BROTHER, CAN YOU SPARE A POLICY IDEA?…. Given this week’s results, it stands to reason that those in positions of power in the Republican Party are in a tough spot. Worse, they have to figure out a way forward without any real ideas or policy solutions that Americans might like.

So, in an exercise that seems rather sad, the RNC is turning to the rank and file, hoping they might have some ideas on how the party can pull itself out of its ditch. (via the “Rachel Maddow Show” from last night)

Republicans are trying to figure out what went wrong, so they’ve decided to listen up by inviting supporters to weigh in with their views on the election outcome and where the party should go from here.

Republican National Committee Chairman Robert M. (Mike) Duncan said today the party will be creating a Web site to gather feedback from GOP voters.

“In the coming weeks the RNC will launch a new online initiative called ‘Republicans for a Reason,” Duncan said at a National Press Club gathering. “It will provide voters a forum to speak their mind; to tell us why they are Republicans; to tell us how we may have let them down this year; and what we can do to restore their confidence in our party.”

It’s an unusual concession, isn’t it? Republicans are effectively telling voters, “We’re lost and hope someone might give us some direction.”

In fact, the Guardian reported that voters can also offer the RNC advice on what to do next through a “hotline,” appealing for suggestions from the public on how to rebuild. (I’ve looked around the phone number, but I haven’t tracked it down. If anyone knows how to call into the hotline, let me know.)

The point, of course, isn’t that Republicans are trying some new gimmicks, but rather, that the party has fallen so far, it doesn’t even know what to do next.

The debate over which is the “party of ideas” appears to be over — as is Karl Rove’s idea of “permanent” Republican majority.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.