The Incredibly Shrinking Tent

The GOP has long boasted of being a big open tent but it seems to be shrinking quite a bit lately thanks to the "keep out" signs being posted by some of its presidential contenders and leading figures.

Donald Trump played a large role in that by saying most Mexican immigrants are "criminals, drug dealers, rapists" and announcing he'd build a gigantic wall to keep out all those foreigners.  And in his usual generosity he expanded his xenophobic rants to the rest of the world, with the possible exception of good white Christian northern Europeans.

All his competitors jumped on board the anti-immigration train, if they weren't already there. Ted Cruz, the son of a Cuban refugee, has said if any Syrian refugees are to come here they must be Christians.

Trump has spent millions trying to prove the first African-American president wasn't really born in this country (hey Donald, Hawaii became a state back when you were in the 7th grade, but maybe you cut class that day).  And when a supporter at a recent rally said Barack Obama is a Muslim, Trump merely nodded.  A couple of days later he explained he didn't respond because it was not his job to defend Obama, adding that "many people think we already have a Muslim president."

Birthers like Trump and the questioner he didn't challenge aren't ready to let the facts get in the way of their bigotry.

Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, was white and born in Kansas, automatically making her son a citizen regardless of where his he was born or where his father was born (the same applies to the Canadian-born Cruz) but I suppose her son's middle name and his father's birthplace and skin color were just unacceptable.

The only black Republican in the race, Dr. Ben Carson, just banished Muslims from the big tent.  

He and his supporters have been engaging in clumsy damage control that only makes matters worse. Regardless of claims he "was taken out of context" and that may be what he said but it's not what he meant, the retired neurosurgeon did say, " I absolutely would not agree" that a Muslim can be "in charge of this nation." That's because "Sharia is (not) consistent with the Constitution of this country," he explained.

So why should Muslims want to support Carson or any other Republican, especially since polls show most Republicans still believe the Christian president is really a Muslim.

There won't be many Muslims in that big white tent and, if Ann Coulter has anything to say about it, not many of "those f***ing Jews," either.  The popular right wing commentator has said, "we just want Jews to be perfected" by becoming Christians. 

Cruz and Mike Huckabee are mounting a religious crusade to defend the Bible, as they see it, against an onslaught from those heathen Supreme Court justices, especially those who defend the wall of separation between church and state.

They're closing the tent to people of the same sex who wish to marry each other –another abomination in the eyes of high priests Huckabee, Cruz, Santorum and their lot.

Before dropping out of the race, Scott Walker repeated his desire to get rid of organized labor, especially for public employees.  You didn't hear any of his rivals object.  I guess that means you won't find union members in the tent.

There's even a Catholic Republican congressman, Paul Gosar of Arizona, who announced he will boycott the Pope's congressional speech because he doesn't want to hear what the pontiff has to say about global warming.  He said the Pope should spend his time focused on "the condoned, subsidized, intentionally planned genocide of unborn children by Planned Parenthood and society" and not "talk like a leftist politician."

At this rate, the GOP may not need a very big tent after all.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.