He makes the points that since the 70s the main thrust of the GOP has been to get rid of the welfare state, which sounds like a popular plan until you start saying what you would cut, namely Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, which are all popular programs. To do this, the GOP approach has been to try to use tax cuts to force cuts in social spending, or to get so much political strength that they could just force cuts through.
O.K., you see the problem: Democrats didn't go along with the program, and refused to give up. Worse, from the Republican point of view, all of their party's sources of strength have turned into weaknesses. Democratic dominance among Hispanics has overshadowed Republican dominance among southern whites; women's rights have trumped the politics of abortion and antigay sentiment; and guess who finally did get Osama bin Laden.
And look at where we are now in terms of the welfare state: far from killing it, Republicans now have to watch as Mr. Obama implements the biggest expansion of social insurance since the creation of Medicare.
So Republicans have suffered more than an election defeat, they've seen the collapse of a decades-long project. And with their grandiose goals now out of reach, they literally have no idea what they want, hence their inability to make specific demands.
It's a dangerous situation. The G.O.P. is lost and rudderless, bitter and angry, but it still controls the House and, therefore, retains the ability to do a lot of harm, as it lashes out in the death throes of the conservative dream.
Our best hope is that business interests will use their influence to limit the damage. But the odds are that the next few years will be very, very ugly.
I see his points.
The GOP has been going down the same road a long time now, and is at a decision point: (a) do we do more of the same, or (b) do we do something different?
Doing more of the same is a bad idea. They've lost the last Presidential election, and demographics are working against them, and what they have been suggesting (trickle down economics) clearly is only working for those at the top. Also their stance on gun control seems to be more and more unpopular.
Doing something different is difficult. First of all, the obstructionist policies of the last few years has chased away many of the people on their side capable of leadership. Secondly they are a diverse mashup of (alleged) fiscal conservatives, social conservatives, religious people and radicals.
I wouldn't want to be in Boehner's shoes right now. He seems the be the one who is at most risk of being labelled the person who took us over the fiscal cliff.
The fiscal cliff is a creation of Congress and one way to overt that would be to undo it as fast as it was done, but that'd be almost as bad to Boehner as going over the cliff would be. My bet is that someone else will end up doing that dirty work so that Boehner can save face.