You don't lead by pointing and telling people some place to go. You lead by going to that place and making a case.
Pundits: GOP must move to the center. Krugman: Obama shouldn't budge.
Tom Cohen at CNN:
Listening to Republicans try to explain what went wrong in
their worse-than-expected election thumping reveals a party struggling
to define itself amid continuing change in the nation it seeks to lead.
"We have to allow for a period when it's going to be messy and in which
there's going to be an attempt for the Republican Party to find it's
soul," noted Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow in economic studies at the
Brookings Institution. "It's a divided party, it seems to me right now."
The well-known division pits a loud and powerful conservative base,
fueled in the past three years by the tea party movement, against a
once-prevalent moderate faction now relegated to wing status.
Republicans have two options. They can join the White House
in shaping immigration reform, all the while knowing that the president
will get the lion’s share of credit. This is politically unappealing in
the short term, which is certainly one reason Republicans have resisted
it. However, the alternative promises even more dispiriting political
If Republicans again oppose immigration reform, they risk cementing
their reputation as obstructionists and, in the process, tightening the
Democrats’ hold on a large and rapidly growing constituency. This is
tantamount to political surrender, if not suicide. It would be a
terrible outcome for the country and a self-inflicted wound that could
hobble national Republican campaigns for years to come.
Michael Gerson at The Washington Post:
The 2012 election was a substantial victory not only for
President Obama but also for liberalism. Obama built his campaign on
abortion rights and higher taxes for the wealthy. He was rewarded by an
electorate that was younger, more pro-choice and more racially diverse
than in 2008. The Obama coalition is not a fluke; it is a force.
Some conservatives have reacted in the tradition of Cicero: “Oh, the
times! Oh, the customs!”Rush Limbaugh concluded, “We’ve lost the
country,” which he described as a “country of children.” “There is no
hope,” Ann Coulter said. And Bill O’Reilly: “It’s not a traditional
As a matter of strategy, it is generally not a good idea to express disdain for an electorate one hopes to eventually influence.
Amanda Marcotte at USA Today:
After Tuesday's election, if Republicans are smart, they
will realize that the culture war just isn't working out for them any
longer. Republicans leaned as heavily as ever on social issues and paid
the price at the polls. After decades of rewarding Republicans with
votes for their scare-mongering over abortion and homosexuality, voters
finally turned to social conservatives and said, "Enough." [...]
Republicans used to rely on the culture wars to win elections, but
this year shows they can't anymore. Voters, female voters especially,
are sick of attacks on gay rights and reproductive rights. Republicans
would do well to heed the lessons of this election, and give up on
fighting the culture war.
Melinda Henneberger at The Washington Post:
In the final hours of the campaign, Romney either developed
never-before-seen acting skills or truly believed he was on the glide
path to victory; inside the Fox News bubble, no other outcome seemed
But far more important than any of this, as we look to the future, is
that since Romney’s loss, we’ve continued to hear conservatives who do
know they are on camera or writing for publications carry right on
cementing the impression that they think Obama won only because he was
the choice of Moocher Nation: Not only had they failed to “take back
America” from the guy Newt Gingrich delighted in calling “the food-stamp
president,” but non-white America, they inferred, is not really America
All of which explains how, in a tepid economy, Romney managed to lose
the election more than Obama won it. And yet, they’re still at it, with
Ole Miss students contributing some standout visuals to the narrative
that the GOP is not minority-friendly.
Kevin Drum at Mother Jones:
The tea party has done its job, and for all practical
purposes its hard-nosed, no-compromise ideology now controls the
Republican Party in a way that neither the Birchers nor the Clinton
conspiracy theorists ever did. It's no longer a wing of the Republican
Party, it is the Republican Party.
So what's next? Having now lost two presidential elections in a row,
conventional wisdom says Republicans have two choices. The first is to
admit that tea partyism has failed. 2012 was its best chance for
victory, and evolving demographics will only make hardcore conservatism
less and less popular. As South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has put it,
"We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for
the long term." So the party will need to moderate or die.
Meanwhile, we have this from Paul Krugman:
President Obama has to make a decision, almost immediately,
about how to deal with continuing Republican obstruction. How far should
he go in accommodating the G.O.P.’s demands?
My answer is, not far at all. Mr. Obama should hang tough, declaring
himself willing, if necessary, to hold his ground even at the cost of
letting his opponents inflict damage on a still-shaky economy. And this
is definitely no time to negotiate a “grand bargain” on the budget that
snatches defeat from the jaws of victory.
H/T to Georgia Logothetis for her Roundup.