The Republican Party knows it has a problem attracting a broader electorate. The “Growth and Opportunity Project” report (aka the GOP autopsy) released nearly a year ago is 100 pages of truth telling about the need broaden the party’s appeal. And yet it keeps doing things to make people question its sincerity about reaching out to new voters. Take the State of the Union.

President Obama hadn’t even left the White House for the House chamber before Rep. Randy Weber (R-Tex.) sent out this tweet.

File the sophomoric tone and misspellings  of a freshman congressman under “whatever.” What can’t be dismissed is the deafening silence from Weber’s colleagues and the Republican leadership about dubbing the president a Nazi, a Socialist and a dictator in less than 140 characters. All that was missing was calling the president a Kenyan. Even still, this constant delegitimization of Obama based on easily dispelled conspiracy theories and irrational fear is no way to make African Americans feel welcome.

Perhaps “Duck Dynasty” star Willie Robertson and his wife Korie would have been at the State of the Union on their own accord. Their show apparently is rather popular. But they were at the Capitol a month after the backlash and backlash over the backlash over the unpleasantness of his father’s comments about gays and “happy” blacks to GQ magazine. Willie got a ticket from Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.). Korie scored a guest ticket from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). His reelection must be in trouble if he feels compelled to nail down the reactionary vote.

 

And Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee and current chair of the House Budget Committee, ambled his way up to the visitors gallery before the speech to say hello and pose for photos with the Robertsons.

Korie and Willie Robertson with Rep. Paul Ryan (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)
Korie and Willie Robertson with Rep. Paul Ryan (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

Like I said yesterday, the sins of the father shouldn’t be visited on the son, but the son cannot escape the stench of the father. That Graham, Ryan and McAllister see nothing wrong with being seen with him serves to highlight the GOP’s electoral predicament.

Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Tex.) told the authors of the GOP autopsy, “You can’t call someone ugly and expect them to go to the prom with you.” I would tweak his quote to fit the current circumstances. “You can’t keep calling someone ugly and going out of your way to do it and expect them to even listen to your invitation to the prom.”

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @Capehartj

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.