Ebert: The GOP will have to move to the center
BY ROGER EBERT Twitter: @ebertchicago November 6, 2012 10:56PM
Updated: December 8, 2012 6:15AM
It was an unexpected conversation to hear among the anchors at Fox News. Long before the election had been called, and with Florida and Ohio still out, some of them tentatively started speculating it was time for the Republican Party to rethink its appeal. Its reliance on its right-wing base didn’t seem to be proving out. The truism that America is a center-right country has shifted and it is a center-moderate country and many of the moderate votes on Tuesday seemed to be going to a liberal.
The bottom line: America is growing more diverse and the votes won’t be there for a party most strongly appealing to white men. And even there, the demographics in Ohio suggested that Obama was getting more of the white male vote than last time. Fox interviewed Sarah Palin in Wasilla, Alaska, who said she was “disappointed” and then added some sound political insight: “I think the ads about Bain Capital really hurt.”
No matter how she meant that, she was right. A white male millionaire who refused to disclose his tax returns and parked a fortune in offshore funds no longer had enough appeal in these hard times. Like it or not, the GOP will have to move toward the center and abandon the fiction that hewing to the right was a formula for victory. It also is significant that all of its candidates who were goofy about rape were defeated. Women vote, too.
The race was close, and Karl Rove sought consolation in the popular vote but the fact was, his day was done. And it isn’t coming for Paul Ryan. The GOP is a party in need of mainstream candidates.