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Wed Sep 19, 2012, 05:23 PM

The GOP's Debate With Itself

It's not just Latinos. They've come out as openly hostile to blacks, women and now the 99%. I think that people are beginning to re-discover by hard experience what the Republican vision for govt actually means when you let them implement it. It means returning to the age of robber barons. And that was a bad time to be anybody, except one of the robber barons.

I expected this to be sarcasm, but it wasn't. The Republicans are at the beginning stages of having a conversation with themselves about why they lost the election. You have one group who will argue that the only problem was the candidate at the top of the ticket. You have another group who will argue that the problem was the influence of the Tea Party. Then we'll have little subgroups who think they could have won with Romney if only he was more conservative, or if he had moved aggressively to the middle. Some will blame the Establishment for forcing a squishy flip-flopping idiot on the party. But I really doubt that there will ever be any real consensus about what caused the problem. Mitt Romney will be a punching bag, but that won't sufficiently explain why the GOP blew chances to win Senate seats in Indiana and Wisconsin and Massachusetts and Missouri and North Dakota and Nevada. It won't help them explain why they lost the House of Representatives (if that happens).

I don't think anyone can seriously argue that Rick Perry or Herman Cain or Michele Bachmann were going to do a lot better than Mitt Romney. The candidate is badly flawed, but so were all the other Republicans who ran for the nomination this year. And even if the GOP had a more telegenic and skilled politician, they'd still have to deal with the incredibly unpopular ideas that have become mainstream within the party.

That's the real problem. People don't want to change how our government operates in any fundamental way. They basically like how it has operated since FDR put the structure in place and Truman and Eisenhower ironed out the details. People just want adults to solve problems as they arise, and they don't need all the drama the Republicans create about everything, however mundane. The Republicans have become a radical party whose policies are so different from the status quo, and so unsupported by the people, that they don't really dare speak about their policies openly. That's why Romney is so vague. But anyone else serious about winning would be vague, too, since no one but their base wants what the GOP is selling.

When the Republicans have this debate with themselves in earnest, after the elections, they'll also have to figure out to deal with the problem that they're a party that is openly hostile to Latinos in a country where that is not a viable thing to be.


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