But Brooks’s fantasy of instant post election “glasnost” belies outcome of his analogue: A brutal fight ending in dissolution, not reform.
— Richard Yeselson (@yeselson) December 9, 2012
I assume Brooks chose to use the term glasnost because of one way that the word has been translated (openness), but Yeselson is right that glasnost did not help to preserve the USSR, as Gorbachev intended, but instead contributed to its collapse. A “Republican glasnost” would not herald the start of a renewed or revitalized GOP, but instead suggests one riven by its internal divisions and plagued by serious weaknesses. That very well might be what the near future holds for the Republican Party, but that need not conclude with the disintegration of the party.
It does suggest a period of political weakness for the next several years. During these years, the party may end up following the wills o’ the wisp that are Rubio and Ryan and others like them. That would lure Republicans onto the treacherous ground of adopting a modified Bushism without discarding most of Bushism’s most harmful elements of foreign policy adventurism, national security authoritarianism, and fiscal irresponsibility.
Rubio and Ryan have so far been offering the quick fix of “rebranding” and improved messaging, which takes for granted that the content being conveyed to the public is otherwise fine. The GOP hasn’t changed much at all since the election ended, and it would be unusual if it had. The party that shrugged off defeats in 2006 and 2008 as nothing more than flukes isn’t yet ready to make rapid adjustments to another defeat. More to the point, a party that still doesn’t fully understand why it lost in 2006 and 2008 won’t be able to make sense of its latest loss for some time.