little green footballs

Calls for the GOP to Break Out of Its "Media Cocoon"

Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 10:49:48 am

Politico has a piece today on some conservatives' calls for the GOP to break out of its self-reinforcing echo chamber: The GOP's Media Cocoon.

A long-simmering generational battle in the conservative movement is boiling over after last week's shellacking, with younger operatives and ideologues going public with calls that Republicans break free from a political-media cocoon that has become intellectually suffocating and self-defeating.

GOP officials have chalked up their electoral thumping to everything from the country's changing demographics to an ill-timed hurricane and failed voter turn-out system, but a cadre of Republicans under 50 believes the party's problem is even more fundamental.

The party is suffering from Pauline Kaelism.

Kael was The New Yorker movie critic who famously said in the wake of Richard M. Nixon's 49-state landslide in 1972 that she knew only one person who voted for Nixon.

Now, many young Republicans worry, they are the ones in the hermetically sealed bubble -- except it's not confined to geography but rather a self-selected media universe in which only their own views are reinforced and an alternate reality is reflected.

Hence the initial denial and subsequent shock on the right that the country would not only reelect President Barack Obama -- but do so with 332 electoral votes.

"What Republicans did so successfully, starting with critiquing the media and then creating our own outlets, became a bubble onto itself," said Ross Douthat, the 32-year-old New York Times columnist.

Nice sounding words, right? But I don't believe for a second that the Republican Party is going to be able to reverse this downward spiral; the appeals to racism and xenophobia are far too ingrained in the very identity of the GOP. I predict that the trends will go in the exact opposite direction -- even more extremist -- and the party will continue purging moderates and pandering to the far right and the religious right, only more so.

I believe the only changes we'll see will be changes for the worse. It would be wonderful if I'm proven wrong, but I won't be.