In the penultimate scene of the 1972 movie “The Candidate,” the character played by Robert Redford turns to his political consultant after his surprise victory and says, “What do we do now?” Soon after, he is mobbed by well-wishers and dragged away, never getting an answer to his doubt-filled query.
Demoralized Republicans have been uttering that same line since Tuesday’s devastating loss. It wasn’t just that the GOP failed to win the White House. In race after race, in the House as well as the Senate, in all regions and nearly every demographic, the party went backward.
True, the election outcome was a rejection of Mitt Romney, but it was also a rejection of a political party that for many has become incoherent at best and contradictory at worst. Doubts plague the GOP. It is no exaggeration to call them “severe.”
The Republican Party has more cultural conflicts than the Habsburg Empire. As MSBNC’s Joe Scarborough observed after the election, the only thing that bound the GOP together for the past four years was an aversion to President Obama. But opposition is not a governing ideology, and unfocused anger is never a substitute for relevant conservative ideas.
There is no greater example of the contradictions within the national GOP than its position on same-sex marriage. This summer, Republicans put a plank in their convention platform calling for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Meanwhile, Obama said that while he favors gay marriage, it is up to each state to decide what to do about the issue. It is not a federal matter, in the president’s view.
Read More at The Washington Post . By Craig Shirley.
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