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Süddeutsche Zeitung, Germany

Fear of Wisdom

By Christian Wernicke

Translated By Ron Argentati

30 January 2013

Edited by Natalie Clager

Germany - Süddeutsche Zeitung - Original Article (German)

Nothing but tactics; no deeper strategy. Republican senators now want to push bipartisan cooperation to update U.S. immigration laws not due to any change of heart. The party is just peddling eyewash.

America's Republicans have been busy since November working on a simple issue. After their defeat in the presidential election they are trying to come up with some way to show they have gotten smarter from their drubbing. And that they want to continue getting smarter. The party that constantly refers to the founding fathers and worships Abraham Lincoln like a godfather has degenerated in the eyes of many voters to little more than a bunch of petty infighters. They are a political tribe of white, ugly old men without vision who have nothing to offer but resistance – resistance to Washington, to Barack Obama, to any change whatsoever.

Slowly – very slowly – America's conservatives are waking up. A group of Republican senators now wants to push bipartisan cooperation to update U.S. immigration laws and have promised to cooperate with Obama and the Democrats to do so. That is the first lesson they have learned from the debacle of 2012: Republicans have to escape from their white ghetto.

Lincoln's heirs not only lost Blacks years ago, but three-fourths of all Latinos and Asian-Pacific Islanders have now also turned away from them. Without the support of Latinos – America's largest minority group – and those of Asian heritage – the fastest growing voter bloc – Republicans run the risk of losing strongholds like Arizona and Texas to the Democrats in four to eight years. If Republicans remain as “pale” as they are currently, no Republican will have a prayer of getting into the White House.

Trying Not to Be the “Stupid Party” Any Longer

But this very reluctant turn toward legalizing 11 million illegal aliens is just a first step toward more inclusivity. There is still anger about “amnesty” within the party. And even many of the party leaders have undergone an epiphany not out of conviction, but because they see it simply as an act of adjusting themselves to demographic trends. That is no breakthrough, it merely reflects the words of one conservative state governor who advised the GOP to “stop being the stupid party.”

This is typical of the previous attempts at a conservative renewal. Most of it is plain tactics absent of any deeper strategy. A commission of shrewd campaign managers would have no problem figuring out why Obama's campaign was so much more effective. Or how it could come to pass that a party could gain control of the House with candidates who babble about “legitimate rape.”

The Republicans are looking for cosmetic cures; the subject of the course and core of their party is taboo. They remain naysayers. The party refuses to say why they – in the matter of climate change, for example – continue to deny the conclusions of scientists. And they offer no answer to the question of what protections a leaner and meaner government would be able to offer its citizens in the face of globalization and high unemployment.

So the impression persists that this bunch of anti-government near-subversives is incapable of governing. The “stupid party” just wants to become more cunning, not smarter.



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