There is no way for the GOP to look at the electoral results from 2012 as anything but terrible and terrifying. Some in the party have already written off the millennial generation as lost, to the Democrats, and somehow are making plans to recruit those not even old enough to vote. Not sure how elementary school lessons in Republican philosophy are going to work out on the playground, but I can’t wait to see it.
So as the balloons fell for Obama that night in Chicago, there was an immediate and not even slightly subtle shift in the GOP power players. The big boys in Congress, Boehner, McConnell, Cantor and Ryan, still have their places, but in reality none of them will likely try to take the reins for 2016. Ryan had his chance at the VP slot, but proved he just is not ready for the spotlight. Also, his policies are widely out of step with the centrist outlook of the population, so even if he wanted to make a run for the big chair, he would have to soften his stance on a large number of the social issues and learn what the words “balanced approach” mean.
One of the few places the GOP still holds a majority sway that is not letting up is the governor’s house. Across the country they represent 30 of the 50 states and actually picked up one this year. Some of that popularity is because some of these Republican governors are closer to and more connected with their constituents; they tend to look at things in a more balanced manner. Others keep a tight hold on their seat because no matter how far right they swing, the people of that state just eat it up and ask for more. Either way, it’s about listening to the locals.
Stepping out in front of the pack is Bobby Jindal (R-LA), who recently spoke at a Republican gathering and chastised them left, right, up and down, “We’ve got to make sure that we are not the party of big business, big banks, big Wall Street bailouts, big corporate loopholes, big anything.”
Sure, that sounds good on the surface and Jindal is already trying to pull the party back from the fringes where it allowed itself to be dragged by the Tea Party and other extremists, but Jindal is hardly the person to lead this rally. He doesn’t agree with raising taxes on people who make over $250,000. He doesn’t agree that the GOP needs to actually change their policies towards immigrants, minorities, or affirmative action. In terms of smaller government, instead of helping the struggling public school system, he wants to grab more and more federal and state tax dollars and funnel them into charter schools in his state, where many of the charters are operated as religious institutions and don’t comply with any federal education standards at all.
The talk is changing inside the GOP ranks, but wait until the dust settles to see if the policies actually change. They will soon learn that they lost because of the meaning of the message, not how it was delivered. Ask Mourdock and Akin; there really is not a nicer, gentler way to say “rape isn’t that bad.”