(Rolling Stone) -- After watching voters punish the GOP in the 2012 elections, Republican elites have been talking a brave game about reforms that would make the party less repulsive to Latinos, women and gay-friendly millennials. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the GOP's hip-hop-quoting young standard-bearer, is pressing conservatives to back an amnesty for undocumented immigrants. Dozens of party stalwarts, headlined by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, renounced their opposition to gay marriage in a Supreme Court brief. GOP bigwigs have even launched New Republican - a group modeled after Bill Clinton's centrist Democratic Leadership Council - which seeks to rebrand the party as "colorblind," "not anti-government" and dedicated to "ending corporate welfare."
Don't be fooled. On the ground, a very different reality is unfolding: In the Republican-led Congress, GOP-dominated statehouses and even before the nation's highest court, the reactionary impulses of the Republican Party appear unbowed. Across the nation, the GOP's severely conservative agenda - which seeks to impose job-killing austerity, to roll back voting and reproductive rights, to deprive the working poor of health care, and to destroy agencies that protect the environment from industry and consumers from predatory banks - is moving forward under full steam.