Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mitt Romney's Real Problem: Today's GOP

The critiques of Mitt Romney continue to analyze why his campaign and the man himself continue to appear so incompetent.  While the far right continue to attack Romney the man, a growing list of pundits are starting to focus on the real problem: the insanity of today's Republican Party which limits what any party nominee is allowed to say.  Anything that might depart from the party base's mantra of no taxes, no rights for gays, no contraception, no rights for racial and ethnic minorities, and the need to destroy government is deemed heresy.  Yet the issues and problems surrounding the nation require serious thought and innovative leadership.  Fareed Zakaria - whom I'm sure the GOP deems some sort of dangerous foreigner - looks at the situation in a Washington Post column.  Here are excepts:
[T]he problem is not Romney but the new Republican Party. Given the direction in which it has moved and the pressures from its most extreme — yet most powerful — elements, any nominee would face the same challenge: Can you be a serious candidate for the general election while not outraging the Republican base? 

Fox News anchor Brit Hume got specific in his critique, saying this month that “Romney’s got the presidential bearing down. . . . What he [hasn’t done is] dwell at length on the economic policies that he would put in place.” Why won’t Romney, an intelligent man, fluent in economics, explain his economic policy? Because any sensible answer would cause a firestorm in his party.

It is obvious that, with a deficit at 8 percent of gross domestic product, any solution to our budgetary problems has to involve both spending cuts and tax increases. Ronald Reagan agreed to tax increases when the deficit hit 4 percent of GDP; George H.W. Bush did so when the deficit was 3 percent of GDP. But today’s Republican Party is organized around the proposition that, no matter the circumstances, there must never be a tax increase of any kind.

So Romney could present a serious economic plan with numbers that make sense — and then face a revolt within his own party. His solution: to be utterly vague about how he would deal with the deficit. 

This is not just a story of the rise of economic conservatives. The same pattern has emerged on immigration.  .  .  .  .  the Republican Party is now so strongly opposed to those proposals — which included a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants — that a co-sponsor of the bill, McCain, has renounced his own handiwork.
Romney has curried favor within the party by opposing the Dream Act, supporting Arizona’s harsh law under which police check people’s immigration status at will and proposing “self-deportation” as a way to get rid of undocumented immigrants.

The Republican Party has imposed a new kind of political correctness on its leaders. They cannot speak certain words (taxes) or speculate about certain ideas (immigration amnesty) because these are forbidden.  .  .   .  .   That’s a straitjacket that even Peggy Noonan’s eloquence cannot get him out of.

Zakaria doesn't even get into other social and societal issues, but the same extremism of the GOP base likewise hobbles Romney from adapting any policy or proposal that might outrageous the Bible beaters and gay haters who now predominate in the party.  American society is changing yet the GOP only wants to move backwards in time.  In my view, only continued electoral defeats can hopefully push the GOP to someday again embrace sanity.

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