sounded almost exactly like Mitt Romney. Except less presidential. If Rubio is the great 2016 Republican hope, I can hear Democratic strategists saying "Bring him on!" I was prepared to see a guy who could reach out to women, minorities, young people, libertarian-minded independents.
But, nope. I saw an old white guy mentality in a youngish brown guy body. Slightly more appealing on the outside; same right-wing crap on the inside.