What’s Wrong With the Republican Party?

The most important political story of the last two decades is the Republican Party's journey to wackadoodleland.

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Oliver Munday for TIME

I’ve often banged my spoon on my high chair about the reality-defying extremism and chronic obstructionism and borderline surrealism of the modern Republican Party. Its journey to wackadoodleland is, in my view, the most important political story of the last two decades. In this week’s magazine, I have a column about the post-election GOP freakout, and how the party can adapt to an electorate that is getting less demographically Republican (more diverse, less rural, more educated, less evangelical) as well as less ideologically Republican (less hostile to gays, gun control, and government). The answer, I suggest, is not to try to change the electorate with voter-ID laws and Electoral College-rigging schemes. And it’s not what the party elites seem to think it is:

These days, the party line is that Republicans need to change their approach to politics—message, tone, technology, strategy. They shouldn’t make repulsive comments about rape, question Obama’s birth certificate, brag about their unwillingness to compromise, or suggest that 47% of their fellow citizens are moochers. They should repair their relationship with data, so they won’t be flabbergasted when election night doesn’t ratify the predictions of their pundits. They need to use Skype, improve minority outreach, and stop behaving like crotchety reactionaries who scream “You lie!” during presidential speeches to Congress.

Again, this is progress. But while it may be comforting to blame salesmanship rather than product, their salesmanship has been quite impressive.

No, the main problem is the product. As I try to explain in the column, it’s outdated and it’s bogus. So how can the GOP fix it?

Um…er…that’s another problem.

 

For Michael Grunwald’s column in this week’s magazine, click here.

MORE: Viewpoint: The GOP Searches for a New Strategy — in All the Wrong Places

 

 

132 comments
EricKluin
EricKluin

This coincides with the advent of Fox News,perhaps the most dangerous organization in America

MatteoRodrigo
MatteoRodrigo

Wish we had a party that was fiscally conservative and socially  liberal - A moderate party with no crazies.  So many people like me just tune the GOP out for their social positions and idiotic statements and conspiracies like the whole birth certificate and now the extremists saying that Newtown was a hoax by actors to take away their guns (yeah, like Hillary faked her concussion.)  Id like to think there are more moderates.  But when the GOP starts spewing its 1950s social issues and hates every minority group and is full of people who are on the wrong side of history on gay rights...NOPE cant VOTE for you no matter what.  Not gonna vote for a party that is going to hurt me and the ones I know personally.  I thought they were supposed to be about getting the government out of the bedroom - but then they go ahead and do that.  It seems ilke most politicians they are hypocrites.  Theyt ake a position but its only if it benefits them; otherwise, they come up with a host of excuses.  Just like with civil rights for Blacks,  The Republicans are going to be on the wrong side of history.  Gay equality in all forms will be achieved eventually; one day there will be a gay president; gay people will walk down the streets holding hands with no stares or jeers; children wont be ashamed to say they have 2 daddies or mommies; and young kids in jr or sr high will not be afraid.  Everything will be open.  I thought about this today since its Rosa Parks birthday.and this weeks Corretta/Betty movie.  Just 50 years ago, blacks and whites were separate and all the discrimination rooted in slavery was still in effect - even in the deep south (Im embarassed to live in Atlanta when I think of those old white confederate raising flag southerners..but atlanta is called chocolate city for ar eason)  A generation later, we have blacks in all fields - black doctors, a blaock president (actually biracial) black NFL quarterbacks, a black female billionaire with her own network and on and on - not to mention blacks and whites dancing together on DWTS and prominent biracial people who often have the best of both races.  Its going to be the same with gays.  People like John McCain, Lindsey Graham (although hes never been married and has no kids? HMMM-Mitt Romney and all the other muckety mucks will ahve to explain to their grandchildren why grandpa didnt want the neighbors to be able to protect t heir children; or why they made fun of best friend Heather and her 2 dads - one of whom is an army sear gent.  Well you get the point

drudown
drudown

The problem with the modern GOP is quite simple: the GOP's all consuming efforts to appease its Big Business campaign contributors (domestic and foreign) more often than not creates a conflict of interest with the People the GOP officials took a solemn oath to serve. As such, the "policies" that the GOP dispenses are put forth under false pretenses, e.g., the "Clean Air Act" actually increases pollution, just as "no new taxes" makes the US dollar weaker. Conspicuously, the GOP pushes for "deregulation" under the auspices it "promotes competition" when, in reality, it leads to monopolies and price manipulation by the market players. Finally, the GOP successfully duped the People into a useless war in Iraq that conferred zero strategic, military or fiscal upside for the US. Incredibly, the GOP acts as if our own Cabinet appointments (e.g., Hagel) have to, what, meet with the advise and consent of Israel? Perhaps these GOP members of Congress need to actually read the US Constitution to understand the Separation of Powers, fiduciary duty and self-determination...instead of paying lip service to "strict constructionism". The only thing they strictly obey is the puppeteer funding their campaigns.

"Thy love afar is spite at home." - Emerson

mydads1st
mydads1st

It's not the Republican party, it's a mish-mash of Birthers(B), Evangelicals(E), LibertariansL) and TEA-types(T) have used the scarlet (R) when running for office across the land and got into office. The title is TEA-Republicans, because the TEA-types run and control the real Republican party and those guys are scared of the TEA-types at the local level. It is the local elections where the local level has been bastardized by the fringe elements. Here's the real issue. It doesn't matter what the Congress does in Washington. Depending on what is passed, will determine just how far the Hispanic/Latino population is allowed to progress. TEA-types and their Republican membership are going to pass immigration reform that will set in motion too many roadblocks and hurdles to jump. Even if it passes and gets to the president, undocumented immigrants, will still stay here to protect their American born children and the 11 million will continue to make more children, who in turn will be able to vote in future years. This way will take longer to get their way but it will happen. All the hurdles and hoops created will not make any difference.  The "Bracero Program" which was in place from 1942 until 1964, provided the basis for the situation currently being discussed. During that time so many came into the states legally, brought in and started families which still have deep roots and a basis for discussion at the table. This cross-border program lead to today's issues for thousands if not millions of undocumented to work and live in America. Criminalizing people rather than their actions is the polish the TEA-Republicans and their membership have been using to stereotype people. Nationally and locally, the TEA-types are put on notice. We are watching!

orlando__
orlando__

What’s Wrong With the Republican Party? 

Answer: The Democrat Party

RiedmillerJames
RiedmillerJames

What’s Wrong With the Republican Party? They represent too many special interests and not enough main street Americans.

superlogi
superlogi

After having banged your spoon of drool on your high chair, I suggest you think about where your next meal will come from and whether you or the your paternalistic government will be providing it.

grape_crush
grape_crush

> As I try to explain in the column...

What column? Got a link?


fitty_three
fitty_three

Itinerary for the journey to wackadoodleland:

1. groeny says something fairly stupid about socialists or some such thing

2. someone corrects groeny 

3. groeny says "anonymous coward"

4. groeny has arrived in wackadoodleland with a full set of baggage.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

The modern Republican party could do themselves a lot of favors (and maybe start winning national elections again) if they went back to their Eisenhower roots.  All we hear from the GOP today is how much they hate everything and how everything is a problem.  What happened to the party that used to provide solutions, and served as a fiscally prudent voice for the nation's spending?

MementoMori
MementoMori

The modern GOP is defined by what they don't like.

They don't like gays. They don't like secularists. They don't like scientists and other college educated "elites". They don't like immigrants. They're not all that nuts about minorities, either, especially when they don't toe the line. They don't like data that disagrees with their opinions and they don't like the people who present that data. They don't seem to like women all that much, or at least not enough to not call them names when they disagree. They don't like Europe. The don't even like 47% of their fellow Americans. And the things they do espouse affection for - The Constitution, The Bible, guns, and jingoism - it's mainly so they can wield those things to attack the above list of people they don't like.

It's a party of antagonistic nihilists.. It doesn't need to be 'fixed'. It needs to be replaced.

sacredh
sacredh

"They shouldn’t make repulsive comments about rape, question Obama’s birth certificate, brag about their unwillingness to compromise, or suggest that 47% of their fellow citizens are moochers"

.

They can't do it. It's that simple. The base that eats that stuff up is the only reason they can win congressional districts. If the republicans try to go mainstream and moderate again, the far right will form a third party and the republicans can kiss their chances goodbye. It's like a bad marriage that stays together because the loss of one income would put them both into poverty. 

Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

Since the GOTP allowed the inmates to take over the asylum, I don't believe they can change in any meaningful way.  Even if they stop being anti-everything that wasn't around in the fifties, they just can't help themselves.  Today I read about Republican state rep who compared health insurance exchanges to the Holocaust and another who suggests we start gun education in the first grade with curriculum developed by the NRA.  There will always be fear they can tap into and run with.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

The R's own distant past (emphasis on the "distant") can point them in the right directions: the pro-biz but also pro-governing school of Bob Dole and Gerald Ford, the infrastructure-based time of Eisenhower, the progressive schhol of Teddy Roosevelt, let alone the radicalism of Lincoln. Not that these were perfect but the teavangelical's nihlism will only lead to their own destruction ...and put us at risk too. Demographics alone give us the advantage but the TP's may be beyond hope without their (ironic) Come to Jesus moment.

fitty_three
fitty_three

Weeeeell, I would say that they're on the right track.  They only need more smoke and more mirrors. That way, if the American people do manage to get through all the sieve to keep fellow Americans from Voting While Brown, like us white guys, we'll all be so confused about which way up is that we'll vote GOP just because it sounds reassuring.

Sort of, anyway...

bobell
bobell

I couldn't find the column, Michael, but I get your point. What's going to change things?  It's the conservatives' turn to be mugged by reality, but that's going to take time -- precious time.  Only a contniued gradual erosion of their voter base, which is what will happen as long as they' stay out there on the far side of the universe, will bring them around. If they continue on their current path, at some point they won't even be able to obstruct successfully.  I just hope the country -- indeed, the whole world (global warming, anyone?) -- can survive until then.