Jeremiah Goulka has a long but smart piece on Republicans’ political woes:
The Jerk Factor
As for those demographic groups the GOP needs to start winning over in the medium- and long-term, putative 2016 A-lister Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to see a middle class “message of prosperity and freedom for all” communicated loudly to immigrants and the young. But as one astute Republican insider said to me, “Hispanics won’t hear our message so long as they think our immigration platform says, ‘We hate Mexicans.’”
Bobby Jindal was right to say, “If we want people to like us, we have to like them first.” But the Party hasn’t truly begun to grasp what might be called the liking gap between the GOP and the groups it needs to cultivate. It’s time for Republicans to take a long, hard look in the mirror. It’s not just recent anti-immigration fervor that repels Hispanics and others from the party. The GOP needs to internalize the fact that the dead bird hanging from its neck is its entire modern history.
Putting someone who speaks Spanish at the top of the ticket in 2016 won’t change the fact that more and more voters — especially but not exclusively non-white voters — see Republicans as intolerant assholes (Carter Eskew, who is actually on target today):
A recent Wall Street Journal-NBC poll found that when people were asked to use a word or phrase to describe today’s Republican Party, 65 percent of responses were negative and just 17 percent positive. Democrats were split at 35 percent positive, 37 percent negative.
The answer comes from an unlikely source: President Obama’s campaign pollster, Joel Benenson. Yesterday, he delivered by far the best analysis of the current state of the Republicans Party, and it rings devastatingly and comprehensively true: Republicans have a “tolerance” problem. Whether on gay rights, immigration, global warming or women’s health issues, Republicans have sent repeated and off-putting messages. Benenson’s is a unified theory of the problem, and he suggested, correctly, that it won’t be solved piecemeal.
Maybe I’m wrong about this, but I think that being perceived as assholes is generally a bad thing politically, at least as far as what voters — as opposed to pundits — think. There’s some strange Beltway culture of celebrating dickheadedness. Think of politicians like Joe Lieberman and Chris Christie (who isn’t even actually that intolerant) and journalists like Robert Samuelson and Chuck Lane. That shtick goes over well in DC but not with the rest of the country.
When the jerk store calls, it doesn’t matter what language you speak when you answer.