By Leonard Pitts Jr.

GOP’s Biggest Problem Is Itself

November 12, 2012 12:00 am Category: Memo Pad 30 Comments A+ / A-
GOP’s Biggest Problem Is Itself

“How ya like me now?” — Barack Obama

OK, so Obama didn’t really say that, but surely he must have thought it behind a private smile at some point Tuesday night.

There are no smiles among the Republicans, however, only a pressing question: Can the GOP fix itself? Can a party whose appeal is wholly white and mainly male learn to appeal to a rainbow electorate which is neither? Especially after it has spent so many years denigrating that rainbow, drawing lines in the sand, placing chips on its shoulder.

There are hopeful signs that our long national hissy fit may at last be over. House Speaker John Boehner was making conciliatory noises about resolving the economic impasse the day after the election. Some of the party’s most prominent voices, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have been speaking of the need for the GOP to broaden its appeal. So maybe the adults are finally returning home.

But the place is a wreck, because the kids (looking at you, Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain) have been having quite the party. And repairing it is going to be a long and difficult process.

In the first place, any sudden GOP outreach to those it spurned while courting angry older white men must unavoidably appear conniving, self-conscious and self-serving. And once you get past the problem of appearances, there is the simple question of what it will take to undo the damage the party has inflicted upon itself with those groups.

How long will it be before gay men and lesbians are willing to forgive and forget that the party has routinely demeaned their relationships and impugned their moral fitness?

How long will it take before Hispanics are willing to let bygones be bygones with a party that spoke of “self-deportation” and cheered the notion of a border fence to electrocute undocumented Mexican workers?

And how much time must go by before African-Americans are willing to look past the GOP’s unrelenting and deeply personal disrespect toward the nation’s first African-American president, its insistence on treating him as some foreign Other who, in John Sununu’s memorably tawdry phrase, must “learn how to be an American”?

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GOP’s Biggest Problem Is Itself Reviewed by on . "How ya like me now?" -- Barack Obama OK, so Obama didn't really say that, but surely he must have thought it behind a private smile at some point Tuesday night "How ya like me now?" -- Barack Obama OK, so Obama didn't really say that, but surely he must have thought it behind a private smile at some point Tuesday night Rating:

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Comments

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Jones/827014412 Daniel Jones

    This was inevitable.

    After enough times, a political smear tactic will not invent an enemy, it will instead create enemies.

    And the GOP has done so.

    I didn’t use to consider myself a Democrat. I voted for Reagan.

    Then I learned his approach was wrong and accepted that.

    The GOP never did, and the repulsive way it behaved over the next couple of decades has been truly despicable.

    • http://www.facebook.com/clarence.swinney Clarence Swinney

      Amen Dan—We can easily balance the 2013 budget—Put an Effective 35% Tax Rate in top 20% incomes—In 2009 they paid 18% AGI tax rate. About 15% effective rate.
      It will hurt no one. They are ultra rich.
      15 Million own us so tax them—We borrowed instead of taxing to let them accumulate great wealth —-Pay back time. simple One Tax Rate does the job.
      Data–Tax Foundation Center 2009 Summary of Income Taxes

      Do it

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/PNDAABOQFWP2WCSVHX4ILBNO54 Edward

        also bring cap gains back to 20% and cut defense 10% take 5% for research and development the rest pays the debt.

    • http://www.facebook.com/clarence.swinney Clarence Swinney

      Dan, is it not sad these rankings in OECD nations. It hurts to list them.
      #1–Largest% of workers in low pay jobs–24% min wage or less. God help us.
      #2-Least tax on corp–35% top–paid 12.1% in 2-11(want a tAx cut?)
      #3 LeAst Taxed—s% gdp—30% for fed state local Overtaxed blarney baloney
      #3 On Inequality–Hear that screaming??? I do. It is Jesus Christ.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_B6RROC4IUESHT322QS5VJVPYRM Lynda

    Ya think!

  • old_blu

    The America I know is growing up, if the GOP don’t grow with it, it will be left by the way-side, that was shown during the election when President Obama was reelected, there is a bigger voice, and it’s not the rich white man anymore.

    All we have to do now is roll up our sleeves, quit fighting and making excuses and get to work.

    • Dol5

      You have said it all. Thank you!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/VTV55S5BALQIDBQFOLH7WIZNSA Don B

    Pogo said it best. “We have seenthe enemy, and it is us!”……That’s what MocConnell, Bachman, Sunnunu et. al need to be waking up to!!! I doubt if they will.

  • foolsdance

    I don’t think the current GOP is capable of ‘getting it.’ I, for one, hope they become extinct and are replaced by a party that is palatable to the voters somewhere in the middle so we can continue to have a two part system – just without the angry old white men.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johnny.thomas.52035 Johnny Thomas

    Now they are blaming Obama for a Cole mine shutting down .Dang he was just reelected a few day’s ago and change is coming .I need help on face book you guy’s .The republicans have over run me and claim democrats can’t be Christians .

    • idamag

      Johnny, these are the things that turned me against the present GOP. The name calling and people like Michelle Bauchmann. Then there is the inference that Democrats are Godless. How about Ann Colter’s book. There is mr republican, himself, rush limbaugh. I have come to associate the Republican party with hate and ugly.

      • barbarahugh

        I do too ! I think that they are very hateful , racist and sneaky every time that this GOP while President Obama was taking his oath they were at the office pledging not to agree with anything and make him a one term president is awful we are ALL americans and if we do not respect our leader what will become of this wonderful country? To know that the President wants to work with both parties and that the GOP does not want to is just plain sad , But I think that to get the GOP to work with The Dems is to get rid of the old ones that are in Congress their mentality is still in the slavery time hateful and racist are two things this country does not need .

    • old_blu

      I’m not a facebookian or I would be there.

    • neece00

      I understand Johnny, I am in a red state and my facebook is swamped with doom and gloom from the election. I am sorry to say that I just ignore them although sometimes that is easier said than done. Good luck.

  • FredAppell

    They would first have to start with disolving the Tea Party or let them leave the party and form their own. Second, they would have to change who and what they truly believe in and that is the most difficult part. The demographics are not going to favor them anytime soon so if the change is sudden than it is disingenuous. Maybe if they tone down their rhetoric and reject the likes of the FOX mouth piece and their minions and actually cooperate with Democrats than perhaps. But it is still a lot to ask of them.

  • nobsartist

    As long as they continue to revolve around the koch brothers and other nazi’s, they have NO place in American politics.

    The dumbest thing they ever did was hook up with the John Birch Society and willard the rat.

    even if willard the rat was the best they could do.

  • bcarreiro

    The GOP is Americas own worst enemy, for they create policies to protect their corruption from being exposed but this is all to evident to 60 million of americans who are well aware and arent as dumb as the god damn republican party. boehner is part of a problem with his only intent was to undermine the president. he put our country on hold to see if a romney/ryan business would take over. WELL NEWSFLASH: OBAMA is detail oriented and maintains fair business practices, boehner you should take a good look outside the box and you may be enlighted. As for Bill, Ted and Trump what you eat dont make us shit.

  • William Deutschlander

    The VERY BEST happenstance for the United States Democracy, is for the repulsive voter rigging, voter suppresion REPUBLICAN CARTEL to enter extinction and dissapear.

    Then the “New Party” could take hold, banning any former Republicans from administration of the “New Party”, in any capacity, this would strengthen our Democracy!

  • ExPAVIC

    The Reality

    Many, many rich, old, bigoted white guys will have to die off before the old, old, used up GOP realizes that they will have to climb out of the 19th century and join the rest of us in the 21st century.

    This from a 70 year-old former Republican who after returning from Vietnam realized that the smart people who cared about people were Democrats.

  • ehershon

    I have no doubt that the Far Right Wing of the Republican Party consider the election a temporary setback as they firmly believe that God is a Republican and that He is on their side. Just ask them! If you’re wondering where the next batch of angry old white men will come from, consider this. Ultra -Conservatives have been organizing after school Bible classes all across this country to indoctrinate their youth into the “right and proper” way to think, both politically and morally. Most of these classes are taught in our public schools as an after school activity. Some of these classes are legitimate bible study, but belong in the church while others are blatant political classes that promote creationism over evolution and political ideology. If you don’t believe it, do a Google search on “after school bible classes.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joan-Maurer/100000910841619 Joan Maurer

    I see no evidence that the bubble has burst for the likes of Rush and the other wingnuts. The Republican party must repudiate this element. A good first step would be to stop demonizing science. Climate Change has serious economic implications and plenty of room for American ingenuity.

  • howa4x

    Before the GOP can remake it’s image and become a more mainstream party they have to challange the orthoxy that has been created inside their bubble. The framers of the constitution were smart enough to now that religion and government dosen’t mix, but the GOP isn’t that smart. They allowed the religious right to have way too much say in the national agenda. The GOP has always been hostile to abortion, but this new evengelical group pushed it to become anti science as well. It started in the Bush administration with intelligent design, and the prohibition on using stem cells for research, and carried into the party dialogue about climate change. Now no matter how much evidence is availible on the subject, the party rejects the notion because it is only gods will, not man that is doing this. That is a hard concept for thinking people to take, and pushes them further from the party .The Tea party influence of slash and burn the budget, cut all entitlements but leave the wealthy alone hurts them everywhere in the fairness arguement. Also their anti immigration stance makes it impossible to cut a deal, and alienates Latinos.. The GOP was sucessful in another area that helped undo them. Since Reagan, the party choose the rich over the middleclass and poor, but made the middle class whites think it was the poor that was the yoke around our necks, and trickle down economics was what was needed. This one idea started the stagnation of the middleclass and the Wall St meltdown took whatever wealth the middle had and wiped it out. It woke up a lot of people. Protecting the rich at all costs seemed less a great idea since they are not the job creators and took most of their tax cuts offshore. As of today the GOP won’t let that idea go They the wealthy 1% have too much influence in the party. and causes choosing profits of the few over enviornmental protection of the many, and isn’t helping with the young who are very green on these issues. The party also has to deal with who has the microphone and what are they saying. Limbough, Beck, Palin, Huckabee, Coulter, Hannity, and O’Reiley are great at stirring up whites, but really don’t appeal to anyone else. They have become sort of institutionalized inside the party, and have huge followings. They all make millions and won’t give that up so fast. What will Murdoch do, kick out Roger Alies from head of the news division, change Fox news to make it more middle of the road?

    These aren’t even all the issues, just the tip of the iceberg.

    So how is the GOP going to change when they have entrenched stakeholder groups that have been given power and influence? Who gets in the lifeboat and who goes into the water on the GOP Titanic? That is the question they have to answer if they want to survive as a national party

  • Jack Wormer

    “There are hopeful signs that our long national hissy fit – BEGUN BY THAT “GREAT COMMUNICATOR”, WHOSE DECADES LONG WHINES ABOUT GOVERNMENT AND PAEANS TO “RUGGED INDIVIDUALISM” ARE STILL MISTAKEN FOR COMMUNICATIVE “TALENTS” – may at last be over.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jim-Myers/100001512942781 Jim Myers

    MAYBE WE ARE LOOKING AT THIS THE WRONG WAY.

    If the “Right” becomes more “TEA PARTY”, ultra-conservative, it will likely pave a path to a long line of Democrats holding the White House, as well as making it easier for Democrats to win Congressional elections.

    • neeceoooo

      It might also make it easier to get things done in Washington

  • Pamby50

    Unfortunately to GOP on the local level hasn’t gotten the message. On the national level the GOP may be trying to be more inclusive but that is not going to happen in the states. They are happy with the way things are. Until we turn some red states at least purple, the Southern strategy will still be in place.

  • Diogenes67

    No one has talked about Rafalca. How’s he taking it? Still dancin’?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/PMVMZMDLRQL3TRK5RNOHJVZPHU stoptheinsanity

    The Republicans were bitch-slapped in the face by reality after relying upon their own skewed polls and media that constantly pacified their desires for favorable political advantages. As long as they do not distance themselves from the extremists in their party, they will continue to be a ever-shrinking and irrelevant demographic. Republicans have long talked about their party being a tent of inclusiveness but all of their actions were the exact opposite of that assertion.They have pandered to and cozied up to angry white men as their core constituency. This election has shown them that the Old Southern strategy for winning elections is dead. We live in a diverse nation and an ever-increasing electorate composed of blacks, hispanics, asians, jews, and unmarried white women. They are the future of our nation. Unless, and until, Republicans genuinely conform and embrace this new constituency, instead of denigrating and alienating it, they will continue to lose national elections. Even after this election, the things I am hearing from the Republican party is the same old status quo garbage. They want to make up so many reasons as to why they lost the election but fail to assume any personal responsibility themselves. Their agenda still is to demonize President Obama and to remain intransigent and obstructive in regard to anything that he attempts to accomplish for the good of the country. The Republican party, in its current form, is dead. Real conservatives in their party need to stand up and take control of their party from the extremists such as the Tea party, Limbaugh, Hannity, O’Reilly, Murdoch, Adelson, Norquist, Koch Brothers,Fox News, Congressional republicans, corporations, etc.

    • daniel bostdorf

      Agreed..

      The American people collectively understood these neo-republican fascist lies and voted.

      Electoral College:
      332 Obama to 206 Romney/Ryan/Rove/Koch.

      The fascist lost. At least for the next 4 years….

  • Katstiles

    Amen Brother Pitts. Everything I’ve read and heard so far tells me the Right Wing Dingbats and Looney Tunes are still in charge of the GOP!

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