You had to know that, after the agreement that kicked the fiscal cliff down the road a bit there was certain to be some football spiking by the winning side and wailing and gnashing of teeth by the losers. In this case the Democrats clearly placed a "W" on the Ledger and the Republicans are taking the "L". Let the Democratic victory dance begin. NY Democratic Rep. Israel says that Republicans are children in need of TLC and (I'm guessing this time) stern supervision from their Democratic elders while the National Journal's Michael Hirsh goes gaga over Biden (and loses all sense of history in the process) while Ed Schultz put to rest all of the adults in the room talk by acting his usual childish self.
In the long run, much of this policy talk and bemoaning that the American Century is coming to a close and cheer leading isn't the biggest problem that Republicans face. In a nation where the Kardashian's every move is followed more closely than Hillary Clinton's the GOP needs to come to grip with the fact that it has a cool problem.
I know what you're thinking. "Who cares about cool when it's our principles at stake?" And I agree with you, being cool is less important than keeping your principles. No serious talker is suggesting that the GOP transmogrify itself into a big spending, high taxing, ecomental, union supporting copy of the Democrats. This is not England where the conservative party is really Labor light only just a little bit more industry friendly. That's not the solution.
Neither is the solution to copy the Democrat's handbook for losing.
One of the things for which Texas Democrats are (rightly) mocked is their inevitable meltdowns after electoral losses where they call every Texan stupid. It's to the point of high comedy. So why then should Republicans get a pass when they do the same thing? I understand that it's easy to get angry when things don't go your way, or when the actions of your political opposites bring on bad results the temptation to rub it in everyone's face is almost too much to avoid. But, and here's the big rub, Republicans need to learn to avoid it because you're going to need many of those same "idiots" to vote for your side come 2014.
The Mitt Romney campaign had a lot of faults, but there's no denying that the 47% video was among the most damaging. Basically, it reinforced the public's perception that he was out of touch with most of them and cemented his position as someone for whom a majority would not vote. He just didn't seem as cool and caring about the problems of the working man as does Obama.
And that's the real rub, not that Republican policy is bad but, by retreating to talk radio and Fox News almost exclusively, the GOP is spending most of it's time preaching to the choir, allowing the Democrats almost free reign to classify them as old, white and rich. Certainly much of the old-guard party leadership can be classified as such, but the same holds true for the Democrats as well. For every Koch Brother there's a George Soros (who's not even an American citizen FWIW) and for every Bob Perry there's a Steve Mostyn. I'm not suggesting that any of these financiers are good or bad, only that they're morally equivalent. Yet the Koch brothers and Perry are held up (by Democrats and the media) as the primary reason Republicans are evil.
To turn this around I really think Republicans need to do two things. First, change the leadership. It's time for Boehner and McConnell to go. In their place I would suggest Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. John Cornyn. I understand that Texas' conservative blogosphere is currently calling for Cornyn to be primaried, but the facts are his record is solidly conservative and his leadership style would be a great improvement over Sen. McConnell. He's also a better speaker and (let's face it) would put a cooler face on the GOP as would Ryan.
What Republicans need to realize is that they were placed in a no-win situation once the Democrats came out ahead in last year's election. They had zero leverage, and they will continue to have zero leverage until, at least, the 2014 mid-terms. They're also reeling right now, struggling to find something that is an effective and winning message, in some respects, Jonathan Krohn is correct, they're not connecting with middle-class and young voters. Where Krohn gets it wrong is that he's incapable of making any other argument than "Why can't you be cool like me?" He's a selfish kid who doesn't have the intellectual chops to craft a good argument. His movement from conservative wunderkind to progressive hero has been one big "look at me" moment and that should be pointed out.
To progressives like Krohn "cool" means acting and believing just as they do, they couldn't be further from the truth. There's nothing cool about breaking the Nation for short-term political gain, and there's nothing cool about being a selfish sot. Remember this: Obama is considered "cool" despite being entirely void of substance. So clearly then there's "cool" and cool at the same time. What is cool is crafting your message for modern times, and finding people who can go out and deliver it in a clear, compelling way. It's also cool to lose with dignity, and then come back with a solid plan to win again. So far the Republicans have been failing on every front. What we're seeing now is a circular firing squad and nothing could be less-cool than that.