David Winston and Myra Miller, two very smart pollsters who work for Republicans when they work in politics, have released their post-election analysis, and it is worth a read.
After acknowledging some Democratic gains in key demographic groups, the flaws in Mitt Romney's theory of his case for election and Democratic superiority in voter contact, Winston and Miller conclude that these factors are insufficient to explain Romney's loss or the loss in Republican Senate seats. The final paragraphs caught my eye:
What Republican campaigns need to develop is the ability to win issues and prove their candidates are ready to govern. David Cameron in his effort to modernize the Conservative Party redefined its purpose as not to win elections but to prove the party is ready to govern. The implication is that once you have proven you are ready to govern, you will win elections.
At a broader level, Republicans have to become the party of economic growth again, and effectively engage in developing and advocating policies that reflect that. This is essential if Republicans hope to grow as a party.
Now my commentary on top of theirs. Is House Speaker John Boehner’s latest offer the sign of a party that has new ideas for stimulating economic growth? I don't believe so.
The main takeaway most Americans get from the Republicans’ offer is: 1) its primary design feature is to avoid any tax increases on the wealthiest Americans; and 2) despite Speaker Boehner's continued reasonableness (at least by Republican standards), he doesn't even have the support of the rank and file on even this modest compromise.
So, it would seem Republicans are a long way from being able to govern. In fact, the party seems to suffer from the revolutionaries’ dilemma: It is easier to overthrow the established order than it is to replace it effectively. The Republicans won in 2010 and were poised to win in 2012, but many don't seem ready for the responsibility.