Kathleen Parker: What Republicans learned
WASHINGTON — The headline was inevitable: “What went wrong?”
Republicans plan to commence focus groups and voter-based polls to discover the mystery behind their loss. Having sat staring into space the past couple of days, they now want to get to the bottom of it.
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The bubble in which most politicians and their staffs live is not just a metaphor, apparently. The answer has been so obvious for so long and in so many ways, one has to wonder what these people read in their spare time. Old issues of Boys' Life?
A couple of weeks before the election, I spoke to an audience of about 450 in Florida, the demographics of which were about 80 percent male, 90 percent Republican and, oh, about 99.9 percent white.
Alas, the bulk of my talk was criticism of the Republican Party. If Mitt Romney loses, I told them, it will be largely the fault of the party. As I spelled out the details, nary a creature was stirring. It was painfully quiet.
It was hard to tell whether they resented the messenger or whether they were trying to digest the unpalatable truth. Truth is often painful and the days following President Obama's re-election have been a salted slugfest. Amid the writhing, I rest my case.
Some Republicans stubbornly insist, of course, that the problem was that Romney wasn't conservative enough. Really? In his heart, this may be true. I never believed Romney was passionate about social issues. He embraced them because he had to, but had no intention of pursuing a socially conservative agenda.
But the real problem is the Republican Party, which would not be recognizable to its patron saint, Ronald Reagan. The party doesn't need a poll or a focus group. It needs a mirror.
The truth is, Romney was better than the GOP deserved. Party nitwits undermined him and the self-righteous tried to bring him down. The nitwits are well-enough known at this point — those farthest-right social conservatives who couldn't find it in their hearts to keep their traps shut.
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