Mon Nov 12, 2012, 08:21 PM
KoKo (81,473 posts)
Frank Rich: "On the National Circus: Petraeus Affair Just Gets Stranger"
You wrote a month ago that win, lose, or draw, the hard right would continue its takeover of the GOP and no doubt figure out a way to recapture the White House sooner rather than later. What's their path out of the woods in the coming months?
In the coming months, none. This is a time for finger-pointing and hilariously desperate efforts to find instant fixes, especially to its Latino and women problems. Marco Rubio is already heading to Iowa to start offering himself as the Great Latino GOP Hope, but Greta Van Susteren went him one better by offering a one-stop-shopping solution: She suggested (on ABC’s This Week) that Susana Martinez, who has been governor of New Mexico for less than two years, could be presidential timber. If only the Republicans could find an African-American gay woman of Mexican heritage, all the party’s problems would be solved! More seriously, if you look at the GOP’s suicidal talk right now, and the Democratic and liberal triumphalism, it’s very much a replay of what I wrote about in last month’s piece. After LBJ beat Goldwater in a far bigger victory, an out-and-out landslide, in 1964, Republicans moaned about being consigned to minority party status and possibly oblivion; Democrats talked about having won the war of ideas and demographics as well as the politics. (Goldwater only carried his home state of Arizona and a swath of the Confederate South.) Two years later, Ronald Reagan was elected governor of California, and four years later Richard Nixon became president. The core small-government credo of conservatives has been remarkably consistent and resilient ever since and still commands a majority following according to last week’s exit polling. What’s more, the GOP bench — Rubio (who’s very slick by the way), Ryan, Christie, Jindal, etc — is far younger than that of the Hillary-Biden post-Obama Democrats. This new Republican generation will find a way to put a kinder, gentler, Hispanic, female face on the GOP soon enough.
What's the biggest mistake Obama could make during that time to play into their hands?
The mistake he made in his first term: failing to make a strong case for why the Democrats’ version of governmental activism is a practical, viable and preferable alternative to the Republican stand that government’s only apparent duties are to cut taxes, bomb Iran, and stick its nose into women’s health care.
You write this week about the GOP's estrangement from reality on everything from climate change to polling data. Do you see any way back for them from Truthiness to truth?
No. Are the real powers in the GOP going to forswear the echo chamber of Fox News (no matter how much apostate conservatives like David Frum beg them to)? Are they really going to abandon think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute, analysts like Michael Barone, and pollsters like Rasmussen that tell them what they want to hear? Are they going to heed climate change science? Are they going to acknowledge that they don’t have just an “outreach” problem with minorities and women but policy problems that extend beyond the party’s harsh line on immigration (which is corrected easily)? I see no signs. Those who got this election wrong and whom I discuss in my “Fantasyland” piece — typified by Karl Rove and Peggy Noonan — aren’t really giving an inch. They are trapped in their own gated community of aging white America and don’t know how to even ask directions to venture beyond it into 21st-century America. Other Republican grandees are calling the defeat “narrow” or blaming it wholly on Romney’s moderation and inept campaign operation. Obama’s victory has only temporarily nicked the conservatives’ bubble, not burst it.
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