"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“An Apocalyptic Cult”: The 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”?

All that said, the biggest question here is not whether the GOP can transform itself, but whether it can even try. At this point, the Republicans are less a traditional political party than what disenchanted former GOP staffer Mike Lofgren has called an “apocalyptic cult.”

And cults are remarkably fact-resistant. Cultists live in a reality of their own construction and, far from being chastened by it, they thrive on rejection. So while the grownups in the party may be reading the writing on the demographic wall and believe it calls on them to abandon extremism, there is every reason to believe the rest of the party will think that writing requires them to double down on it instead.

Indeed, even as Rubio and Boehner were talking sense, party icons were talking the same old craziness. Donald Trump called for revolution in the wake of Obama’s re-election. Ted Nugent called Obama supporters “pimps, whores … welfare brats” and “soulless fools.” Bill O’Reilly said people voted for Obama because he will “give them things.”

And so on.

This, then, is the dilemma Republicans have created for themselves by their own short-sightedness. It was all well and fine to embrace angry white male extremism so long as white male extremism was able to deliver elections. That day is passing and the party awakens in a new America, desperately needing to change but quite possibly prevented from doing so by the very craziness it has so long cultivated.

Ain’t that a kick in the head? For years, the party has won elections by inventing enemies for angry white men to fear. But at this point, the GOP has no bigger enemy than itself.


By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., The National Memo, November 12, 2012

November 13, 2012 - Posted by | Election 2012 | , , , , , , , ,


  1. Reblogged this on Ye Olde Soapbox and commented:
    Add your thoughts here… (optional)


    Comment by Michael B. Calyn | November 15, 2012 | Reply

  2. This is my point exactly. it doesn’t matter what the Republican party says it is or says it believes or says it supports. It diesn’t matter what they SAY about anything. You can’t believe anything they say because it is obvious that they are insincere.
    They will ultimately support anything they believe will get them elected and then do as they please; disregarding what they promised to do and be and believe.
    Power and money. Power and money; that’s all they desire and all they will accept. If squashing newborn puppies was what they thought would work; you would see them with puppies underfoot and a big smile on their face.
    The Republicans have shown their willingness to pretend to be. They have demonstrated their willingness to publicly humiliate even those who side with them in order to get what they want. Herman Cain is an excellent example. Who believes that the Party took him seriously?
    It was so obvious that he was pre-determined to lose; as were the other Republican hopefuls who made a two week run at the nomination.
    No doubt the Party was encouraging them; saying, “You can do it Herman; Michelle; Rick; Newt. We believe you are the person that can be the next president.”
    In fact they knew that Michelle’s extremism, Rick’s racism; Hermans history (allowed to become public just in time to kill his campaign before anyone could really even get to know the guy; Newt’s aging desperation and ridiculous statements would prevent their nomination and they knew Mitt would be whatever worked. They knew that he would appear as more moderate than any of those early candidates; and would seem a viable option; one they might be able to win with.

    Poor Herman. Fooled himself into believing the Party would actually accept a Black man as their candidate; allowing himself to be paraded for the American people to laugh at. Laugh at not because he is black or particularly amusing but because it was so obvious that he was just a dupe being used because of his color to fool Americans into thinking the Republicans are not Racist. I’m sure they hoped that the simple fact that they “considered” him; would gain votes among the Black and the poor of all colors.

    Michelle; not poor Michelle. Not poor Michelle because her views are so extreme and you can tell she is sincere. Wrong party for sincerity Michelle. Wrong party for anything except deception; greed and souless hatred. The Republicans don’t love you Michelle; Newt; Herman; Rick.
    When you ran; the people were asking what the Party thought they were up to. Do they really expect to win an election by running this sad collection of racists; fascists; old fools and wanna be angry white men? Of course they didn’t. They just wanted Mitt to look better than anyone else they might threaten to run. They knew who the nominee would be before the contest even began.
    I don’t know what to say about a Woman who sides with the Misogynists or a Black man who sides with the Racists. I’ll leave that to my female and black friends to judge and condemn if they will; and I’m pretty sure they will.


    Comment by angrymanspeaks | November 14, 2012 | Reply

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