When the Republican National Committee released a report on the health of the GOP and called it an "autopsy" — instead of a prognosis — last week, were they admitting that the Republican Party is dead?
After all, you don't come back from an autopsy!
Yet that's what Republicans were calling their own assessment of how they handled the 2012 presidential election. And this "autopsy" will reportedly become their new playbook for correcting the things that went wrong last year.
Luck would not suffice. They are going to need miracles to resuscitate the GOP cadaver.
Nevertheless, some GOP right-wing extremists already are balking over the report's call for comprehensive immigration reform, claiming that their party should stick to its anti-amnesty principles and should not abide by the will of the American people who say such reform is necessary.
While the report avoids taking policy positions and concentrates mostly on procedural changes the GOP should make in future elections, on the issue where it makes an exception and delves into policy — immigration — it could cause a civil war within the GOP.
The autopsy was quite specific about what Republicans must do to appeal to Latino voters and resurrect their party: "We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform," the report says. "If we do not, our Party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only."
But the immigrant bashers are willing to go down with the ship. You hear the claiming that Republicans should not try to appeal to Latino voters for the sake of political expediency. Or you hear them listing the other issues they claim they have in common with Latinos.
Amazingly, even though we know Mitt Romney's position on immigration may have cost him the Latino vote and the presidential election, we still hear some Republicans arguing that there are other issues with which to appeal to Latinos. They still cite surveys that show education, jobs and the economy are more important issues than immigration to Latinos.
They don't seem to understand that immigration is our gateway issue, that you can't even get through the gate to talk to us about any other issue if we know you don't want us here is the first place.
Even the autopsy spells it out quite clearly: "If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence," the report says. "It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our advice."
But why did it take Republicans so long to figure that out? Is it so hard to understand that people don't vote for politicians who show they don't like you? Who pander to those who would like to see you deported? Who constantly threaten to diminish your civil rights?
Why are some Republicans still struggling with granting legalization to some 11 million people who have been part of our communities for many years? And how can they win Latino voters when so many still express racist attitudes?
Let's say the GOP can be resurrected, even after an autopsy. How would the Republican establishment ever be able to control the hatred-spewing extremists in its party? It only takes a few loud mouths to give Latinos the perception that Republicans still are bashing immigrants.
How do they stop their own candidates from using xenophobia to get elected? How do they stifle talk radio bigots who have so much influence over their conservative base?
Most Republicans don't hate immigrants. But a loud minority of Republicans will continue to do them all a lot of harm, especially among Latino voters.
Perhaps that's why they called their report an autopsy. Perhaps they are recognizing that the extremists are killing their party.
To find out more about Miguel Perez and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.