The op-ed page of our only local daily newspaper is full of talk today about the national Republican Party's big overnight discovery and wake-up call: in a document called the "Growth and Opportunity Report" published by the Republican National Committee, Republicans are being informed that they are reviled, feared and ridiculed by certain niche demographic groups.
That would be women, non-whites, young people, the middle class, the working class, gay people, educated persons, non-bigots and some other guys.
Side-by-side companion pieces, one by Michael Gerson republished from the Washington Post and the other by Dallas Morning News former Washington bureau chief Carl P. Leubsdorf, discuss the party's problems largely in terms of marketing strategy.
"All conservatives believe in the power of markets, which is explanatory in this case," Gerson writes. "The RNC is attempting to reach the market of gettable voters in Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico and other electorally strategic places. Other conservatives target the markets of talk radio listeners or CPAC attendees."
Yes, at least in theory everything from God to peanuts can be reduced to pitches. Both of the writers above, by the way, do give deference to the importance of actual ideas. But the overall tenor of the report itself is that people who think the GOP hates them or sees them as stupid are just being ... well, stupid.
"Public perception of the party is at record lows," the report tells Republicans. "Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country."
This report, of course, was written and published by people who at the end of the day are fundraisers. If any Republicans out there in the nation are really serious about seeking some kind of real mirror on the wall into which they might gaze and ask narcissistic questions, they should cast their eyes our way, toward the Lone Star state. Here, the most powerful and feared Republican sub-group -- the real leadership in their party -- is the Tea Party Caucus Advisory Committee of the Texas Legislature.
In 2011 it was JoAnn Fleming, chair of that group, who reamed out Governor Rick "Oops" Perry, further embarrassing him, if that was even possible, in the middle of his famously embarrassing presidential campaign, by accusing him of allowing the state of Texas, of all places, to become too soft on illegal immigrants. Fleming wanted Governor Oops to abandon the campaign trail, come home and crack down on Texas state cops for not arresting enough people out on the state's highways who looked highly Mexican.
So if people who look highly Mexican interpret that kind of stuff as unfriendly, are they just being oversensitive? In fact, wait: Don't Republicans always think minorities are too sensitive for no good reason? Um, isn't that pretty much part of the problem? OK, let's move on.
Just last year, it was the more moderate of our two GOP U.S. senators, John Cornyn, who said a decision by the Justice Department to block enforcement of the Texas voter-photo law , a decision later upheld by a federal appeals panel, "reeks of politics and appears to be an effort by the Department of Justice to carry water for the president's re-election campaign."
When the appeals court weighed in on the side of the DOJ, it found the Texas law would restrict minority voting and impose "strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor." So, strict and unforgiving burdens: Are those just image problems?
What about all these women? Why would they be worried about the GOP? Here in Texas, the GOP marches proudly beneath the virtual banner of Great Electric Dildo, the vagina wand that Republicans insist the state must stick inside any woman who asks for an abortion.
Is any physical object that the government sticks way up inside the body of an actual person, female or male, a perception problem? Isn't a government dildo way up inside your body pretty real? Is there any conceivable way to get a person to stop perceiving it as real? If so, wouldn't that be even more scary?
What is the Republican line on that one, again? "We have a sonogram law in Texas that values and protects life," Perry spokeswoman Allison Castle said last year. "Governor Perry is proud of the steps we've taken in Texas to protect the unborn and ensure women have access to all the facts before making a life-ending decision."
Sure. That's all about the information and the decisions and the values and stuff. But what about the thing way up inside your body? Maybe the "Growth and Opportunity Report" could have been more persuasive had it included some graphic photos of the government dildo in use, faces blanked out of course. The caption could have been, "Here's our growth. What's our opportunity?" Then again, we must fear the answer.