To say the defeat of Mitt Romney in November of 2012 by President Barack Obama was a sobering moment for the GOP would be a gross understatement. Romney’s handlers had virtually assured him of wins in not only Florida but Pennsylvania and Ohio according to their polling. While there was no single factor that kept Romney from winning the election, or kept the GOP from taking back the Senate, the combination of a poor message to women, Latinos and African-American voters became a force equal to the anti-Bush backlash that saw Obama defeat John McCain in 2008.

With this in mind, minutes after the defeat, the Republican National Committee began to assess the damage. The following month the autopsy of the failure was presented and made public. While I don’t agree with all the recommendations as de facto solutions to the problems within the GOP, each is a positive step toward moderation that would allow the GOP, which is strong in state government, to not lose ground as a national party.

There were decision to tweak their message. An outreach program to Asian, Latino and African-America voters was proposed. The RNC even wanted to create more diversity within the hierarchy of the GOP.

What’s missing from the autopsy is how the RNC, as a party organ, was going to deal with the TEA Party as a direct threat to the GOP’s existence. Additionally, none of the GOP leadership, in or out of elected office, was willing to break ranks with those who felt the only way to secure their control of the House and win back the Senate in the 2014 midterm elections was to remain staunchly anti-Obama on every issue despite the fact that Obama never has to run for office again. Those in Congress were more interested in finding a way to neuter the sitting President rather than building their power by working with him.

The problem here is both demographic and geographic. Districts in urban centers, where there are large masses of voters tend to be more diverse; districts in rural areas tend to be more homogeneous. This makes for concentrations of Democratic power in most of the big cities and concentrations of GOP power in rural counties in most states.

Primaries have become battlegrounds for GOP incumbents as the challenges to prove conservative bona fides become more and more pronounced. The inability of the GOP to deal with the TEA Party in the recent run of primaries where we witnessed the ouster of Eric Cantor in Virginia is a sign of the weakness of both the GOP autopsy and the fear that the GOP base is less GOP and more TEA Party aligned. If this “purification” of the party where only the most conservative candidate can be elected continues over the next three election cycles, 2014, 2016 and 2018, their will be a rift that sees many of the most conservative voters departing the GOP, which must moderate to survive, for a more palatable, whiter, more socially concerned, more anti-cooperation with anything proposed by Democrats, third party.

It is for this reason that I give the original GOP 2012 autopsy a B- for its scope and the party itself an F for its work on implementing it. Congressman Issa’s neverending Benghazi hearings, Speaker Boehner’s folly of suing the President, the government shutdown and Sarah Palin’s calls for the Impeachment of President Obama all serve as testaments to the siege nature of the war the GOP is fighting internally. The work being done by GOP moderates like Ramesh Ponnuru is being drowned out by the inept inheritors of modern conservatism, Limbaugh, Ingraham, Palin and Hannity in popular culture and Akin, Perry and Cruz among those in and near the power center of elected office. This is a deadly mix of confusing and conflicting messages that for the most part are shouting races to say the most conservative thing first.

At the end of election night 2014 the GOP will likely be right where it will be right now with control of the House and Democratic control, albeit smaller, in the Senate. What looms on the horizon is an election process that will begin in the late winter of 2015 as potential presidential candidates on both side announce their intentions. One doesn’t have to be an oracle to see the electoral disaster of pitting “the most conservative candidate” against an Elizabeth Warren or a Hillary Clinton. There would need to be no autopsy by the RNC after that disaster because the GOP would get no wins outside the South minus Florida. This leaves the GOP with only one option–to moderate, diversify and jettison the social issues to survive.

Qu’ul cuda praedex nihil!

Diane Valencen, D.S.V.J., CS, O.Q.H [Journ.], ArF J., M.F.
Editorial Page Editor
The Dis Brimstone Daily Pitchfork
22 Ashtaq 3 AS


  1. dcobranchi Says:

    The GOP would win a few states outside the South: UT, WY, OK, ID, and everything between OK and Canada.

    But, point taken, it would be brutal.

    I;m sure Neo will be along in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 seconds to tell us how Rick Perry is going to sweep 50 states plus DC.

    • Ser Daryl this is the direction the GOP is headed; a regional party struggling to maintain dominance in the South vice a national party ruling. Those days are gone. A win in the Senate will only make this worse because having both houses they will think their problems are solved when really they are only beginning.

  2. dcobranchi Says:

    If Hillary runs, my (current) home state of WV could be in play. In 2012 it was a foregone conclusion that Romney would take it. Obama never campaigned here. But Hillary is much more popular. She beat Obama 67% to 26% in the 2008 primary.

  3. Then there is this, speaking of changing demographics.
    The mentality of the Tea Party is symptomatic of an infection. It’s hostile reaction to reality intensifies the more unfalsifiable reality becomes. Then they branch out into out-right lunacy which only makes them look more unhinged and pitiful. In essence they attack everything and then claim how unbiased they are! For some reason though, they think they are going to live forever and that most of the country is as like minded as they are. Another pathetic delusion. They should talk to their children and grandchildren if they want some insight as to where society is going and where it will be in another 5, 10 or 20 yrs. I’ll tell you one thing, it won’t be Cruzed, Paliniized or Gomerted.

  4. And why would conservatives who have no bigotries stay home because Romney was Mormon?

  5. So who among the possibilities in 2016 represents your views Neocon?

  6. Yes more people voted in 2008 than in 2012 but even if Mitt had gotten 47.2% of the total in 2008 which is 4 million more people he would have still lost by slightly shy of 3 million votes.

  7. Once again I am at odds with many of my colleagues here as a supporter of Elizabeth Warren. She is the ultimate outsider and is the likely front runner if Biden and Hillary opt out. Warren beats not only any ultra conservative that would run but polls currently better than Christie or Pence.

  8. Neither of them are electable for numerous reasons. Carson has never been elected to anything; West had a horrible end to his military career which would be red meat to opposition researchers. Also as nearly a flag officer he’s too proud to disclose what his living breathing gotcha is.

  9. You may like Cruz, Rubio, Perry and Issa but they are likely not going to win the nomination and if they did Clinton would steamroll them in debates and the general.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: