Meet the GOP’s new class of jokers (Martha McSally makes an appearance)

Katie McDonough, assistant editor for Salon, offers a scathing critique of the GOP’s new class of jokers: Meet the “rising stars” of the dumbest rebrand everWelcome to the lamest reinvention in modern history. Why these “young guns” are just as scary as the old male ones:

joker cardsTo answer the questions Andy Kroll raised in his Wednesday Mother Jones piece exposing New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez as a terrible shithead — yes, Martinez probably is the next Sarah Palin. And yes, Martinez is also, as Kroll points out, probably the next Chris Christie. Which is to say that she is currently being floated as a great savior of the Republican Party, even though she is terrible.

But while Martinez and some of the “young guns” being scouted by the National Republican Congressional Committee may make for some more demographically representative campaign ads, the policies they have built their careers on are pretty indistinguishable from the sea of white men who have been driving the GOP into the ground. And it’s these policies that matter most to the politically engaged and highly motived voting blocs — unmarried women of color, in particular — who are shaping contentious elections and whom the GOP so desperately want on its side.

The “Young Guns” — a GOP recruitment program that categorizes its most promising candidates into “contenders,” “on the radar,” and “young guns” — don’t fare much better. Virginia delegate Barbara Comstock, currently running for Congress and considered “on the radar,” called equal pay measures a “left-wing agenda,” and denounced the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act as “partisan.” When debating access to later-term abortion in her state, Comstock declared there was “never” a health reason that a woman would need such a procedure. (This is totally and completely false.)

Arizona “young gun” Martha McSally, currently running for a United States House seat, wants to allow employers to deny their female workers birth control, and — like most of her GOP contemporaries — couches her defense of gender rating in insurance in the language of “religious freedom.” Mimi Walters, a “contender” in California, doesn’t support the inclusion of maternity coverage in health insurance. (How pro-family of her.) Utah “contender” Mia Love defended her party against the “war on women” label by arguing that the GOP — despite working feverishly to defund Planned Parenthood and roll back access to basic reproductive health services across the country — was the party of “choice,” because it wants “more free choice and more liberties” for all.

The names and faces may be unfamiliar to national audiences, but the policies are exactly the same. The hype around Martinez is following the same script that managed to convince the country that Christie is a “moderate.” The “young guns” are more of the same: an army of women who are beating the drum against reproductive rights, fighting equal pay in the states and pulling moves from the same tired playbook.

If it wasn’t such a cliché, I’d say something here about the GOP and the very definition of insanity.

If the party wants to stop its nose dive at the polls with all but an aging population of white voters, they should maybe try to find some candidates whose views and agendas aren’t so disdainful of and hostile to the voters they need to survive. It may also want to stop hailing bridge-burning assholes as the future of the GOP. That might help, too.

Tell us how you really feel, Katie.

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