The GOP's FNC Problem

Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus has a nice recap of the Republican National Committee’s election “autopsy,” in which the party leadership concludes, “The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have lost the ability to be persuasive with — or welcoming to — those who do not agree with us on every issue.”

Don’t look now, but that prescription seems to be working quite well for Rush Limbaugh — who, as McManus noted, dismissed the report — and Fox News Channel, whose imperious leader, Roger Ailes, just gave another one of those give-no-quarter interviews to Howard Kurtz.

Then again, why should Ailes back down at all? He’s learned from experience being the voice of the opposition is good for business. The problem, as conservative author David Frum has pointed out on numerous occasions, is the interests of the “conservative entertainment complex” — which has thrived during the Obama administration by stoking fears and giving a forum to those who oppose the President at every turn — and the Republican Party are not aligned in this regard, since there’s a very profitable niche to be mined that, alas, doesn’t necessarily help in winning over moderates and thus a majority of the popular vote.

Conservative pundits will say they are simply adhering to their principles, and that’s their prerogative — as well as that of an audience, just like those progressives who gravitate toward liberal columnists or MSNBC, who seek out voices that reinforce their views.

Still, it’s the GOP right now that is rather publicly exploring ways to broaden its tent. And from that perspective, it doesn’t help if the carnival barkers on the inside keep pulling the curtain shut behind them.

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