Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More GOP Report Reax

Benjy Sarlin offers the following takeaways on the GOP self-analysis on Talking Points Memo.

  1. Pass Immigration Reform Yesterday
  2. Listen to Minorities
  3. Gays Aren't Going Away
  4. Epistemic Closure is Real
  5. Look to the States 
  6. Stop Being the Rich Guys
One of Sarlin's more insightful comments came under the heading of Epistemic Closure.

"The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself,” its authors write. “We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue. Instead of driving around in circles on an ideological cul-de-sac, we need a Party whose brand of conservatism invites and inspires new people to visit us.”

As Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) points out, the real challenge for the GOP will be acting on these suggestions.  The party's "ideological cul-de-sac" is maintained by entrenched figures in right-wing media like Fox News and Rush Limbaugh who have enriched themselves pandering to the prejudices and fears of the GOP base.  The problem is that base is shrinking while the constituencies offended by right-wing media (women, minorities, gays, young voters) are all growing.  Fox and Limbaugh seem extremely unlikely to give up a very profitable business model to help Republicans win national elections.  The Huffington Post sampled Limbaugh's predictable response to the GOP report:

"The Republican party lost because it's not conservative, it didn't get its base out," he said, adding, "People say they need to moderate their tone -- they don't." Limbaugh did say that the GOP soul-searching mission was not out of the ordinary.

"The Republicans are just getting totally bamboozled right now. And they are entirely lacking in confidence. Which is what happens to every political party after an election in which they think they got shellacked," said Limbaugh.  (He) made a similar argument shortly following the election, suggesting in November that Republicans "didn't lose because of demographics; 3 million of their voters stayed home."

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