Let it not be said that the GOP doesn't know it has a problem. As Senator Lindsay Graham said last year, "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term." And in the November election, that became vividly clear. Mitt Romney lost Latino voters by 44 points, Asian-American voters by 47 points, and voters under 30 by 23 points. So in the months since, the Republicans have been racking their brains to come up with ways to appeal to voters who do not happen to be older white men.
So how's it going? Well, this week, not so great. First you had Ben Carson, the Baltimore neurosurgeon who, as a black conservative, has become a hero to the right, getting a bit too frank about marriage in an appearance on Fox News. Heterosexual marriage, he said, is "a well-established, fundamental pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality—it doesn’t matter what they are. They don't get to change the definition." When people became somewhat displeased with this rhetoric, Carson said, "I think people have completely taken the wrong meaning out of what I was saying." Yeah.
Cut to Alaska congressman Don Young growing wistful about the old days: "My father had a ranch; we used to have 50-60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes." Like Carson, he apologized if anyone got offended.
And there's the Republicans' problem: It's one thing for party leaders to say, however sincerely, that they want to reach out to minorities. But if people in your party keep popping off with statements like those, you aren't going to get anywhere.
So They Say
"The president has launched a war on Americans' Second Amendment rights. He has launched a war on religious freedom. He has launched a war on fossil fuels. He is working to nationalize one-sixth of the economy with job-killing ObamaCare. He wants to collect a greater portion of every American paycheck, not for the purpose of paying down the national debt but to expand his governing machine. He doesn't believe in creating a bigger pie with more opportunity for all. He believes in greater redistribution of a much smaller pie. If you're unsure of what this America would look like, Google 'Cyprus' or 'Greece.' "
—Liz Cheney, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed
Daily Meme: Free Falling
- Have you heard? North Dakota is the freest state in the nation!
- According to a new report from the Koch brothers-friendly Mercatus Center, North Dakota, where women are few and abortion clinics are fewer, is just full to bursting with liberty.
- Alex Pareene explains: "this is how the Mercatus Center defines freedom: the right of people with money to keep it all, and for everyone else to fuck off. Almost any Liberty issue that wouldn’t concern a straight, white, male capitalist is wholly ignored."
- Oh, okay! With that context in mind, it's now safe to dig into some of the more amusing and disheartening details in the results.
- National Review notes that North Dakota could have been even more free if it cut spending and sang the praises of the free market a tad more.
- The Blaze is absolutely horrified to learn that the free-market paradise known as Texas has dropped nine places on the freedom index.
- Why is Texas's liberty so tarnished? "It's dinged for the fact that its local governments have relatively high levels of debt. What on earth does that have to do with freedom?"
- The New Hampshire Union-Leader, which endorsed Newt Gingrich in the 2012 primaries, is also sad that its state has fallen in the rankings.
- But freedom-lovers in New Hampshire can take comfort in the fact that they are No. 1 in fighting the tyranny of seat belts and happy hour restrictions.
- If the only freedom you care about is the freedom to host a kickass bachelor party, Massachusetts is your state.
- Paul Waldman's analysis: "Elite conservatives often wax poetic about the 'real America,' small towns and places in 'the heartland,' where people supposedly have superior values and life is good. Yet for some reason, they don't choose to live there."
What We're Writing
- The stunning reversal in public opinion on same-sex marriage has elated gay-rights supporters and electrified the movement. But what about their mulish opponents? Gabriel Arana takes a look at the shrinking minority being left behind.
- We don't deny teenagers the right to speak (in most households), so why deny them the right to vote? Jonathan Bernstein writes that a Washington suburb's plan to lower the voting age to 16 is an idea whose time has come.
What We're Reading
- Bloomberg profiles Organizing for America, which is having some growing pains trying to figure out campaigning in a post-election world.
- Chicago Reader's Steve Bogira thinks important thoughts about the role of journalists in identifying social ills, and whether presenting solutions is a job requirement.
- "It's Sequester Eve so I'm putting out milk and cookies for Jack Lew," and other collected hits from the Steve Stockman Twitter archives.
- Why is the military so much better at recruiting at rural schools than elite universities?
- Commenting on the White House's latest gun-control push, Adam Gopnik writes, "To believe that gun control can’t work here is to believe that the psyches of Americans are different from those of everyone else on earth."
- Mitch McConnell won't have to deal with Ashley Judd in his re-election bid next year. But will he be challenged from the Tea Party right?
- What if U.S. drug policy started focusing on the dangerous stuff—alcohol?
Poll of the Day
The vast majority of Americans believe climate change is real and that coastal-dwellers should prepare for its effects; they just don't want the government to pay for that preparation, according to a poll from Stanford's Wood Institute for the Environment. The favored solution is having business and people solve their own problems, not exactly an auspicious sign for the future of climate reform.