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GOP faces reckoning about party direction

By Peter St. Onge
Associate Editor

It wasn’t Hurricane Sandy stealing momentum.

It wasn’t the media.

It wasn’t even, on some levels, Mitt Romney.

Republicans lost in an electoral knockout Tuesday to an eminently beatable president, and they have Republicans to blame. Not all of them, but enough of them to help the GOP become the party that wouldn’t talk about raising taxes to confront the debt, the party that’s losing the mainstream on gay rights and immigration, the party of rigidity, not compromise.

The GOP will face a reckoning now, and it’s one that should be heartening to moderates who’ve felt their party slipping away. Yes, the far right will claim Romney lost because he wasn’t conservative enough, that he didn’t convince America he truly believed in the party’s principles.

But it’s no mistake that Romney’s low point in the campaign came with the revelation that he threw red meat to fundraisers about 47 percent of Americans. And it’s telling that his late surge came as he started to become the candidate he used to be – a moderate, pragmatic Republican.

Said S.C. Republican Lindsay Graham before the election: “If I hear anybody say it was because Romney wasn’t conservative enough I’m going to go nuts. We’re not losing 95 percent of African-Americans and two-thirds of Hispanics and voters under 30 because we’re not being hard-ass enough.”

No, Republicans weren’t only a party that lost an election Tuesday night.

It’s a party that’s beginning to lose America.

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