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Why we need the GOP

Mitt Romney's back!
Speaker Boehner's sequester strategy may be backfiring. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Speaker Boehner's sequester strategy may be backfiring.

Mitt Romney's back! He's just been added to the lineup of this year's annual conservative gathering joining luminaries like Sarah Palin, Allen West, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum. It's a diverse lineup of familiar faces with tired worn out lines and new faces with tired worn out lines.

Did you see that conservative media actually believed a joke some reporter made about Chuck Hagel taking money from a group called "Friends of Hamas" and reported it as actual news without checking to see if, I don't know, that was an actual real thing or not?  And apparently Mitch McConnell got taken in by a constituent who believed a satirical website's assertion that former Gitmo detainees were now obtaining GI Bill benefits.

You know, I've gotta be honest here. My appetite for GOP inspired shadenfreude is really wearing thin. I mean, there's hardly a day that goes by that doesn't bring some new offensive comment, absurd and counterproductive position, or crazy pants conspiracy. Sure, it's been fun laughing at Boehner's haplessness, Rush's insults, and the unending stream of free Obama phone type stories, but more and more, my enjoyment is being undermined by an obvious reality.

The country needs the GOP, not this GOP. The country needs a GOP that is intellectually curious, open to innovative policy prescriptions and actually committed to solutions. What we've got now is a party that's been Frank Luntzed. A party so focused on messaging, packaging, and driving media narratives that they forgot there was anything else. A party that is so focused on what they are opposed to-- amnesty, cap and trade, and above all else TAXES-- that they have nothing left to be for.

When I watched Marco Rubio's tired State of the Union response which featured the same old hollow discredited tropes that conservatives have been saying literally my entire life, I couldn't blame the guy. What else is he gonna say? They've left themselves nothing to promote, no idea that they are actually allowed to embrace. It's like saying you're committed to losing weight, but eating better and exercise are completely off the table and non-starters.

Don't worry GOP, you can still disagree with Democrats, but use some facts and evidence to back it up. There's a whole wide world out there. What are some local policies that have worked?

Here's a perfect example: It shouldn't have been President Obama who proposed adopting a universal pre-K model like the one that has worked so well in Oklahoma. Oklahoma's a red state! They're using incentives and local partnerships and it's working. Y'all should've been all over that!!!

Right now, the Democratic party has a monopoly on ideas for issues ranging from lessening income inequality to dealing with climate change. And that lack of competition is not good for anyone. Democrats aren't forced to innovate and can just sit back and laugh at the lame old GOP. Just think how the health care law could have been improved if Republicans had used an evidence based approach to improving it rather than closing their eyes, sticking their fingers in their ears and repeating "Repeal and Replace" over and over again.  We are made worse off, and Democrats are allowed to be lazy by an opposition that approaches governance as a series of political gimmicks, forced crises, and rhetorical devices.

We need you GOP. Take a little break from Frank Luntz. Put the Reagan quotes aside, forget about all the things that you must oppose at all costs lest freedom die and bald eagles drop instantaneously from the sky. Try thinking about actual policy. You know, "ideas"? Stuff that could actually make people's lives better? Until then you will keep losing, we will keep gloating, and the country will be worse off for it.