Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How's That Self-Reflection Workin' Out for Ya?

The moment these Republican supporters realized Obama would win. (via TPM)

The bit of schadenfreude implicit in the title was irresistible but nonetheless apt, in as much as that Palin-style prose was the fuel in the afterburners of backlash and contempt for, of all people, the winners. Sarah wore her scorn on her sleeve -- if not penned on her palm -- and for a few wobbly days in what will now be known as Obama's first term (Gotcha!) the snark from the mistress of the bus did sting. Now, not so much, as she can see the backside of her career from her porch in Alaska.

No, she and her ilk are ill-prepared for the kind of reflection leading to deep resolve and on to real change. They don't have it in them. And a recent article by Democratic guru Robert Shrum framed well the dilemma the Grand Old Party faces as they attempt to assimilate the New. As Atrios would say, na ga ha pen. Here's Shrum in the Daily Beast:
So here is the Republican Party reinventing itself. The GOP majority in the Ohio legislature rushes to defund Planned Parenthood in its post-election session. The orange-tinted speaker of the House proposes to undo Obamacare through “oversight” in the name of “solving our debt and restoring prosperity.” Never mind that health-care reform doesn’t raise the deficit but reduces it. Or that “a new low,” 33 percent of Americans, the anti-Obama bitter-enders, still favor repealing the law (PDF). And a rising star in the GOP future, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, offers a dim view out of the pre-Darwinian past that maybe the Earth was created in seven days—and that since “theologians” disagree, we should teach “multiple theories.
This doesn’t sound like rethinking, or thinking at all, but like the reflex and revanchism of a party that doesn’t comprehend or simply can’t respond to the dimensions of its 2012 defeat. There’s not just the delicious irony that maladroit Mitt Romney, the 47 percent man, will end up with 47 percent of the vote. Outside the South, President Obama defeated his opponent 55 to 45 percent, winning a landslide there as well as in the Electoral College. The bottom line: Romney got elected president of the old confederacy.
The aggrieved and deluded suggest secession—a question that was definitively settled four score and seven years ago. The fantasist who founded conjures up a new website,, “proving” that the president stole Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. Sensible Republicans—perhaps even Boehner, who has to fear the Tea Party and a coup from Eric Cantor, his House majority leader—know this is self-defeating nonsense. So do smart GOP strategists, who for speaking truth to the loss of power were promptly denounced by the grand inquisitor Rush Limbaugh as heretics who want “to get rid of conservatism.”
Of all of this nonsense, Marco Rubio's anti-science stance was -- as I've pointed out -- the least productive in terms of what a revitalized Republican Party requires. Stop with the dog whistles for the Southern evangelicals, okay!? Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and it didn't take a Lee Atwater to figure out the message there; and George W. Bush did the same in 2000 with an appearance at Bob Jones University. That shit's kind of over, boys, don't you think?

Maybe, maybe not:
Schmidt was blunt. The GOP had to abandon the ceaseless pursuit of the last white guy in Mississippi at the expense of alienating the mainstream. He argued a case in point: Republicans should be “a pro-life party,” but not “the anti-contraception” party, which is how Romney sometimes came across as he felt forced to match the ├╝ber-purist Rick Santorum in the primaries. Castellanos mentioned that since Republicans believe in states’ rights, the answer on abortion might be to reverse Roe v. Wade but then leave the decision on the issue to each state.
That wouldn’t bring over those who care deeply about reproductive rights. And it would incite fierce resistance from those who believe life begins at fertilization. But at least such moves would provide the substance and not just the slogans of a party repositioning from the edge.
Obama pollster Joel Benenson responded that such shifts may require two or three more cycles of presidential loss. It took the Democrats that long in the wilderness in the 1970s and 1980s, when only one Democrat won the White House for only one term, and then only in reaction to the Watergate scandal.

Romney supporters learn it's not going to be Mitt. (via TPM)

The problem for the GOP is that they might only be able to reposition themselves at the edges of their slim coalition. Their core base might be immovable. For the Democrats to take three terms during the 32 years from 1976 to 2008 they turned to Southerners, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. What's the GOP going to do, find a professor in economics from Princeton or a pot grower from Washington state who are pro-life, pro-business, and adamant supply-siders, and who will promise a bag of weed and a path to citizenship to our brown brothers from south of the border? Hard to picture.

But it's even harder to picture the New Republicans as anything but the Old Republicans dressed up like Bob Barker, offering Hispanics, blacks, Asians, single women, and young people the chance to "come on down!" and win prizes or "gifts," as Romney put it, that would convince these demographic groups that the GOP wasn't the party that's ignored their needs for over thirty years, in fact insulted and degraded them at every turn.

It just won't wash.

Now what do we do, now that we've driven everyone else out of our party? (via TPM)

An authentic look at the immediate reaction by Republicans to the thumping they withstood Nov. 6th was on display at the meeting of the Republican Governors Assn. last week. Here are the opening graphs to the LA Times report:
A week's worth of soul-searching among Republicans has yielded no shortage of explanations for the party's failure to win the White House. They point to the Obama campaign's early and aggressive effort to disparage Mitt Romney. They admit Democrats had a superior voter-turnout operation. Some point to Superstorm Sandy, saying it robbed Romney of momentum.
What they won't say is that President Obama won a mandate for his vision, or that the GOP has veered too far right in its outlook.
"The president won the election. But I think it wasn't on the issues," Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad said Thursday at the annual Republican Governors Assn. conference. "He ran a heck of a good grass-roots organization and was able to basically convince enough people that they couldn't trust Gov. Romney." [Boldface mine.]
Progressive partisans like me hope the Republicans hang out in their epistemic closure cloud for as long as they want, even if it's damaging to the country in the short term. In the long term, besides us all being dead, there may be some future where policy choices are not limited by discredited conservative malarkey. In fairness to true conservatives -- unsullied by the unhinged coalition of Christian fundamentalists and Galtian libertarian me-me-me-ers -- I submit they're welcome to come back to the fold of rational humans. As for the Republican core dead-enders, I hear there's a lot of wild frontier up in Alaska.

"Real" America? These Obama supporters think so.

Update. Incoming Republican Ted Cruz of Texas warns that even the Lone Star state could go blue if nothing is done about the Hispanic vote. Read about it here.

To drive the point home, the Democratic mayor of San Antonio, Julian Castro, also warns of the same trend. Read about it here.

The potential nails in the coffin of red-state Texas -- the home of George W. Bush and Rick Perry, gasp! -- are illustrated by these two charts, compliments of The Big Picture:

Click images for large versions.

A blue Texas? Holy crap.

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