What Do You Do with a Broken Party?
In a lengthy column today -- but I do suggest you Read the Whole Thing™ -- Liz Mair identifies the five things wrong with the GOP today:
First, a lot of bad candidates have been fielded, and a lot of crappy campaigns have been run. And no, I don’t just mean that candidate whose name immediately popped into your head there.
Second, and tied in with this, we have too many less-than-cutting-edge and insufficiently creative and/or out-of-date consultants making a lot of money off of said crappy campaigns.
Third, our technology sucks in comparison to what Democrats have.
Fourth, growing portions of the electorate—Hispanic-Americans and Asian-Americans—either loathe us or just don’t like us.
Fifth, the party seems to have forgotten that it’s supposed to stand for something—by which I mean actual principles of some sort, and not just, say, the general bumper sticker concept that “OBAMA = BAD.”
Let's tackle these in the same order Liz did, because I think there's a logic to how she's organized her (totally valid) complaints.
• The first and most obvious problem is of course the candidates. In politics, it's said the "personnel is policy." That is, no matter what an executive says he might do, the people he appoints to do the doing are the real test. You can talk like Teddy Roosevelt, but it won't matter if you appoint Chuck Hagel. Similarly, the candidates a party fields are the party. They're the ones voters see on the news and on their ballots. So you can't nominate a Todd Akin while claiming you're not the Stupid Party any more, and you can't nominate Christine O'Donnell while telling everyone you're the voice of sanity. There's either something wrong with the GOP nominating process or with the candidates it attracts. Or both. This isn't an intractable problem, but it's one on which the GOP rank and file need to do some very deep soul-searching.
• Solving the consultant problem is easy: Stop hiring expensive losers. Hire young, hire hungry. Let Karl Rove go back to head-counting in strategic Ohio counties on his own time.