This weekend Republicans had yet another get together where they planned to figure out how to stop being a minority party without, you know, actually changing the party in any meaningful way. And I think it is important to remember that some of their great ideas are really not going to work. Recently, I’ve been hearing this one, “Never discuss rape.” A better idea would be, “Pretend that you are for abortion exceptions.” As I’ve noted, this is the real hateful position. But it continues to be the one that comes off the least repellent. It just is the case that being an abortion absolutist is going to get the Republicans into trouble.
And this brings me to my general advice for Republicans, “It’s the policies, stupid.” Last week, Bobby Jindal said that the Republicans had to stop being the stupid party. But any party that takes advice about how not to be stupid from a creationist who has done exorcisms is in deep trouble. And it isn’t just that the Republicans are the party of stupid. They are also the party of hateful. Everywhere they seem committed to have no principle to being anything but thoughtless assholes. Except on abortion where their principled stands makes them thoughtless assholes.
It’s getting old to note that the Republicans are talking around their problems. And even I have been saying that eventually they will have to take a look at their policies. But there are good reasons to resist such a move. Traditionally, the Republicans have been pretty good at finding a charismatic leader and going from there. It was only 6 years between the humiliation of Nixon’s resignation and the start of the Reagan party. Now you could argue—and I do—that Reagan became president only because Paul Volcker created a recession just as we were coming to the 1980 election. But there will always be such events that will give Republicans hope.
The Republicans will have to change their policies eventually. The demographic shift is too extreme. So they are bound to do worse and worse in the coming decade. But eventually, they will figure out a way to get Latinos to resent African Americans. Or something. But that will happen. And the price they’ll pay will be giving in on little things. Like immigration reform, which their primary constituency (the rich) want anyway.