by Daniel Denvir, Philadelphia City Paper
Last year the Republican National Committee conducted an official autopsy after the defeat of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney. It came to the somewhat comfortable conclusion that the party’s biggest problem was its image. “Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes,” it wrote, while “many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country.” The solution touted by the RNC? Practical Republican governors — “America’s reformers in chief” — who would save a party dominated by right-wing crazies in Washington.
According to the RNC, such Republican governors are successful because they “deliver on conservative promises of reducing the size of government while making people’s lives better.” But this lesson — that business-minded conservatives can overcome the ideological divide — is not quite reflected in reality. In Democratic-leaning but Republican-governed states, government got smaller, and some people’s lives got appreciably worse: Slashed education budgets prompted a widespread outcry in Pennsylvania, and anti-union laws polarized voters in Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. Indeed, the purple-state governors elected during the 2010 tea party surge — Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich, Florida’s Rick Scott, Maine’s Paul LePage, Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Pennsylvania’s Tom Corbett — are among those most likely to face defeat in 2014.
This indicates that the Republican Party’s problems run deeper than Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster or Rep. Michele Bachmann’s contention that “The Lion King” might be gay-rights propaganda. People subjected to the small-government austerity at the heart of the contemporary conservative consensus sometimes simply do not like it. [MORE]