The article is devastating, even if it occasionally tries to soften the blow.
Sure, it can be comical to watch Republican National Committee (RNC) gaffe machine Michael Steele riff on his hip-hop vision for the party or Texas Governor Rick Perry carry on about secession or Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann explain how F.D.R.'s "Hoot-Smalley" Act caused the Depression (the Smoot-Hawley Act, a Republican tariff bill, was enacted before F.D.R.'s presidency), but haplessness does not equal hopelessness. And yes, the Republican brand could benefit from spokesmen less familiar and less reviled than Karl Rove, Dick Cheney and Newt Gingrich, but the party does have some fresher faces stepping out of the wings.
Fresher faces? Like who? Beats me. The only Republican they mention that could be construed as a "fresher face" is Rep. Paul Ryan. And he doesn't exactly come off great.
House Republicans, eager to shed the Party of No label, recently unveiled an alternative to Obama's 2010 budget. It was the kind of fiasco that shows why Washington thinks Republicans are in trouble — and why they really are in trouble.
The disaster began when GOP leaders, after calling a news conference to blast Obama's numbers, released a budget outline with no numbers — just magic assumptions about "reform." The mockery was instantaneous. Then Republicans began blaming one another for the stunt, which generated only more mockery about circular firing squads. And when they finally released the missing details on April 1, the notion of an April Fools' budget produced even more mockery; the substance was ignored. "The President's dog got more attention," recalls Paul Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee.
But if you pay attention, the GOP alternative is not just a p.r. disaster. It's a radical document, making Bush's tax cuts permanent while adding about $3 trillion in new tax cuts skewed toward the rich. It would replace almost all the stimulus — including tax cuts for workers as well as spending on schools, infrastructure and clean energy — with a capital gains–tax holiday for investors. Oh, and it would shrink the budget by replacing Medicare with vouchers, turning Medicaid into block grants, means-testing Social Security and freezing everything else except defense and veterans' spending for five years, putting programs for food safety, financial regulation, flu vaccines and every other sacred government cow on the potential chopping block.
Ryan is one of the smart, young, telegenic policy wonks who have been hailed as the GOP's future, and his budget includes relatively few the-Lord-shall-provide accounting gimmicks by D.C. standards. He knows its potential cuts could sound nasty in a 30-second ad, but he wants Republicans to stop running away from limited-government principles. "We've got to stop being afraid of the politics," he says. "At this point, what have we got to lose?"
The piece has several misfires, such as this unfounded data point slipped into the story to try and create false "balance":
President Barack Obama is popular today, but Democrats in general are not, and they will all face a backlash if they can't reverse this economic tailspin now that they own all the Washington machinery.
The reality, from last week's national poll:
|PRESIDENT OBAMA||70 (68)||25 (26)||+3|
|PELOSI:||38 (37)||45 (44)||+0|
|REID:||35 (34)||49 (48)||+0|
|McCONNELL:||21 (22)||60 (58)||-3|
|BOEHNER:||16 (17)||62 (61)||-2|
|CONGRESSIONAL DEMS:||44 (43)||49 (50)||+2|
|CONGRESSIONAL GOPS:||14 (15)||71 (70)||-2|
|DEMOCRATIC PARTY:||54 (53)||40 (41)||+2|
|REPUBLICAN PARTY:||22 (23)||68 (67)||-2|
I'd say a 54-40 favorability rating for the Democratic Party is pretty good. Sure, Pelosi and Reid don't do so hot, but Time is talking about "Democrats in general", and in that front, Democrats look fairly popular to me.
And compared to Republicans, it's not even close. the 68 percent unfavorability rating of the Republican Party is astonishing, as are the favorability ratings of MConnell, Boehner, and Congressional Republicans.
But really, that's nitpicking. This piece is horrid for the GOP. Such as:
Hispanics, Asians and blacks are on track to be the majority in three decades; metropolitan voters and young voters who skew Democratic are also on the rise. This is why Rogers recently decided to quit being a talking head: "I had a meeting with myself, and I said, Do we really need more white lobbyists with gray hair on TV?" But it's not clear that more diverse spokesmen or better tweets can woo a new generation to the GOP; support for gay rights is soaring, and polls show that voters prefer Democratic approaches to health care, education and the economy. "The outlook for Republicans is even worse than people think," says Ruy Teixeira, author of The Emerging Democratic Majority. "Their biggest problem is that they really believe what they believe."
"The people's desires have changed, but we're still stuck in our old issue set." [Sen. Olympia] Snowe recalls that when she proposed fiscally conservative "triggers" to limit Bush's tax cuts in case of deficits, she was attacked by fellow Republicans. "I don't know when willy-nilly tax cuts became the essence of who we are," she says. "To the average American who's struggling, we're in some other stratosphere. We're the party of Big Business and Big Oil and the rich." In the Bush era, the party routinely sided with corporate lobbyists — promoting tax breaks, subsidies and earmarks for well-wired industries — against ordinary taxpayers as well as basic principles of fiscal restraint. South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint's Republican alternative to the stimulus included tax cuts skewed toward the wealthy; at this point, the GOP's reflexes are almost involuntary.
And lots more. Seriously, go read it. It'll give you enough warm fuzzies to last a day or three.