Over at The Washington Post, Chris Cillizza gives us a piece titled "Future for Republicans Is Not So Bad." How reassuring is he about this? Well, he offers four paragraphs' worth of hope to the GOP-- and this is how he ends paragraph #1:
... in 2016, we are likely to see Republicans such as Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) -- all of whom have significantly more star power than Romney -- make the race.Here's the thing: If you use "star power" and "Bobby Jindal" in the same sentence, you've made a horrible mistake. I don't really have to explain this to people who aren't professional journalists, do I?
(I'd say the same thing about Paul Ryan, except that the GOP base still loves him, as does the Beltway press, apparently. That didn't lead Ryan's ticket to victory in his own state, or even his hometown, but, nationwide, his base still digs him. AAs for Christie, I think his star is rising -- the Saturday Night Live cameo was not bad -- but he's getting himself to the point where the one race he couldn't possibly win is a Republican primary.)
Cillizza's second sign of hope is this:
There are a historic number of GOP governors. Next year, 30 states will be run by Republicans -- the highest number for either party in more than a decade.To which he adds:
(Keep an eye on Indiana's Mike Pence, who has designs on a national candidacy down the line.)Mike Pence? Seriously? Cillizza thinks he's going to lead the GOP out of the wilderness?
Here's the fourth result I get when I Google Mike Pence, after his House site, his gubernatorial campaign site, and his Wikipedia page:
Mike Pence's war on Planned ParenthoodYeah, that kind of talk ought to broaden the base, right?
Abortion-rights advocates and abortion-rights opponents don't see eye to eye on much, but they do agree on this: Nobody hates Planned Parenthood quite as much as Mike Pence.
The Indiana Republican is on a one-man crusade to deny all federal funding to the group -- not just the money it gets for reproductive health and family planning services, but every penny it gets for anything.
"If Planned Parenthood wants to be involved in providing counseling services and HIV testing, they ought not be in the business of providing abortions," Pence told POLITICO in an interview Tuesday. "As long as they aspire to do that, I'll be after them." ...
Look, Cillizza is right that in the past twenty tears Republicans haven't suffered the kinds of Electoral College blowouts that Democrats suffered in 1972, 1984, and 1988 -- they still have an electoral lock on a lot of states. He's right that pendulums swing. He's right that some Republican rising stars might have appeal to both the base and swing voters. (And he doesn't mention the possible weakness of the Democratic field in 2016 if Hillary Clinton doesn't run.)
But the next GOP standard-bearer has to appeal to people outside the White House Correspondents' Association. The next GOP standard-bearer has to remain appealing to swing voters after running the loony gauntlet of the '16 primaries. The GOP has some reason to hope that an electable candidate can emerge -- but the rest of us have ample reason to hope that that will still be impossible.