The Republican Party brand is tainted, its leaders recognize, and regardless of John McCain's fate, the institution is in soul-searching mode as the scaled-down convention kicks off today. Many House Republicans have come to believe an Obama victory might be better for the GOP in the long term, reports Politico, because it would force regrouping and present younger, fresher faces to the electorate.
A rejuvenated Republican party would step back from the conservative cultural issues that defined the Clinton reaction, focusing instead on good everyday issues—terrain the party has ceded to Democrats. That can't happen, many admit, without some tough time in opposition. "We came in as the reform party," said Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. "We lost our way. And now we have to get it back."