I was amused to read Maggie Haberman’s piece in Politico today that expressed her or her employers’ frustration with the length of the post-2012 period of reflection in the Republican Party. I mean, Lord, it’s gone on for close to four months now, which in Politico Years is a century.

More revealing is Haberman’s summary of the “camps” in the GOP with differing views of the party’s problems:

There’s a split between those who believe the party’s problem is cosmetic, those who believe it’s data-based and those who think it’s ideological and policy-based.

That third camp–you know, the one in touch with objective reality–is not mentioned again in the remainder of this long article. And why should it be? Nobody but a few wonks–and maybe the perpetually misaligned Jon Huntsman–is over there toasting marshmallows at that tiny fire.

The rest of the campers are happy to argue with each other over the advisability of this or that “reform” so long as no one brings up ideology, which by definition cannot be wrong because it’s the ideology of The Founders, and the Real Americans, and the job-creators, and the “makers,” and in some accounts, of Almighty God–yea, of Ronald Reagan! So to the vast impatience of Politico, which wants to stop all this deep thinking and get on with the fiscal battles and the next two election cycles, Republicans will continue their Struggle For the Epidermis of the Party until it’s very clear “maintaining conservative principles” is the wave of the future, just like it’s been since 1964.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.