Something truly remarkable is underway in party politics at the moment. One of our national parties has lost the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections, and its future on the national level looks worse than its past. It is losing badly among the largest bloc of voters, women (who went for Obama over Romney 56-44 last year). Among the fastest-growing blocs of voters -- Latinos, young voters, Asians, the tech elite, etc -- it is losing by even more.
"Their rigidity is killing them. It's either holy purity, or you are anathema," Tom Korologos, a premier Republican lobbyist and the ambassador to Belgium under George W. Bush, said in a phone interview. "Too many ideologues have come in. You don't win by what they are doing."A number of prominent figures in the Republican Party share this harsh view. Jeb Bush warned last year that both Ronald Reagan and his own father would have a "hard time" fitting into the contemporary Republican Party, which he described as dominated by "an orthodoxy that doesn't allow for disagreement."
So it's best to think of Cruz as the perfect expression of what Perry and Rubio were mere beta versions: the exemplification, brilliantly articulated, of the fringe pathologies trapped in the body of a major party that is today's GOP. Cruz is the real deal. He is deeply grounded in his worldview, and skilled in his presentation of it. He's the man that rightwing activists must wish had started his national political career just a few years earlier: Is there any doubt that Ted Cruz would have been a more daunting challenger for Mitt Romney than the charlatans and bozos Romney defeated for the 2012 nomination?It doesn't take much imagination to envision a titanic faceoff in 2016 between Cruz and the round mound of Trenton town, Chris Christie, his only peer in sheer political talent and chutzpah among the other GOP presidential contenders.
My point in highlighting these articles, apart from their respective merits, is not to ask for more attitude or partisan bias in reporting. Rather it is to illustrate the adjustments "responsible" journalism is having to make to reflect the actual reality of our politics now. We know for certain that people looking back on our era, a generation from now, will be asking "What happened to the Republicans in the post-Lehman Bros, post-GWBush age?" Journalism might as well begin grappling with that question now.