The Republican Party’s efforts to rebrand continue to run up against that biggest of stumbling blocks: the Republican Party’s actual beliefs.
As discussed a couple of weeks ago, the rebranding rollout took some early hits when — among lots of other things — Alaska Rep. Don YoungDon YoungThe Hill's Whip List: 21 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare replacement bill Report: Ryan pleaded on one knee for ObamaCare repeal vote House votes to make it easier to fire VA employees for misconduct MORE called Latinos “wetbacks,” when conservatives lost their collective heads as Google honored Cesar Chavez’s birthday, and when party elder Bill Kristol mocked Republicans for trying to “cater” to young Americans “who [don’t] know anything, honestly” by softening their opposition to marriage equality.
The weeks since that review haven’t been kind to the party’s rebranding, either. In the GOP’s autopsy report, the authors wrote: “Republicans should develop a more aggressive response to Democrat rhetoric regarding a so-called ‘war on women.’ This is important because women don’t just vote in greater numbers than men, they also give Democrats a significant advantage (55-44 in 2012 in the presidential race). Thus, ‘Women need to hear what our motive is — why it is that we want to create a better future for our families and how our policies will affect the lives of their loved ones.’ ”
Naturally, Republicans decided the best way to accomplish those goals was to scream about how the “media covers up Democrat-backed Planned Parenthood’s support for infanticide,” as party chairman Reince Priebus wrote at a conservative online backwater. If his motive was to remind women that their war on women was alive and well, mission accomplished!
Of course, anti-Latino rhetoric continues unabated. “What is interesting and very distracting and very discouraging is [that] after the election, the general discussion from Republicans in Washington was, we’ve got to do everything we can to win votes from the so-called ‘Hispanic voter,’ ” said Kansas Rep. Tim Huelskamp. Interesting, distracting and discouraging — but not for the reasons Huelskamp thinks.
Next there was Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema, who compared “filthy” homosexuality to alcoholism and responded to the subsequent outcry by playing the victim: “In fact, the average homosexual makes more than the average person does. They have better education. And they’re really good at shutting anybody down and embarrassing them so they will shut up.” Smarter and richer? Dastardly!
Down in Georgia, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal refused to “take sides” in student efforts to replace a private whites-only prom in Wilcox County with a school-sanctioned integrated one. Apparently, Deal is afraid of angering his base by endorsing racial enlightenment. In 2013. Meanwhile, the GOP is standing in the way of a gun-purchase background check system supported by more than 90 percent of the American people.
At a party confab last week, GOP committee members sat through such sessions as “How to say what we mean and show that we care” and “Winning the women’s vote.” But when it came time to take on issues, they twice approved resolutions affirming their belief that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Unanimously. Without debate. And the sponsor of one of those resolutions? Good old Dave Agema, who boasted that “[w]e have won the battle.”
Agema might not want to say more on these divisive matters, but the electorate almost certainly will. A party that prizes ideology over reality can’t evolve, not after selling its rank and file on the supremacy of its beliefs. So they have no choice but to carry on, pretending to “rebrand” while the rest of the country marches onward, leaving them far behind.
Moulitsas is the founder and publisher of Daily Kos.