The GOP is a Nice Party, and it wants to know why so many college students are putting it into the Friend Zone, according to a new survey, “Grand Old Party For a Brand New Generation,” published by the College Republican National Committee.If you’re not familiar with the phenomenon of Nice Guys of OkCupid, they are guys who complain that they are always being thrust into the Friend Zone, in spite of the fact that they are Clearly Great Catches Who Do Everything Right — all while demonstrating some obvious reason they aren’t. “I’m the nicest guy you will ever find, and I look for beauty on the inside,” their profiles state. “(No fatties, please.)”“What is wrong with me?” the stereotypical Nice Guy asks. “Maybe I’m TOO nice. You want someone who will treat you like dirt, and I just REFUSE to, and you are too idiotic to see that I am the best thing that will ever happen to you.”That must be what it is.It’s not that something is the matter with the Nice Guys (too many fedoras, poor hygiene, the insistence that No Doesn’t Mean No, the insistence that women are sluts and men are studs, the spelling). No. They are perfect, and you are BLIND!I mention this only because every time someone comes out, however timidly, with a study pointing out that maybe possibly on one or two issues the GOP could stand to soul-search a bit, just a little, maybe, the response bears an uncanny resemblance to the response of a Nice Guy. It’s not the pizza, Eric Cantor says, it’s the packaging.“We don’t need a new idea,” Marco Rubio says. “There is an idea, the idea is called America, and it still works.”We are nice. The problem is that you are dumb idiots who are attracted to losers. We just need to describe our excellence in a way that even you can understand, and you will see how foolish you are to keep running into the arms of Jerks Who Don’t Have Your Best Interests At Heart.It’s not that candidates keep saying strange, misogynist things that make voters worry they have just time-traveled to 1830. It’s that women don’t understand all the wonderful things the party has to offer.And that goes for Hispanic voters, too. Mitt Romney noted that the party needs to make more of an effort “to translate our message in a way that minorities understand.” Okay. As columnist Esther Cepeda said, that’s possibly “the most insulting” thing Romney has said yet on this front. “These concepts don’t need to be broken down into some simplified code so minorities can make sense of them,” she wrote. What’s the message? We’re nice. We’re great. You just don’t want a man who treats you right.This is becoming a pattern, and serious props to the College Republicans for pointing out some fairly basic things: A Facebook page is not enough! Being relevant to younger voters doesn’t mean changing the entire pizza, but maybe leave off the No Gay Marriage topping. You don’t have to be young and up on pop culture — just try not to sound like what Bobby Jindal called “the stupid party.”As Amanda Marcotte pointed out at Slate’s XXFactor, maybe the best way not to sound like weird throwback troglodytes on women’s health issues is to stop being weird throwback troglodytes on women’s health issues: “The problem is that opponents aren’t distorting the attacks on contraception. The only way for Republicans to not be perceived as anti-contraception is to stop attacking contraception.”Otherwise you have the Nice Party problem. You can keep doing exactly what you’re doing, or you can attract all those recalcitrant multitudes who just aren’t seeing how wonderful you are. You can’t do both.
Alexandra Petri writes to ComPost blog for The Washington Post.