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.

  • Share
  • Read Later
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 As I try to explain in the column, it’s outdated and it’s bogus.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

 

 

131 comments
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.

kcponte
kcponte

 @orlando__ Sorry Orlando, it isn't the Democratic Party, it is the ignorance of those who choose to follow the teachings of an ignorant society.  Those who think "The Woman's place is in the Home", and should be stay at home moms but can't because they need to help support the family.  

 It is the Tea Party that has no idea what Government really means and does not understand that this country was not built on the Second Amendment but the backs of those who's hands bled while creating Freedom from the ground up.  

It is the Religions that push ideas that are taken out of context which are picked and chosen from the bible.  

It is the Greed of the Corporations supported by the Republican Party that think they should be immune from paying taxes all the while raping the country by sending jobs overseas to pad their pockets and promote child labor.  

It is the Rich that think they should not pay their fair share so they will have enough money to pay for their Yacht and Mistress Payments while driving down the streets in their Limousines flaunting their wealth snarling at the homeless on the street corners asking for a little help .  

It is the Koch Brothers and the NRA that think they should be making the decisions for the country and not the People and use their wealth to buy Congress.  

 I could go on but it is doubtful you would be smart enough to figure it out without Wikipedia.

TyPollard
TyPollard

@53_3 

Thanks. Now I don't have to read any more comments.

wrathbrow
wrathbrow

@sacredh  

OMG, that shows the number of American's who really are mass conspiracy supporters, and simply can't be bothered with factual discussion. This I would guess is what you get when much of a country is raised to believe in a world that is 6-9K years old, started with a couple that had two sons and no daughters, and a magic talking snake, all based on an invisible person in the sky. Oh, and who had a zombie son.

superlogi
superlogi

@DonQuixotic During Eisenhowers reign, there were 3 recessions, but never like the Obama stagnation.  The fact is, Eisenhower's effective tax rate was less than the buffoon's projected rate.  What we hate is, is that sucking sound made by progressives on economic prosperity all in the name of fairness.  Oh, and by the way, 60% of Eisenhower's budget wasn't directed toward entitlements and welfare.  In fact, almost none was.  So, take out all of the social goodies and you can build a lot of highways.

chatter
chatter

When Eisenhower was Pres, the income tax rate for the rich was over 75%.There were many,many moderate Repubs and much more dialogue and joint problem-solving. We had not yet seen the massive deregulation of the private sector and massive tax cuts leading to the present defecit.

Obviously,spending is needed to stimilate the economy but that necessitates allowing low and middle-income people and elderly to receive value for their tax money(public sector items e.g public transportation) and having more money to spend.e.g not going broke from medical and college expenses.

Of course,going back to the 50's would not be feasible or desirable( exept for the above features) because they were pre-Medicaire,pre civil and womens rights,gay rights etc.

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic No socialist has a right to talk about prudence when it comes to fiscal issues. Obama and the Democrats are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar spent today. They're addicted to spending and it doesn't seem that they will ever break that addiction.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@KevinGroenhagenRepublicans control the House of Representatives, they've been in control of spending for two years now. And most of that is Medicare, Social Security and defense spending. Turn of Rush and pick up a book, you idiot, and stop embarrassing yourself.

MementoMori
MementoMori

@KevinGroenhagen @MementoMori "Straw man"? 

Kevin, I don;t need a straw man, I have you.. If there's any of the above you disagree with, please feel free to offer a correction.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@outsider2011 @DonQuixotic @S_Deemer @KevinGroenhagen 

He doesn't get my goat, I like making fun of him.  I'm well aware that he's a shallow, cowardly internet bully but it doesn't bother me.  He's like a kid that you hold at arms length that flails his arms at you ineffectually; it's no skin off my nose to rebuke his garbage.

outsider
outsider

@DonQuixotic @S_Deemer @KevinGroenhagen  

you know this, but you still reply to him. 

Don't let him get your goat; he just wants to argue. 

Bitter, useless little man can't handle the fact that the country swung left (isn't a left wing country mind, just not as far right as he wanted it to be, as evidenced by the loss of votes the GOP took at every level of gov in Nov. Even where they won, they won with less votes). 

Just ignore him. He'll never admit you bested him.  All he has is name calling


DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@S_Deemer @KevinGroenhagen 

No no, he meant me.  Basically anyone Kevin disagrees with he calls a Socialist and then just starts carpet bombing them with personal insults.  It's basically the only way he can hold any sort of conversation with us.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

A moron might ignore where I pointed out that I'm not taking any services from the Government.  So what is this getting me Kevin?  I'm a Socialist so surely I must be getting something back from the Government right?  Entitlements?  Nope.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

Well I just dumped $3000 extra into the government this weekend through taxes, from my private sector job, while taking nothing back from the system.  If I'm a Socialist I must be a horrible one.  Maybe you're just a moron?

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

@KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic 

As opposed to spending like mad while taking in less revenue.  Yeah, that's so much more responsible.  Do you actually believe the GOP doesn't also have a spending problem?

KevinGroenhagen
KevinGroenhagen

@DonQuixotic @KevinGroenhagen So they have addiction to both spending AND taxing. Gee, that makes things so much better.

If spending were drinking alcohol, the GOP would be someone who has a a drink or two once a month, while the Democrat Party would be Lindsey Lohan.

superlogi
superlogi

@Tero @KevinGroenhagen @DonQuixotic Suck a teat and kill an ant. But why is it so important that you involve yourself in another country's politics?  After all, you screwed up Canada.  Isn't that enough or do you want to export your misery?