It’s been one month since President Obama was granted a second term by the majority of American voters (by more than 4.6 million votes, according to up-to-date tallies by David Wasserman of The Cook Political Report), and Republicans are still scratching their heads over how — or more importantly why – it happened. If you go to any Internet search engine and type in “Republicans lost the election because…” you’ll get back a myriad of theories, ranging from Romney’s notion that the Democrats promised gifts in exchange for votes, to the party’s poor stance on immigration, to the pro-choice movement, to the weakness of the candidates, to being not moderate enough, to being overly moderate, to losing “The Slut Vote” (read Lorelei’s excellent piece on that here), etc., etc., etc. And then, of course, there are the really crazy theories, i.e., the long-defunct Acorn organization rigged the election, which, according to a recent Public Policy Polling survey, almost half of Republicans actually believe.
“The principles of our party are sound,” House Speaker John Boehner told reporters at the Capitol a few days after the election, “But how we talk about who we are as a party is clearly—clearly conversations are underway and will continue.”
One wonders how Speaker Boehner had planned to finish that first sentence before stopping himself. Clearly what? “Not elegantly stated,” as Mitt Romney said about his 47% gaff? Or “disrespectful” and “unproductive,” as Senator Marco Rubio intimated in an interview with GQ magazine? Or “very disappointing” and “wrong,” as Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell told msnbc shortly after the election. Or “indelicate” as Conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer implied when he said, “The problem here for Republicans is not policy but delicacy – speaking about culturally sensitive and philosophically complex issues with reflection and prudence.”
Guess what, Republicans? Democrats LOVE hearing you say these things and hope you keep at it.
The Republican Party clearly needs an intervention. Romney adviser Carlos Gutierrez said it best when he told CNN’s Candy Crowley on “State of the Union”: “I think we lost the election because the far right of this party has taken the party to a place that it doesn’t belong.”
In other words, it’s not what was SAID within in the party, or HOW it was said; instead, the problem lies within the party itself.
This, of course, places Democrats squarely in the middle of a happy quandary. They can either keep mum and let Republicans continue to shoot themselves in the foot whilst their right-wing extremists, led by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, drag the party further and further underwater with bleeding foot in tow. Or, in the best interests of a balanced country, Dems can try to enlighten their opponents as to what they have to do to remain relevant. The happy part for Democrats is that even if they attempt the latter, the Republican bubble will prevent the party from listening to, or believing in, what is true about their country and constituents. While silly conservative memes and blogs demonizing the unions, the public workers, the poor, the undocumented, etc., continue to circulate the Web, and Republican-led state governments continue to limit the rights of women and minority groups, the Democratic Party will continue to sit back in contentment and thrive while it watches the Republican Party commit self-extinction.
Republicans don’t need a new language – they need a new platform.