Editor's note: Jack Cafferty is the author of a new book, "Now or Never: Getting Down to the Business of Saving Our American Dream," to be published in March. He provides commentary on CNN's "The Situation Room" daily from 4 to 7 p.m. ET. You can also visit Jack's Cafferty File blog.
Jack Cafferty says Republicans are missing a golden opportunity to redeem themselves.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Republican Party is becoming a cartoon.
Where to start?
Bobby Jindal: "I'm certainly not nearly as good of a speaker as Obama." Good OF a speaker? How about not as good at eighth-grade grammar either. It's embarrassing.
Sarah Palin? Billing the taxpayers for her kids to travel to official events the children weren't even invited to? She finally agreed to pay back the state for that money she took.
Her per diem charges to the state in the amount of $17,000 while she was living at home instead of in the governor's mansion? She has now agreed to pay the taxes owed on that money. Another tawdry grab at a few dollars that didn't belong to her.
Michael Steele, the newly elected chairman of the Republican National Committee, down on his knees apologizing to the helium-filled poster boy of the conservative right? Pathetic.
If the Republicans are ever to emerge from the long dark night they have created for themselves it will have to be without pandering to the right wing nuts that comprise Rush Limbaugh's radio audience. Didn't they learn anything in the last election?
All of which is to say the GOP is blowing it big time. They were handed a golden opportunity to redeem themselves with the election of Barack Obama -- a chance to line up and in unison condemn the evil their party put in the White House the previous eight years.
The country had had a bellyful of George Bush, Dick Cheney, and the rest of the messengers of darkness in Washington who had sold out the principles of the Republican Party in favor of huge deficits, a doubling of the national debt, and a growing intrusion of the federal government into people's private lives.
But instead of getting on board the change train and recognizing the incredible amount of damage their people had done to the country, Republicans go blithely along as though nothing has happened. They're busy obstructing Obama's programs and criticizing the Democrats' spending plans that are aimed at trying to bring the country out of a horrible recession.
I hate to break it to them, but a lot has happened. And they're not going to like any of it.
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the Republican Party's favorability rating at an all-time low. President Obama's is at an all-time high. The same poll shows that Republicans are getting most of the blame for the partisanship that hinders governmental progress. And perhaps most telling, when asked which party is best equipped to lead the country out of recession, the Republicans trail the Democrats by a stunning 30 points.
And while all this is going on, the GOP ran a straw poll on who the party's nominee should be for president in 2012. Ready?
Mitt Romney finished first followed by Bobby Jindal, Ron Paul and Sarah Palin.
The Republican Party is marching double-time down the road to irrelevance and they don't even know it.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jack Cafferty.
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