Paul Ryan and the GOP Autopsy

Some thoughts on the Republican National Committee’s “Growth and Opportunity Project,” AKA the autopsy:

While it’s laudable that they decided to take a close look at the train wreck that was 2012, deciding to do it themselves was akin to letting a surgeon operate on himself. Talk about malpractice. No, if the Republican Party really wants to get to the bottom of what ails it, it needs to be willing to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen any time soon. Because, deep down, the GOP doesn’t really want to change; in fact, it doesn’t see anything wrong with its message. The problem, if any, is that their messengers keep gumming up the works.

If only Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock hadn’t been so candid with their beliefs – beliefs, mind you, that an overwhelming majority of Republicans share – then both might’ve won their respective Senate races. Apparently, there are two types of Republicans these days: those who hold extreme views and keep it themselves and those who are stupid enough to actually admit them in public.

Even the suggestion to reduce the number of primary debates was nothing more than good old-fashioned self-preservation. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that last year’s freak show left a bad taste in the voters’ mouths. Limiting the public’s exposure to that spectacle can only help matters. Well, it couldn’t hurt anyway.

But the final proof that the GOP has no intentions of fundamentally changing its tune lies in its continued embracing of Paul Ryan and his budget.  Seriously, how do you try and convince the 47 percent of the electorate that Mitt Romney pissed all over last year that you’re committed to them and then have your prodigal son author a budget that will ostensibly rip the guts out of discretionary spending while, at the same time, rewarding the top 2 percent with almost $6 trillion in tax breaks, all paid for by taking away the hard-earned deductions of the other 98 percent? You can pass all the immigration reform bills you want and be as kind to gays as humanly possible, but if you don’t offer something substantive to the voters that they can support, your message, just like your messengers, will fail in the end.

Bob Shrum is right. You just can’t “put lipstick on an elephant” and pretend everything is hunky dory. The problem with the GOP goes beyond mere rebranding. The product they are selling simply isn’t attracting a large enough market share. In fact, from a business perspective, their market share is declining as their core constituents – white males – continue to shrink as a percentage of the population.

The more I think about it, the GOP doesn’t need an autopsy; it needs a lobotomy.


Author: Peter Fegan

Progressive but pragmatic. Lover of music, die-hard Giants' fan and reluctant Mets' fan. My favorite motto? I'd rather be ruled by a smart Turk than a dumb Christian.

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