Republicans' 2012 'autopsy' needs an autopsy

The day before Donald Trump declared that he would enact a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States" should he become president, a poll was released finding that 58 percent of respondents felt Trump was hurting the Republican Party's image, and half that his rhetoric was "insulting and offensive." Just about one quarter of respondents felt he was helping the party's reputation.

Trump's attacks on immigrants, Syrian refugees, Muslims and other groups have fed the notion that Republicans are cruel and unwelcoming toward outsiders. It's a notion that Republicans once sought to dispel.

Many Republicans have rushed to condemn Trump's remarks. (Though a handful of conservative writers are praising it. Influential blogger Erick Erickson called the proposal "brilliant politics.") But it's difficult to see how these condemnations will drown out the noise made by Trump's original remarks.

In just a few months, Trump has managed to offend immigrants and Hispanics with his comments about Mexican immigrants being rapists and criminals and with his proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. He has also offended women, military veterans and people with disabilities, among others.