In reviewing the lily-white purification of the modern Republican Party, the Daily Beast's John Avlon does a reasonably admirable job--until the very last paragraph, where, groping for a starburst finale, he loses all touch with reality:
Mitt Romney--whose father, George, was an advocate for a more inclusive Republican Party when he was governor of Michigan--might be in a strong position to address these hard truths and make amends. But that will require the political courage to admit his party’s failings on this front, recognizing the lost legacy of diversity is a rational reaction to specific policies the GOP embraced in the not-so-distant past.
I don't recall the last time any commentator seriously coupled the words "Mitt Romney" and "political courage" as a working concept, yet this wistful frivolity lives on as perfunctory tribute to noble journalistic objectivity. Political courage will not suddenly spring from the cowardly mind of Mitt Romney, Mr. Avlon, and you know it--mostly because it's Mitt Romney himself who understandably insists on carnival-barking his sniveling opportunism, since subtle messages and nuanced statements and any real, detectable courage are fatal propositions when addressing the Bible-clutching, Obama-hating, Koch-sucking, lily-white and toothless base.
(One historical addition to Avlon's review: At the era of Reconstruction's end, the Republican Party, to the fury of Radicals, abandoned and betrayed Southern African Americans in exchange for a concentration on Northern industrialization. The party's postbellum dedication to blacks' sociopolitical equality expired with predictable haste--there was money to be made. Blacks remained loyal to Republicanism only out of brief memory and long habit.)
As to the GOP's putrid lilification, Andrew Sullivan astutely notes:
[I]t's not something the Democrats should be gleeful about. It's a national tragedy - another reason why this polity is in danger of coming apart at the seams.
He framed that in the context of a vigorous two-party system--that in which each major party must remain strong for the benefit of the other's long-term health. Chess grandmasters simply cannot stay sharp if they play only against the country's Todd Akins.
Yet that's where we are. The opposition team is now altogether fundamentalist, obscurantist, and stupid. It hasn't just settled for the lowest common denominator, it glories in it. And I'm beginning to have my doubts if it, like the South, can ever rise again.