Why Won’t the Republicans Clean House?

As we have been reminded 11 times in the past few weeks, when a football team completes a disastrous regular season or two, the ownership's reaction is almost always the same: clean house and start fresh.

National Republican leaders should be thankful their party isn't an NFL franchise. Since 2006, they've presided over almost nothing but failure, but the cries for the scalps have been remarkably muted.

Consider the case of Robert "Mike" Duncan, who was installed as chairman of the Republican National Committee two Januarys ago, just after his party suffered a thorough drubbing in the 2006 midterm elections.

In the two years since, the anonymous Duncan, an aging Kentucky banker who raised a small fortune for Mitch McConnell's campaigns, has invisibly tended to his R.N.C. duties (save for the occasional television appearance, which typically features his listless recitation of flat talking-points, punctuated by a mangled sound bite or two). He's made his biggest headlines by fighting with his fellow Republicans, and – oh yes – his party lost the White House, eight Senate seats, 21 House seats and a governorship in the 2008 election. If there's an equivalent to a 2-14 season in politics, this is surely it.

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Why Won’t the Republicans Clean House?