The GOP's Extreme Makeover: Before & After

It’s been almost a year since Republican lawmakers made Democrats' job almost TOO easy, unleashing quotes about “legitimate rape,” “the 47%,” and other pre-election pearls of wisdom. Well, a lot can happen in a year. Not only has the United States' voting population shown itself to be less old, white, and male than ever before, but over the last year, Superstorm Sandy put the Northeast underwater, tragic mass shootings traumatized the nation, and the Supreme Court ruled against the GOP on issues like universal healthcare and same-sex marriage. No wonder the Republican Party is having an identity crisis in 2013. Click on for the subtle (not so subtle) makeovers before and after the election:

Welcome to the 21st Century, GOP. Won't you join us?

It’s been almost a year since Republican lawmakers made Democrats' job almost TOO easy, unleashing quotes about “legitimate rape,” “the 47%,” and other pre-election pearls of wisdom. Well, a lot can happen in a year. Not only has the United States' voting population shown itself to be less old, white, and male than ever before, but over the last year, Superstorm Sandy put the Northeast underwater, tragic mass shootings traumatized the nation, and the Supreme Court ruled against the GOP on issues like universal healthcare and same-sex marriage. No wonder the Republican Party is having an identity crisis in 2013. Click on for the subtle (not so subtle) makeovers before and after the election:

Marriage Equality: Then

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After Obama endorsed same-sex marriage in May 2012, the Republican Party doubled down on its anti-marriage equality stance. GOP presidential candidates Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Mitt Romney all signed a pledge denouncing same-sex marriage. And at least one of them paid quite a price at the polls.

Marriage Equality: Now

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Today, a record 52% of Republicans polled are in support of gay marriage. Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R-AK) thoughtful, articulate, and...yes, conservative, defense of gay marriage released this month made her the third GOP Senator to make the big gay switch this year. Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Rob Portman (R-OH) (whose own son is gay) announced their support earlier this year. Now that the Supreme Court has struck down DOMA and Proposition 8, it will be hard even for Republicans to justify their anti-equality positions for much longer. We’re keeping an eye on Susan Collins (R-ME) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) to see who will be the next to flip.

Gun Control: Then

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Even after a horrific movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado left 12 dead and 58 injured last summer, Republicans stuck to their guns, literally. It didn't come as much of a surprise, of course, to anyone following the money trail from the NRA. Even the American people continued to resist connecting the dots between gun violence and gun laws.

Gun Control: Now

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Following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, it did become harder for Republicans to speak out in defense of guns, but there was still no sign of legislative change. When Republicans in Congress voted against nine new pieces of legislation, including one requiring background checks and another banning assault weapons, some of their approval ratings suffered for it. Joe Biden has promised not to give up on gun control, meaning these issues will likely face congressional votes again soon. A few Republican Senators reportedly regret their votes, but we'll believe it when we see it.

Immigration: Then

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The 2012 Republican Party platform suggested putting a border fence, cutting in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and enforcing strict regulations to prevent undocumented workers from getting jobs among other harsh immigration restrictions. Mitt Romney himself supported so-called "self-deportation," basically a plan to make immigrants lives so miserable in the States that they would run for Mexico and never look back.

Immigration: Now

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Popular support for a legal path to citizenship for immigrants has become undeniable, reaching almost two-thirds this year. Eighty percent of the growing population of minority voters went with Obama in 2012, which was enough to convince the RNC to drop $10 million on new minority outreach efforts. Cuban-American Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) has become the face of the Republican immigration solution. He teamed up with the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of Senators, to craft a new package of reforms that includes giving immigrants a legal path to citizenship. Many congressional Republicans remain wary of supporting the reforms, but this kind of across-the-aisle collaboration represents progress nonetheless.

Women's Issues: Then

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Does the phrase “War on Women” ring a bell? Republicans took up arms against women's rights in just about every arena last year: reproductive healthcare, workplace equality, violence against women, and, of course, abortion. Oh yeah, and "legitimate rape" are two words that actually came out of Todd Akin's mouth.

Women's Issues: Now

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The Republican majority House finally agreed to renew the longstanding Violence Against Women Act this spring. The party, recognizing its problem with women, also introduced the Republican Women's Policy Committee this year (but don't get your hopes up too much about the group — it's really just a PR bandaid). They also learned to keep their distance from colleagues dumb enough to utter statements like this in public. Especially don't expect these ladies to support a woman's right to choose anytime soon.

And last but not least....

Here’s a picture of Obama and Chris Christie holding hands to remind you that, yes, that really happened.