As a former Republican from a family of now former Republicans I continue to watch the ongoing civil war within the GOP and wonder whether sanity can be regained or whether instead the Christofascist/Tea Party virus that has overtaken the party will prove ultimately fatal. The embrace of ignorance, religious extremism and open racism by the GOP continues to shock those who recall the Rockefeller Republican days of our youth. Some in the GOP seem to be realizing that the party risks extinction if the party doesn't change its policies and not just its messaging. A piece in the Washington Post looks at the ongoing war for the soul of the GOP. Here are excerpts:
Some Republicans still argue that nothing is fundamentally wrong with the party. Or nothing that a better get-out-the-vote operation, a field of more appealing candidates, and more outreach to Hispanics and women wouldn’t repair.
But others are coming to the conclusion that the problem goes deeper than that, to the party’s philosophy and policies, which are getting further out of step with the nation.
“Republicans have lost a majority of the popular vote in five out of the last six elections,” GOP pollster Whit Ayres said. “There’s a message there. The Republicans need a new business model, and a new product for the new century. It’s not just a problem of one candidate or one campaign.” That gloomy assessment is shared even by some of the GOP’s most ardent ideological warriors.
Nothing is more central to GOP self-identity than its drive to cut taxes. Conservative columnist Robert Novak used to remark that Republicans were put on this Earth for precisely that purpose.
The problem for them now is that the American public feels otherwise, at least when it comes to the breaks for the wealthy that were enacted under George W. Bush, which Obama promised to end if he were reelected.
In the postmortems following Mitt Romney’s defeat, there are factions that argue that the party should have presented a sharper contrast by demanding ideological purity, and others that say it doomed its nominee by doing exactly that.
“What we got was a weak moderate candidate, hand-picked by the Beltway elites and country-club establishment wing of the Republican Party. The presidential loss is unequivocally on them,” Tea Party Patriots national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement released just moments after the television networks called the race for President Obama on election night.
That prompted this retort from pundit Ann Coulter: “The party’s problem now runs more along the lines of moron showoffs, trying to impress tea partyers like Jenny Beth Martin.”
[T]he polls also say that on the specifics of nearly every major policy question, Republicans are positioned against the tide of public opinion — on taxing the rich and maintaining entitlement programs, on same-sex marriage, on whether climate change is real and manmade, on whether illegal immigrants should be given a path to citizenship.
Sadly, I remained convinced that until the power of the Christofascists within the GOP is broken it will be impossible to turn the party around toward a path towards sanity and renewed appeal to a changing country. There IS something fundamentally wrong with the GOP and it all traces back to the rise of the Christofascist in the party who are more often than not also racists.