Thomas Edsall, in a New York Times op-ed, watches as the Republican cadaver is examined by Reince Priebus's commission and, over there, the Rovians.
There is at least one crucial problem that the authors, all members of the establishment wing of the party, address only peripherally and with kid gloves: the extreme conservatism of the party’s primary and caucus voters — the people who actually pick nominees. For over three decades, these voters have episodically shown an inclination to go off the deep end and nominate general election losers in House and Senate races — or, in the case of very conservative states and districts, general election winners who push the party in the House and Senate to become an instrument of obstruction.
The highly visible presence of the candidates these voters prefer – recall the party’s Senate nominees in Missouri and Indiana, Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, and their bizarre views on rape and abortion — suggests that the Republican Party has a severe, if not toxic, problem: a septic electorate that, in the words of the Mayo Clinic, “can trigger a cascade of changes that can damage multiple organ systems, causing them to fail.”
If that is the case, then the task of the Priebus commission should not have been to diagnose the party’s problems, but to conduct an autopsy. ...Edsall,NYT
Thing is, as the party leaders are coming to recognize, the Republican party's elite are lightyears further away from the Republican base than they are from the left. The top of the party tends to embrace more liberal immigration policies (business loves having access to plenty of low wage workers) and less stringent policies on social issues. And the top of the party wrote the Priebus report.
So here comes trouble for the right and a big opportunity for Democrats (which they will surely fumble, won't they?). "In January, I pointed out (Edsall writes) that 'If the conservative movement continues on its downward trajectory, the American business community, which has the most to lose from Republican failure, will be the key force arguing for moderation.'"
That moment has come. The Priebus report and Rove’s Conservative Victory Project together mark a significant escalation in the battle between the center and the right over the soul of the Republican Party. What has yet to be determined is whether they are fighting over a patient who can be quickly resuscitated or a patient with a chronic but not fatal illness — or a corpse.
The very bluntness of the Growth and Opportunity report reflects the seriousness of the moment the Republican Party faces: increasing difficulty holding on to its House majority; weakening prospects of regaining control of the Senate; and the threat of unending Democratic control of the White House. ...Edsall,NYT
"... Increasingly there is a debate within the GOP," writes Chris Cillizza at The Fix, "about whether pushing austerity and a relentless focus on the bottom line is the right policy and political path for the party."
You bet there is, and should be!
“By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington, instead of the real economy out here in Charlotte and Shreveport and Cheyenne,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who, like Ryan, is mentioned as a 2016 presidential candidate, said in a speech before the Republican National Committee in January. He added: “A debate about which party can better manage the federal government is a very small and short-sighted debate.” ...WaPo
The new wave of moderately good sense sweeping the Republican "elite" has enveloped even Douthat at the Times and the National Review's Ponnuru and other hardheads. Ryan 3.0 is criticized, now, by the center right. You can't help but imagine what it's doing to the boiling kettle over there on the far right that we know as the tea party faction.