Jon Chait explains it all: Why 2012 Is the Republicans Last Chance — New York Magazine.
“America is approaching a ‘tipping point’ beyond which the Nation will be unable to change course,” announces the dark, old-timey preamble to Paul Ryan’s “The Roadmap Plan,” a statement of fiscal principles that shaped the budget outline approved last spring by 98 percent of the House Republican caucus. Rick Santorum warns his audiences, “We are reaching a tipping point, folks, when those who pay are the minority and those who receive are the majority.” Even such a sober figure as Mitt Romney regularly says things like “We are only inches away from no longer being a free economy,” and that this election “could be our last chance.”
The Republican Party is in the grips of many fever dreams. But this is not one of them. To be sure, the apocalyptic ideological analysis—that “freedom” is incompatible with Clinton-era tax rates and Massachusetts-style health care—is pure crazy. But the panicked strategic analysis, and the sense of urgency it gives rise to, is actually quite sound. The modern GOP—the party of Nixon, Reagan, and both Bushes—is staring down its own demographic extinction. Right-wing warnings of impending tyranny express, in hyperbolic form, well-grounded dread: that conservative America will soon come to be dominated, in a semi-permanent fashion, by an ascendant Democratic coalition hostile to its outlook and interests. And this impending doom has colored the party’s frantic, fearful response to the Obama presidency.
It’s a really excellent article that explains a lot of things well – basically through the lens of identity politics, i.e. psychology, not ideology or interests. The fulcrum point is essentially this: That due to long-term demographic change, the older, whiter GOP identity is threatened. President Obama is a perfect symbol of this. And rather than adapt to the new reality, the GOP has doubled down on defiance.
It didn’t have to be this way: The GOP could have helped pass George W. Bush and John McCain’s immigration reform, coalescing a willing Latino vote in the process; or worked with President Obama on economic recovery, health care, and climate, with ideas Republicans themselves had formerly espoused. The country would be better off, and the GOP would have shared in the credit. What could have been …
And as Chait points out, it’s a suicide mission with some interesting and psychologically apt precedents. Sometimes the pilot doesn’t pull out of the dive … simply because he doesn’t want to.
In the meantime, I look forward to a Rick Santorum candidacy. 😀