You may have noticed that there has been some soul-searching lately within the Republican Party (one take; another; another). That’s understandable since they lost the November election. But why do Democrats (such as MSNBC hosts) also talk a lot about what the Republicans should do to be more relevant?

Honorary Hasbarist (Richard Cohen) has the answer. In today’s edition of his regular Tuesday Washington Post Op-Ed he discusses how difficult it has been for the Republicans to nominate someone who can actually win the Presidency; and toward the end he says:

I am not now and never have been a Republican, so you might think it’s all right with me if the party keeps serving up lame candidates with lame ideas. But I rely on the GOP to keep the Democrats honest, to challenge some of their occasionally ludicrous ideas and, every once in a while, to come up with a candidate who gives me pause in the voting booth.

Of course, the conventional way of interpreting this admission would be to say that HH is not a true, died-in-wool Democrat, but someone about a quarter of the way to switching parties if a Republican candidate who did somewhat more than “giving pause” came along, or perhaps if the Democrat in the race had too many “ludicrous ideas” (like, say, affirming the United Nations’ position that Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are illegal).

But I take HH at his word. He greatly fears the collapse of the Republican Party over the current division between its right-of-center and tea party wings (as happened to the Whigs in the mid 19th century over the question of slavery). For what would a Democrat like him do if that happened? The answer, it seems to me, is that the Democrats would have to acknowledge that the mess the country is in was entirely their responsibility. There would be no one else to blame.

What do you think?