by 99 Seats
The Obama presidency has led the GOP to make verboten a series of policies it either pioneered or which at least some significant segments of the party embraced. So it’s not just that the GOP is living in the ‘past’. I agree with their stalwarts that this is a sort of misleading way to put it. But the ‘Iron Wall’ policy vis-a-vis Obama has put the party in a position in which it is quite hard to play in a national (as opposed to a midterm) election.
I say this ad nauseum: conservatisim never fails, it is only failed. The post-election discussion is already hovering around the idea that Mitt Romney was a bad candidate, that the GOP needs a better standard bearer or better messaging. This ignores the basic fact: the GOP needs new ideas.
Mitt Romney was not a great candidate (though he was also clearly the best candidate of the GOP field), but, in the end, what hog-tied him was the policies. Focusing on his lack of connection or robotic demeanor downplays that people rejected his ideas. I've talked about the Romney campaign's failure in transactional politics before. I think we can expect that on a larger scale, especially as the demographics of the nation continue to shift. Lindsay Graham was right: they're not making enough angry, white men anymore. And besides angry white men, who benefits from the current GOP platform? Pretty much nobody.
Selling that, selling racial and gender resentment, with a brown face or a female face won't solve the basic problem. When people hear about the ideas, they will recoil. This isn't a problem of marketing. It's a problem of the soul. The GOP needs to search for one.