There’s a split between those who believe the party’s problem is cosmetic, those who believe it’s data-based and those who think it’s ideological and policy-based. Within those camps, there’s no common ground on what a better approach would look like. […]The RNC efforts are just one of many, and it's not clear the RNC opinion will hold any more weight than any of the others. The problem is that every individual group and consultancy has obvious reasons to declare that their version of what went wrong is the true one, and everyone else should therefore shut up and keep paying them money. Technophiles are convinced that the Romney campaign just needed to post more things to Twitter. Hard-right conservatives think the answer is to be more hard-right. Karl Rove knows that Karl Rove was right and should continue to be paid the big bucks, so he thinks the answer is to stop sending him candidates who so obviously suck. And every message strategist, everywhere, thinks the answer is in tweaking the messaging.
The constant drama, a number of Republicans say, has denied the party writ large a chance to take stock amid calm. Still, the Republican National Committee is moving ahead with what Chairman Reince Priebus has at times called an “autopsy” into 2012.
If there are any serious, credible attempts at self-reflection, however, I haven't seen them. Yes, various party contrarians have muttered about the necessity of policy reforms and of the demographic hurdles facing the aging, perpetually cranky party; those individuals, however, are in no position to enact such reforms. Nobody is. (Even immigration reform, the supposed easiest fix for claiming a new, more inclusive base, has been stymied by the hostility of hard-right party ideologues; regardless of the much-ballyhooed breakthrough on the Senate side, Republican efforts on the issue look to be a rigged game.) Republican social policies remain captured by the hard-right base; economic policies are tied inextricably to the needs of the big donors that the party apparatus relies so very heavily on. All of this ties into our previous suspicion that the party has devolved into nothing but an elaborate grift, or at least that the party has no particular concept of the difference between true ideology and intentionally astroturfing, well, themselves. And yes, I mean that seriously.
The attempts to unskew election polls; the Dick Morrising of Fox; the business-fueled, Fox-News-promoted "grassroots" of the unironically presented anti-tax "tea party"; state efforts to pass laws banning the recognition of climate change as even a possibility; a religious (literally) aversion to sex and the wommenfolks. The Republican base has now reached a point where facts and propaganda are not just interchangeable, but you're considered a credit to the party for thinking so. Where's the introspection going to come from? Is there going to be a new coalition that says "golly, perhaps not all of science is out to oppress us" or "we now realize that this Agenda 21 nonsense was entirely made up." Is there going to be a new recognition that the female half of the population is, in fact, perfectly capable of deciding certain things for themselves? Not from a movement that considers even the likes of Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell to be traitors.
The GOP remains in a deep ideological retrenchment. While there are certainly many, many efforts to parse out just what went wrong for them in the last elections, so far every one of them has been entirely self-serving. I'm not sure when the party will awake from the current grifts, but there's no evidence to suggest such a thing will be coming anytime soon.