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10 Reasons the GOP Is Really Messed Up -- According to Republicans

It's too right-wing. Or not conservative enough. It could be the contempt for voters, or being the Party of Stupid. One thing's for sure: Everybody hates Karl Rove.

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I think the Tea Party is going to have to look at itself. It's been so helpful to the Republican Party in the past. It saved it by not going third party in 2010, helping the Republicans sweep the House. But the Tea Party-style of rage is not one that wins over converts and makes people lean toward them and say, “I want to listen to you.” I think a friendly persuasion has to begin now from the Republican Party to the people of the United States.

7. Ralph Benko: GOP’s “Bush Mandarins” ran from Reagan agenda.

Could it be Peggy Noonan whom Benko, a champion of returning U.S. currency to the gold standard, had in mind when he penned his take on his party’s woes for Forbes -- a magazine run by a Republican presidential also-ran? (Steve Forbes’ 1996 and 2000 primary campaigns focused on the notion of a flat tax, in which the same rate would apply to store clerks and billionaires alike.)

Benko's prescription for the restoration of the Republican Party to all its Reaganesque glory was music to the ears of Richard Viguerie, a godfather of the religious right, and the direct-mail kingpin once jokingly known as Reagan's postmaster general. Viguerie loudly touted the Benko article, "The End Of The Karl Rove Death Grip Signals A Reagan Renaissance," on Viguerie's own ConservativeHQ Web site.

The enormity of (and surprise at) the defeat of Romney is a huge setback — and perhaps fatal — to the Bush Mandarins’ hegemony over the GOP. If so, the potential re-ascendency of the Reagan wing of the GOP will prove very bad news for liberals and excellent news for the Republican Party. The Reagan wing now can resurge. A resurgence already has begun.

8. Mike Murphy: Demographics add up to “an existential crisis for the Republican Party”

At least as famous for his punditry as for his political consulting prowess, Mike Murphy -- who worked on Mitt Romney’s successful gubernatorial campaign in Massachusetts -- is not mincing words. The G.O.P. is doomed because, he said on the November 18 edition of Meet the Press, “We don’t know how to win.” And some of the problem there, by Murphy’s own estimation, is that, unlike him, a lot of Republican political consultants are not so great. (Are you listening Karl Rove?) From the MTP transcript:

MR. MURPHY:  Look, there’s a huge donor revolt going on. I mean, we have now lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections.  This is an existential crisis for the Republican Party, and we have to have a brutal discussion about it.  We alienate young voters because of gay marriage, we have a policy problem. We alienate Latinos -- the fastest growing voter group in the country -- because of our fetish with so-called amnesty when we should be for a path to immigration. And we have lost our connection to middle-class economics. We also have an operative class and unfortunately lot of which is incompetent. We don’t know how to win. So, this isn’t about new software in the basement of the RNC. It’s not about a few Spanish language radio ads. It’s a fundamental rethink that begins with policy because the country is changing and if we don’t modernize conservatism, we can go extinct. The numbers are the numbers.

9. Karl Rove: The ground game sucked, and consultants made too much money. (Srsly.)

Perhaps the biggest loser in election 2012 -- aside from Romney himself -- is Karl Rove, former presidential aide to George W. Bush, and the man who engineered Bush’s 2000 and 2004 electoral strategy. Since leaving government life, Rove has been doing double-duty as both the sugar-daddy front-man for American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS -- the big campaign machine designed, in the post Citizens United world, to funnel tons of money into advertising and other services that ultimately support Republican candidates.

Rove famously melted down before the Fox News television cameras on election night when, in the midst of doing his moonlighting gig as a Fox commentator, he refused to accept the results of the Obama campaign’s win in Ohio, where the G.O.P. pulled out all the stops to make voting difficult for people likely to pull the lever for the president.

Now Rove is trying to explain away why the $390 million forked over by the 1 percent and funneled through Rove’s outfits bought, well, not much of anything. But for every media buy Rove’s organizations made, political consultants got a cut, and Rove acts as though he had no control over the payment structure.

As Lucy Madison writes at