is the title of this eye-opening piece by Michael Grunwald at Time which I strongly urge people to read.
Grunwald talked with a number of key Republican insiders, and what they have to say does not indicate that the Republican party has learned that their current path is doomed because both of demography and changing attitudes of young people. As Grunwald notes early in the piece, after mentioning discussions about a possible internal civil war in the Republican party,
But for all the punditry about a coming Republican civil war, it’s not clear that the party really wants to change in any serious way — or that it could change if it wanted to. Even GOP elites, while concerned that winnable races are being sacrificed on the altar of extremism, suggest that the party is likely to stay the course that worked in 2010.
Some Republicans are prepared to dismiss Obama's success with people of color on the fact that he himself is a person of color:
They believe the party is gradually broadening its appeal, citing rising Hispanic stars like Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and newly elected Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina GOP Congressman, argues that his party doesn’t need to change its policies to pander to minorities; it just needs to work harder to sell its policies to them. “Are we more diverse now? Yes. By leaps and bounds? No,” he says. “We’ve got to reach out to a broader array of Americans. But we’ve still got to stay true to who we are and what we believe.”Here let me interject some of my own observations. I find it odd that Grunwald wound iup talking with McHenry, who is very far from being a leader even among the real right-wingers in the House. Of equal importance, if a lily-white person like McHenry thinks he can point at tokens and ignore the reality of demography, it is a clear indication of how out of touch with what is happening many in the Republican party are.
But there is more.
Grunwald points out that some conservatives believed "that shutting down the federal government and even defaulting on its obligations could be good for the economy" and reminds us that Jon Huntsman, even if he were not already irretrievably damage by serving the nation as the administration's Ambassador to China, destroyed whatever remaining chances he had for the nomination with one tweet:
“I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” Republican voters did, but then polls show most GOP regulars don’t even believe Obama is a Christian, many doubt he is a native-born citizen, and few changed their mind after he released his birth certificate. In April 2011, the birther Donald Trump actually topped the Republican presidential-primary polls.There are now few Republican moderates, with Susan Collins being the sole example in the United States Senate (which is why I think Dems should read out to her right now & offer her the chairmanship of Homeland Security if she becomes an independent and causes with them, because she will not survive a Republican primary if she has a sole tea-party challenger - asked Richard Lugar, who was a solid conservative). Republicans seeking the nomination in 2008 could have a stimulus plan, but by this cycle the idea of a stimulus was considered blasphemy against the Gospel according to Grover Norquist and the cardinals of the Club for Growth.
Are there Republican voices who recognize that the current path is disastrous? Consider:
To party elites like lobbyist Ed Rogers, there’s a fine line between principled fiscal conservatism, which he supports, and politically suicidal dogmatism, which leads to candidates like Akin and Mourdock. “We have an angry fist-shaking caucus that says losing with purity is better than winning with nuance, which is crazy,” Rogers says. For four years, Republican politicians have portrayed Obama as a dangerous radical and fought him full time. It’s going to be hard to cut deals with him to solve problems like the looming fiscal cliff without alienating Republican voters who believed what they said. “We’re probably one e-mail away from Benghazi being an impeachable offense for much of our party,” Rogers says. “I think that’s nuts, but that’s where we are right now.”Already we can see signs of this post-election. I saw on tv someone from the Susan B. Anthony List arguing that the reason Republicans did so poorly in the presidential and senatorial contests is that they were not sufficiently socially conservative! Really.
Here I cannot help but think that the appropriate response is something tweeted by Alec Baldwin: "You know your party is in trouble when people ask did the rape guy win, and you have to ask which one?"
Of course, these are the same great minds who when unemployment dropped in the October jobs report claimed the Dems must have cooked the books, and who had to "unskew" the polls that were describing political reality.
Reality - political, scientific, economic - none of this matters when your lens is ideological and you exclude anything that does not comport with your worldview, even when it is screaming with flashing sirens that you are on a dangerous path.
And one flashing siren has to be demography.
Ignore the exit polls that say Obama got 70% of the Latinos vote and pay attention to what Latino Decisions says, that is was more like 75%. Remember this statistic: 50,000 Latinos turn 18 each month.
Note the declining share of Latino voters over the past three cycles - Bush at around 40, McCain in the mid-30s and Romney someplace in the 20s.
Note that in Ohio the African-American share of the vote went from 11% to 15% this cycle, in a state with only 12% of its population black.
Note that cultural issues that used to help Republicans no longer do - same-sex marriage is now accepted by increasing numbers of Americans, and overwhelmingly by younger voters of almost all ethnic and religious backgrounds.
As to abortion? This cycle Democrats were able to get specific about it, and even tie it to birth control, and Republicans were stuck with having to respond to the remarks of the likes of of Ron Kloster, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and even VP nominee Paul Ryan. We found that increasing numbers of Americans accept that the decision to terminate a pregnancy is not something in which they want the government's involvement, but rather it should be left to the persons most affected by it.
And yet, Republicans seemingly still have not learned.
You can read in Grunwald's piece comments by the likes of former Congressman Chris Chocola (who lost that House seat in 2006 to now Senator-Elect Joe Donnelly), who is not President of the Club for Growth. For many Conservatives, they look at their wins in 2010 after overwhelming losses in 2006 and 2008 and assume they can ignore anything except the 2010 cycle. It is like their cherry-picking of polls (like Rasmussen) and isolated factoids on scientific and economic issues so that they can shut their eyes and close their ears to anything contrary to their ideology.
Which is why I think Grunwald's final short paragraph is absolutely correct:
While there will surely be some intraparty sniping during the next few months, for now, Republicans seem likely to stick with their playbook and cater to their base. Even as that base gets older, angrier and less representative of America.We are already hearing and seeing evidence of that - think for example of McConnell's post-election statement.
That Republicans continue in such a direction may help Democrats politically, but in the near term it means a likely continuation of obstructionism, not only in the still Republican-controlled House of Representatives, but insofar as they can by Republican Senators like Jim Demint.
Read the Grunwald piece.