Republicans have become irrelevant

As the Republican Party regroups after President Obama's stunning re-election victory, I recommend they ponder a line David Brooks wrote back in January: "I sometimes wonder if the Republican Party has become the receding roar of white America as it pines for a way of life that will never return."

The problem the Republicans face is not one of demographics, and it is not going to be solved by assiduous pursuit of Hispanics, women and youth. It is one - as Brooks points out-of relevance.

Take a look at the comically irrelevant GOP presidential candidates who made themselves available in 2011-12: Michele Bachman, Donald Trump, Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Tim Pawlenty, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Buddy Roemer, Mike Huckabee, Jon Huntsman, and, just offstage, Sarah Palin. Who among them could begin to deal seriously with climate change, or provide the leadership needed to integrate our 12 million undocumented aliens, or deliver a fair and efficient tax code, or fix our crumbling airports and bridges, or even handle a serious weather emergency?

Relevance is a political party's lifeblood. And we all know what happens when that drains away.

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