NY Times Mag Cover Story on Young Repubs Battling 'Far Right, 'Extreme Wing'

Republicans, beware "help" from the New York Times. Robert Draper, a contributing writer to the  magazine, threw four "far right" and two "extreme" labels into his 6,500-word profile of several young conservatives looking to revamp the Republican Party for the 21 century: "The Late Adopters." The cover introduced the story: "G.O.P. Smartphone – Can young, tech-savvy Republicans overthrow their party's disconnected old guard?"

The article is actually worth reading for its informative nuggets on how far the GOP trailed the Obama campaign in social media outreach. But Draper readily nods along to the assumptions that the GOP is both technologically and ideologically out of touch and will have to give up its opposition to gay marriage and soft-pedal abortion.

But [Lee] Atwater, the legendary R.N.C. chairman, did not have to worry about freelance voices like Limbaugh and Todd Akin offending whole swaths of emerging demographic groups. Nor during the Atwater era, when Ronald Reagan was president, did the party’s most extreme wing intimidate other Republicans into legislating like extremists themselves, thereby further tarnishing the party’s image. When I mentioned this to the Proximus gathering, Goodwin explained the dilemma faced by Republicans in Congress. “What forces them to vote that way, 9 times out of 10, is a fear of a primary challenge,” he said. “What we hope to accomplish is to bring more voters into Republican primaries, so that it isn’t just the far right that shows up at the polls.”

The dilemma, Goodwin acknowledged, is that the far-right rhetoric may well repel such voters from participating in G.O.P. primaries to begin with. “We recognize that this isn’t something that’s going to happen anytime soon,” he said.