These days, political opposition leaders either aren't respected enough or don't have a big enough megaphone to "lead" a party. They inevitably have to work at their Congressional job, so they aren't the ones heard by the public throughout the day giving opposition arguments. Democrats didn't exactly have one "leader" during 2002-2006, and Republicans don't have one now. Sadly for them, the people who have the biggest megaphones are frequently absurd. Newt Gingrich talks about the scourge of smiling with the enemy, when he has a picture on his wall of him and Ronald Reagan talking about A JOKE REAGAN TOLD GORBACHEV. Rush Limbaugh demands so much fealty and yet is so radioactive that Republican pols keep falling into the trap of criticizing him only to have to apologize later (we're literally talking about five times this has happened now). You have Dick Cheney all over television defending the indefensible Bush Presidency. And overall, the party has nothing but rhetorical weapons to use in their battles against the President.
“Rhetorically, Republicans are having a very hard time finding something that raises the consciousness of the average voter,” said Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party who recently lost a bid to became national party chairman.
Workaday labels like “big spender” and “liberal” have lost their punch, and last fall, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska gained little traction during the presidential campaign by linking Mr. Obama’s agenda to socialism.
So Mr. Anuzis has turned to provocation with a purpose. He calls the president’s domestic agenda “economic fascism.”
“We’ve so overused the word ‘socialism’ that it no longer has the negative connotation it had 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago,” Mr. Anuzis said. “Fascism — everybody still thinks that’s a bad thing.”
When a politician finally gets to open his mouth, he ends up saying something like Obama's choice for a federal judgeship is a secret Muslim.
These are the reasons why Republicans are less popular than Venezuela. The only people speaking for the GOP right now are extremely distasteful to the broad mass of citizens, and they are saying increasingly ridiculous things. They may lock up the angry white male vote for 30 years, but that's not enough to build an electoral coalition.