THEY STILL DON’T GET IT…. A couple of weeks ago, Thomas Friedman had a pretty good column about, among other things, Republican leaders’ inability to appreciate the seriousness of the times. The GOP, Friedman said, “behaves as if it would rather see the country fail than Barack Obama succeed.”

Rush Limbaugh, the de facto G.O.P. boss, said so explicitly, prompting John McCain to declare about President Obama to Politico: “I don’t want him to fail in his mission of restoring our economy.” The G.O.P. is actually debating whether it wants our president to fail. Rather than help the president make the hard calls, the G.O.P. has opted for cat calls. It would be as if on the morning after 9/11, Democrats said they wanted no part of any war against Al Qaeda — “George Bush, you’re on your own.”

Two weeks later, Republican leaders still don’t get it.

It’s OK for Republicans to want President Obama to fail if they think he’s jeopardizing the country, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal told members of his political party Tuesday night.

Jindal described the premise of the question — “Do you want the president to fail?” — as the “latest gotcha game” being perpetrated by Democrats against Republicans.

“Make no mistake: Anything other than an immediate and compliant, ‘Why no sir, I don’t want the president to fail,’ is treated as some sort of act of treason, civil disobedience or political obstructionism,” Jindal said at a political fundraiser attended by 1,200 people. “This is political correctness run amok.”

It’s not just Jindal.

Count former GOP presidential candidate Fred Thompson among the growing chorus of prominent Republicans who want President Obama’s policies to fail. […]

Thompson told CNN’s John Roberts Wednesday that he agreed with some of his fellow Republicans who have said publicly they do not want the president’s policies to be successful.

“I want his policies that I believe take us in the wrong direction to fail,” Thompson told Roberts on CNN’s American Morning.

In the midst of multiple generational challenges, some of the Republican Party’s most prominent voices continue to explore whether they can get away with rooting for the president’s failure — a debate initiated two months ago by a right-wing, drug-addled radio host, who seems to enjoy a little too much influence over the direction of one of the nation’s major political parties.

There’s a real policy debate underway at the big kids’ table. If Republicans want to participate, they’re going to have to get serious for a change.

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.