The Republican Party, America's second oldest political party and a force in American politics and government since the time of Abraham Lincoln, died on March 1. It was 155 years old.
Death apparently resulted from injuries suffered during a violent mugging by 67 millions voters last November, when Illinois Democrat Barack Obama handily defeated Arizona Republican John McCain and Democrats increased their majorities in both the House and Senate.
However, police did not rule out the possibility of suicide. Washington, D.C. Police Chief Kathy Lanier cited numerous reports that the victim had been severely depressed in recent months after suffering its worst defeat since 1964, when another GOP candidate from Arizona, Barry Goldwater, lost in a landside to President Lyndon Johnson.
Chief Lanier said the Grand Old Party's battered body was found in an alley next to the Omni Sheraton Hotel in Washington, D.C., where the victim was attending a Conservative Political Action Committee conference, after hearing a bleak forecast of its future by congressional leaders and conservative talk show hosts.
The time of death was uncertain, but Lanier said it probably occurred shortly after several witnesses heard the victim declare, "If Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Ron Paul represent my future, I'll kill myself."
Nevertheless, Lanier said she is investigating evidence of possible foul play following a tip that two top Democrats, House Speaker Nancy "Women Can Play Hardball Too" Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry "High Roller from Vegas" Reid, and Obama White House chief of staff, Rahm "Don't Take It Personally, It's Just Business" Emanuel, were seen making threatening gestures toward the victim in recent weeks.
Lanier also said two top Republicans, House Minority Leader John "Tom DeLay Taught Me Everything I Know" Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch "At Least We Carried Kentucky" McConnell, are considered possible suspects because of their grudging support for GOP presidential candidate John McCain and his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
"There are a lot of potential suspects who wished the victim ill will," she declared.
Lanier said she plans to interrogate former White House political adviser Karl Rove; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; New York Times columnist David Brooks, anti-taxation champion Grover Norquist and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "All of them had their own reasons for wanting McCain to lose."
But Lanier ruled out President Bush as a suspect, even though his low approval ratings proved to be an albatross around McCain's neck and that of other Republican candidates. "He obviously didn't help, but he had his own legacy to worry about."
Boehner, while denying that he or his House colleagues had anything to do with the victim's demise, said he was not surprised that Obama carried his own state of Ohio by a 51-47 percent margin.
"From Chillecothe to Cleveland, Obama was seen as the agent of change while McCain was seen as an old guy without any fresh ideas who would have served Bush's third term," Boehner said. "He was like Woody Hayes without a running game."
McConnell was even more critical. "In Kentucky, we have a saying that it's the jockey, not the horse, that wins or loses a race. I think we just had the wrong jockey."
Other Republican leaders were equally downcast after the GOP lost the White House, which it had held for 20 of the last 28 years, and control of Congress, which it held from 1995 to 2006.
"Ronald Reagan must be turning over in his grave," said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, which sponsored the three-day conference to explore ways of leading conservatives out of the wilderness. "But the American people will soon discover that Obama is no FDR or JFK, but a 21st century reincarnation of Marx and Lenin who is determined to lead the nation down the path of socialism."
Funeral services will be held on Wall Street next week.