It’s been just two weeks since The Most Important Election In Our Lifetime, and the side that lost is gearing up to be a better competitor by the time the next Most Important Election In Our Lifetime happens, in 2016. But first, there comes a period of soul-searching. What went wrong? And who went the wrongest? How does the Republican Party move forward (but not like, you know ... Obama Forward). Over the past few weeks, various GOP thought-leaders have offered suggestions. Bill Kristol said he thinks the party should go ahead and raise taxes on upper-income earners. David Frum said he thinks that the Republican Party should embrace "cultural modernity." Karl Rove said he wants to return to the "50 State Solution." And lots of people seem to generically agree that the next Republican candidate for president should "do some Hispanic stuff."
But other ideas have drawn a lot more attention, suggesting an amusing step-by-step process that your HuffPost List shall now run down for you.
For Starters, Reject Romney Thoroughly: As Ben Smith pointed out, Mitt Romney is getting disappeared from the GOP ranks faster than a dissident in Milton Friedman's Chile. It's easy to see why. Who wants to be associated with the guy who was just at the receiving end of a shellacking from President Barack Obama, especially after an election that was deemed to have been handed to Republicans on a silver platter. Not only did the party come together to unanimously condemn Romney’s “gift” comments (huh, weird how there were mostly crickets when the whole 47 percent debacle went down) -- but now Sen. Marco Rubio is also reiterating his opposition to Romney’s “self-deportation” remark made during the GOP primaries. It’s true that Rubio has taken issue with Romney’s choice of words before, but like most in his party, he spent the last months leading up to the election pivoting to jobs and the economy when asked about his nominee’s non-existent position on immigration. No more.
Then, I Dunno ... Get Better Candidates, I Guess?: Republican party bigwigs will be retconning 2012 for years, wondering what might have been if only Mitch Daniels, or Jeb Bush, or Chris Christie had run for the nomination and won. (You don't think that candidate Christie and President Barack Obama would have bro'ed out in mutual love for one another, do you?)
But the need for better candidates is more painfully felt down-ticket, where -- as Mike McAuliff reports -- memories of the damage done by some of the GOP's leading lowlights remain fresh:
The most remarkable losses were in Indiana and Missouri, where the GOP had been looking at near-certain wins until their right-leaning standard-bearers both took controversial positions on abortion. Missouri Rep. Todd Akin declared women don't get pregnant from "legitimate rape." Indiana Treasurer Richard Mourdock proclaimed that pregnancy from rape is "something God intended to happen."
Or Maybe We Can Just Have The Same Sort Of Candidates, Only They Remember To Stop Saying The Stupid Stuff Everybody Hates Out Loud: After keeping a relatively low profile during the presidential race, Bobby Jindal suddenly has all the answers. The Louisiana governor took to various media outlets to decry the GOP for coming across as the “stupid party”, and then again to denounce Romney’s ‘Obama’s policies were gifts to minorities’ comments ... and then yet again to urge the Republican Party to go back to the basics. Of course, those "basics" didn't differ in many meaningful ways from Mitt Romney's basics -- Jindal's preferred tax policies aren't a whit different from Romney's. And for all of Jindal's talk about not being the "stupid party," he's the guy who supports creationism.
Besides, I think a lot of Republicans are just going to hear Jindal's admonitions about not being the "stupid party" and think, "Well, that's pretty rich coming from the guy who endorsed Rick Perry."
That’s A Lot Of Work, Can’t We Just Run George P. Bush?: Yeah, we get it. He's a Bush, and he's handsome, and he's Hispanic, and he's ready to, like, TOTALLY run for something? Maybe land commissioner? Whatever you got, basically. But it's not actually going to be that easy, reckons Alex Pareene:
There was honestly never much of a reason to expect that Hispanic American voters -- a diffuse group of lots of very different types of voters -- would end up voting as a bloc. But then the Republican Party started encouraging and explicitly campaigning on nativism and ferocious white racial resentments, instead of merely profiting from them. In doing so, Republicans might have served to make the non-white portion of the country liberal for a generation at least, which would be a major problem.
If that’s the case, if the Tea Party and Sheriff Joe have liberalized a generation of Latino voters, the Republican Party’s demographics problem will not be fixed simply by embracing individuals like Marco Rubio, who share the same batshit beliefs as the party. (Nominating a white guy did not win the former Confederacy for Democrats in 2004.) But it also might not help that much to nominate a guy like George P. Bush, who merely subscribes to most of the beliefs of modern conservatism. It could take years, and a series of Democratic missteps, to erase the damage done in the last few elections.
Screw It, Then, Why Don't We Just Bring Palin Back: While GOP operatives point to the likes of Chris Christie, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush as potential 2016 frontrunners, conservative columnist Charlotte Allen tossed another name into the mix: Sarah Palin. Cause, remember how well that worked out the last time? "Palin can more than keep up with the Democrats in appealing to voters' emotions," Allen wrote in a column that apparently was not satire. "Hardly anyone could be more blue collar than Palin, out on the fishing boat with her hunky blue-collar husband, Todd." Ha, ha: no.
Wait I Got It!: Remember all those amazing engineers and technologists that Alexis Madrigal profiled in his great post-election article on the Obama campaign and the brilliant geek-savants who built the system that powered the president to victory? Well, can't you guys just pay those nerds triple what Obama was paying them? I mean, you are Republicans, after all.