As far as the nation is concerned, it would seem that the Republican contribution to the President's stirring practical fair-minded State of the Union Address last night amounts to the image of Eric Cantor's supremely sour facial expression throughout the speech together with the decline and fall narrative and austerity for all but the already rich prescriptions of Mitch Daniels' dreary Republican Response providing the caption.
While critics deride the conspicuous exhaustion of the GOP's Gipper Pep and delusional can-do Zazz (Is that weepy John Boehner I hear in the background, with his "Hell, no you can't!" banshee howl?), I think it is only fair to point out that Republicans are not demoralized by phantoms, after all, but by palpable realities: the wholesome demographic diversification of the nation has stolen the racist Southern Strategy and gay bashing culture war flogging away from them at last.
With less hate to divide the people who work for a living from one another and provide cover for their pro-plutocracy activism the GOP finds itself at the margins of an ever more secular multiculture, and is forced to appeal precisely to the most desperate dwindling dead-end extremists and know-nothings in their coalition for organizational energy at the cost of ongoing accelerating self-marginalization. When Republicans rail about decline it is not America's but their own they are testifying to, and the decline is real, as is their pain.
The Republicans have plenty to be grumpy about. You see, they are right: the mean parochial white racist America they love is going, going, gone for good, and they are not ever going to get it back. They lost the culture wars, they are losing the political wars, they are on the verge of losing the social wars, and either they will lose or in winning we will all lose the sustainability war.