Dana Milbank of the Washington Post has the Republicans playing the blame game. The Party is going through the 5 stages of grieving with the 5th stage - acceptance - yet to be achieved. His is a retrospective look. David Brooks of the New York Times, my favorite conservative, has a prospective look, he has moved past the blame game, he sees the need for fundamental change that comes from essentially recognizing who votes (my take).
Mr. Milbank's column is amusing, but Mr. Brooks' is not. He sees the Republican Party as "The Party of Work." And therefore the Democratic Party is the one of no work. He leaves the Republican Party with the same divisive attitudes, except he has allowed the Party to take on a beige tint.
Arguably, for Mr. Brooks, the hard working white folk (Republicans) need to incorporate and absorb the hard working Asian-American and Hispanic (why not Hispanic-American?) folk. [Don't we now know that immigration reform is bound to pass soon?] Mr. Brooks uses this example:
"Let’s just look at one segment, Asian-Americans. Many of these people are leading the lives Republicans celebrate. They are, disproportionately, entrepreneurial, industrious and family-oriented. Yet, on Tuesday, Asian-Americans rejected the Republican Party by 3 to 1."
One can surmise that those who are black or gay of any color are not "entrepreneurial, industrious and family-oriented." And of course, conventional wisdom has them as registered Democrats.
One gathers from Mr. Brooks that Democrats therefore are not "entrepreneurial, industrious and family-oriented." Isn't that the same old Republicanism that we have come to love? But Mr. Brooks is on the right track when he notes that the Asian-Americans and Hispanics "are also tremendously appreciative of government. In survey after survey, they embrace the idea that some government programs can incite hard work, not undermine it; enhance opportunity, not crush it."
Therein is the lesson for all politicians who need to take on the mantle of leadership. Their ideology must recognize the value of government programs. Even those often seen as socialistic Oddly enough Mr. Brooks implicitly seems to recognize the good in those programs.
When the Asian-Americans and Hispanics "look at the things that undermine the work ethic and threaten their chances to succeed, it’s often not government. It’s a modern economy in which you can work more productively, but your wages still don’t rise. It’s a bloated financial sector that just sent the world into turmoil. It’s a university system that is indispensable but unaffordable. It’s chaotic neighborhoods that can’t be cured by withdrawing government programs."
Mr. Brooks wants the 'good' government programs that incite hard work, but not the welfare type. But doesn't he also see the value of government programs that provide the safety net for the failed economy? And doesn't he recognize that it is the global economy that plays an ever-increasing role? It is more than just outsourcing.
Arguably, Mr. Brooks only wants to open the membership doors just a bit to allow in those Asian-Americans and Hispanics with the work ethic as defined by the Republicans. But he misses the point on how wide the doors should open.
Who voted for Obama (keep in mind Mr. Obama is black)? According to The Atlantic wire:
"Obama got 93 percent of black voters (representing 13 percent of the electorate), 71 percent of Latinos (representing 10 percent), and 60 percent of young voters." He also "won the female vote, getting 53 percent of women voters." And maybe this is surprising - he "won the country's richest counties."
Nor should Mr. Brooks forget that ‘White guys’ voted for Obama, too. Maybe not as strongly for Romney. And Washington, Maine and Maryland voted for same-sex marriages. Finally, even Florida voted for Obama. Take a peek too at the "Battleground States" where Obama handily defeated Romney in 8 of the 9 states.
The message that the Republicans ought to be receiving is that the shifting demographics demand political parties to be inclusive - the Democrats are and the Republicans are not. Trying to cherry-pick a few from column A and from column B will not make Republicans inclusive.
But a bell that ought to be ringing (and can't be unrung) in the ears of the Republicans - same-sex marriage. While not uniformly accepted (or tolerated) it is fast moving towards that goal.
The bell is ringing loudly too calling attention that women's issues are not political to be determined by ignorant, intolerant and bible thumping politicians. The two Republicans that made rape comments were not atypical of the Republican ideology.
Equality - long thought to be inherent in America - is finally making its way to the head of the line. But the intolerance that defends against equality is difficult to overcome when the Republican Party is seen as America's political party for white, Christian, heterosexual males. Opening the membership for those 'tanned' Asian- American and Hispanic members doesn't change their ideology.