Do the grump


Both the front page of the Daily News and Nick Kristof's column in the New York Times talked about the "grumpy old party" -- is that ennough to make it a meme. Meanwhile, the underlying article is what I was busy doing yesterday instead of servicing this blog -- you can read it now, and it goes something like this:

ON DAY ONE of the post-Mitt Romney era, the nation's true Republican leader - that would be radio's Rush Limbaugh - tried to make sense of it all for his 14 million or so "Dittohead" listeners in a voice that alternated between stress and bafflement.

"It's being said once again that the Republicans have an outreach problem, that we don't have Hispanics, we don't have blacks and we don't have women and we don't have . . . ," Limbaugh trailed off. "OK, fine. We don't. What are we supposed to do? Are we supposed to embrace amnesty [for undocumented immigrants]?"

Over the course of his monologue, the radio icon asked again Wednesday if Republicans should "embrace illegals" to woo Latinos. And as for the party's gender gap: "If we're not getting the female vote, do we become pro-choice; do we start handing out birth-control pills? Is that what we have to do?"

For Limbaugh, the question was rhetorical, as he insisted that the party's answer is not a move to the soft center but instead to "Conservatism, with a capital C," advancing the far-right argument that Romney fell short against President Obama because he was too liberal. But in just four minutes, the movement's guru encapsulated the debate over its foggy future that is tearing the Republicans apart on the day after Obama captured a second term.

Can this party be saved? Of course it can, if it changes its stripes. Here's a powerful example:

Douthat is right when he says that the Obama coalition, which seems likely to grow even stronger as the country grows more diverse, might "not last forever; it may not even last more than another four years." Remember: The Democrats were once the party of the deep south, and the Republicans were once the party of civil rights. In politics, no coalition is permanent.