Firebrands Out, but GOP Remains the Same
Ezra Klein on Republicans' fitful attempt to reinvent themselves
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Feb 7, 2013 1:34 PM CST
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor gives a policy address Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – Something strange is happening to the GOP. All of the 2016 contenders seem to have reached a conclusion, Ezra Klein observes in a Bloomberg column: "It's better to build a reputation as one of the party’s adults than as one of its firebrands." But Republicans are trying to look more moderate—so long, Dick Morris and Sarah Palin—without actually changing fundamental policy stances. Witness Eric Cantor's policy speech this week, awash in milquetoast policy ideas that were nothing but "appetizers and side courses."

Party renewal isn't an overnight process. "After the 2008 election, Republicans went through their anger phase, engendering the rise of the Tea Party," Klein writes. Then came denial, and the belief that if they nominated the inoffensive Mitt Romney, voters would naturally reject President Obama. Now they're bargaining, trying to change their behavior but not their ideas. "The question now is whether the Republican Party will be forced into the final step of the process: policy change." Read the full column here.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Firebrands Out, but GOP Remains the Same is...
60%
8%
3%
11%
0%
18%
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Comments
Showing 3 of 45 comments
kawahchan
Feb 11, 2013 12:19 PM CST
(R) 2014 & 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: To those Obama's supporters and the Democrats, there is NO one step forward and 2 steps backward or idle the state-governor's programs. You are on your own 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 with the lame-duck Obama. Once the Spring begin, Texas Governor RICK PERRY and the Republicans will bring back the TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline project to create engineering, construction, exploration jobs for the Central States from Montana to Texas. The gasoline price is going up again, that will cause a recession risk soon.
YetAnotherCollegeKid
Feb 8, 2013 8:42 AM CST
We the American people are forcing change on the Republican party with our ballots. If they want to stay in the game, they have to play by our rules; that's what Democracy IS. The problem the GOP has is that they have backed themselves into a corner, and the smart ones know that and are reasonably panicking about it. They can't move towards the center without loosing the fairly large chunk of the electorate on the fringe, and they have so alienated moderate voters that they can't make up the difference in the short term. If they stay hard right, however, there aren't enough people remaining on that side to win them big elections, and the country is moving steadily leftward, so that's a guaranteed loosing tact.Their current position is 'bargaining,' true, but it's also a move of necessity. They are trying to get moderate votes without loosing hardline fringe supporters.Their only long-term winning technique would be to move towards the middle, take the hit of loosing the fringe voters, undoubtedly lose the next couple of elections, but set themselves up as a true viable party going forward. With as many rabid interest groups and super PACs as that would jeopardize, however, I don't think they have what it takes to make that bold a move. I cannot make an honest assessment of whether the GOP is dying- the historical evidence would point to no- but I can say with some certainty that they are on the ropes.
piankeshaw
Feb 8, 2013 7:07 AM CST
The GOP will be harder to change than they realize. It is an amalgamation of fringe elements: the Religious Right, Gun Nuts, The Koch Brothers and their ilk, Anti-Government Anarchists, Right to Life, Survivalists. Each of these groups has a PAC that contributes to candidates. Hard to get elected without them.