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by
Bryan Preston

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March 18, 2013 - 10:49 am

Depending on which take you read, you can come out thinking that the RNC’s new report on the state of the GOP is either going big to wrestle with the party’s problems or that it’s copping out and offering lots of same-old same-old.

For the bold case, read PJ Media alum Jennifer Rubin.

For the meh case, DrewM at Ace of Spades.

The report is here should you want to read it for yourself.

Put me closer to the meh camp. The “bold” ideas are coming from the same wing of the party that nominated Mitt Romney, who ran anything but a bold campaign. Before that, they nominated John McCain. Had they had their druthers, they would’ve nominated George H. W. Bush over Ronald Reagan. Their track record isn’t great.

The “bold” ideas they proffer include passing comprehensive immigration reform, and Rubin deploys language like this to characterize those who oppose this boldness.

Don’t be surprised, however, to see a backlash from those appealing to anti-immigration exclusionists.

That’s quite a line to use against fellow Republicans who prefer security and the rule of law over repeating the mistakes of the past. In my own case, I’m married to a legal immigrant. But I’m an “anti-immigration exclusionist” because I believe that the current push for what amounts to an amnesty is a bad idea, which will not help secure the border, hurts Americans workers by depressing wages, and will end up hurting sound policy over the medium and long term, until we come back around to another amnesty in a couple of decades.

I humbly submit that Rubin is part of the problem, not the solution. It’s not a coincidence that one of those who put the report together is a Jeb Bush ally. Another is a long-time lobbyist. On immigration they’re pushing for the same things they’ve always pushed for, year in and year out.

We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only. We also believe that comprehensive immigration reform is consistent with Republican economic policies that promote job growth and opportunity for all.

We’re not a policy committee, but if you don’t accept this policy we’ve literally been pushing for years and the federal government has no record of dealing with effectively, and on which the Democrats have built a record of racist demagoguery that we have no interest in countering, then you’re an exclusionist.

And they’re worried about turning off non-Republican voters…

Question: If the Republicans give in on this, where do voters who support the rule of law go?

Another of their “bold” ideas is to soften up on same-sex marriage, citing the preferences of younger voters.

But same younger voters may also abandon our strategic relationship with Israel. That’s which way they’re leaning. Why are we told to listen to the young on one issue but not the other?

Another of its bold ideas is to speak more to the culture in apolitical venues. That’s a good idea, but hardly bold and hardly original to the RNC’s insider group. Conservatives should get into events like SXSW and should appear more in venues that we’ve been mocking Obama for appearing in. This has worked for Obama and is obviously something more Republicans should be willing to do. Marco Rubio is already leading the way on this, and more should follow.

Another of its bold ideas is to go populist on corporate America.

We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years.

These people sound like liberals talking. I’m not saying that they are liberals, but they do sound like them.

Here’s some good advice in the report, which only ends up raising more questions.

It is time for Republicans on the federal level to learn from successful Republicans on the state level. It is time to smartly change course, modernize the Party, and learn once again how to appeal to more people, including those who share some but not all of our conservative principles.

Ok, but which ones? Scott Walker, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, or Chris Christie? Or Nikki Haley or Susana Martinez? On page 11 the report basically answers “Yes.” It even puts Walker and Christie in the same bullet point. They’re two very different animals and they’re succeeding in blue states in similar, yet different, ways. The report doesn’t mention Perry in its section on governors, despite Texas being the nation’s job-creation engine during his tenure. It’s an interesting omission that says quite a bit about intraparty politics.

There are some good ideas in the report — fewer debates during the primary, for instance — and a surrender while advocating for reorganizing the primary. It calls for fewer caucuses (good) but would continue giving the current early states too much influence over the nomination process. The idea that Iowa and New Hampshire have more say over whom the GOP nominates than Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas is insane. Texan Bill Calhoun has long has some excellent ideas on GOP efforts to attract more minority voters and he deserves national funding and support.

If the RNC follows some of the recommendations of its report, it will essentially cede many policy battles to the Democrats at a time when the Democrats’ policies are threatening to wreck the country.What message will this send to the party’s grassroots? It looks to me like the people who put this report together are embarrassed to be associated with much of the GOP’s grassroots, and they find the Democrats’ left wing less embarrassing, so they’re moving toward them and away from conservatives. I’m not saying that they’re actually doing this, but they are giving that impression in parts of the report.

One important factor it mostly ignores is the importance of candidate quality. Candidates matter, a lot. Much more so than the consultants they hire and who came under fire during CPAC. Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock both cost the GOP seats, as did Christine O’Donnell and Sharron Angle before them. Two of those were Tea Party candidates, and two were establishment candidates. Two men, two women. Tea Partiers Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul have become the party’s new faces and leaders. They don’t all agree on all of the issues, but none of them are milquetoasts.The establishment’s preferred candidate against Rubio is now a Democrat. The same thing happened in Pennsylvania. The establishment’s record isn’t great, and the Tea Party’s isn’t perfect. But good, strong candidates who can clearly articulate conservative ideals tend to win, male or female, Tea Party or establishment. Marco Rubio is onto something when he says we don’t really need a new idea. What we need are better candidates who are consistent and can connect with voters and are, frankly, not idiots.

Mitt Romney was an establishment candidate, and he was also a poor candidate. Great fundraiser, nice man, excellent private-sector experience, but a poor candidate. He failed to follow up on his first debate victory and gave Obama a pass on Benghazi when he could have and should have pinned him. CNN’s Candy Crowley gave Obama a huge assist, but Romney ultimately could have won that moment. He didn’t. He also surrounded himself with poor personnel who advised him to stick to soft messaging that muddied the differences between himself and Obama. His top advisers didn’t even understand the media. A better candidate who made better personnel decisions and avoided mistakes while going bigger on the anti-Obama messaging could have won.

We’ll have better candidates available in 2016. What remains to be seen is what the party will do with, and to, them.

 

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
If the GOP adopts the Identity Politics game, then it is imperative that white Europeans and men organize themselves so as to particpate in the new system of governance where special interests are pandered to for votes. Else all other groups will be getting special consideration at the expense of those groups who are not playing.

This is clearly where we are headed, or rather already are.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
>>For the bold case, read PJ Media alum Jennifer Rubin.
For the meh case, DrewM at Ace of Spades.
The report is here should you want to read it for yourself.<<

By all means, read Rubin's and DrewM's takes on the report, but I heartily encourage you to NOT waste your time reading the report. It's the same old same old BS from the usual suspects inside the Beltway, frozen in their Beltway mindset. Basically, the report boils down to two things that most people will care about: 1) the report writers say that the way to win national elections is to be more like the Democrats...you know, like the GOP has been doing pretty much nonstop since the late '80s (how's that working out for you nitwits at GOP headquarters?) and 2) they suggest some ways to make it even more unlikely (read: impossible) than it already is for an insurgent candidate who isn't well-funded and who isn't on the Establishment's "approved" list to break through and win the GOP nomination and thereby, perhaps, save the party from itself. You know, the same sort of thinking brought to you by the same sort of folks who fought tooth and nail to keep Reagan from being the nominee way back when.

In other words, it's exactly what you'd expect to get from a bunch of GOP Beltway insiders who have not one single clue on how to connect with real people living real lives outside the Beltway.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The RNC makes no mention of the chasm between the RINO side and the more conservative elements of the GOP. Not surprising since the only function we have is as a cash machine for them. Fools that they are they are likely to find themselves 'leading' - with nobody following. It seems the time is ripe for a new party. The democrats show every sign of following the same path as the republicans in the mid 2000's during Bush's term. Dissension is growing in their ranks - seems like a good time to get a new party up and going.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (62)
All Comments   (62)
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I would say neither"! I do not think that suicide , or death through ignorance, is either bold or bland, just stupid!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The last 2 GOP candidates were socially conservative, but fiscally moderate and failed miserably. Its time we ran someone that doesn't fall into that category.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
RINO McCain and Romney socially conservative. LOL!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I voted for Mark Sanford today in the SC District 1 special election to fill the seat vacated by Tim Scott. It was between him and Larry Grooms as far as I was concerned. Larry Grooms is not a lawyer and is a decent fellow and solid conservative, a small businessman. But I think Mark Sanford can hit the ground running better, with more experience, and even a national profile, as a former Representative from District 1 and also as a former head of the Republican Governors Association.

Teddy Turner with his Daddy's money ran the most ads.

There is likely to be a runoff election because a majority is required and with 16 candidates, we arent likely to have a majority vote count for any one candidate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Morallity seems to mean as little to RINOs as it does to leftist
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Didn't know you were a fellow South Carolinian. Good to know.

But...for the first time in memory I disagree with you. I'm still sore at Sanford. We can do better in SC--We deserve better.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Who do you like? Lawyers are off the table for me.

Stephen Colbert's sister is running on the Democrat side. A tidbit for those who may not know.

Also the DOJ Voting Rights Division has monitors all over the place for this special election.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm in Joe Wilson's district. I don't get a vote :(
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Well, I wish I had known that with so many candidates it would likely go to a runoff election, I would have voted for Grooms.

As it is, Bostic (personal injury lawyer) is slightly ahead of Grooms for 2nd place (far behind Sanford), but Grooms has a good chance to close the gap in the one county where a good many precincts are still to report as he is leading Bostic there by a wide margin.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
House conservatives to offer their own four-year balanced budget proposal By Russell Berman - 03/15/13

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/288447-house-conservatives-to-offer-four-year-balanced-budget-plan


Notice how the RINO establishment is silent? It is deafening!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“We’re not here to rebrand a party, we’re here to rebuild a country.” Palin at CPAC

“Mitt Romney won 20% of Black males under the age of 30…and I think the reason Romney did so astronomically well among young Black males is they want jobs and don’t want to be competing with illegal aliens for jobs.” Coulter at CPAC

“Over the last 20 years, Gallup polls have consistently reported that twice as many Americans identify themselves as conservative as either liberal or Republican…..Conservatism is about the only thing Republicans have going for them.” Ibid.

“Teddy Kennedy specifically designed his Immigration Act of 1965 to change America demographically without checking with the American people….And we cannot get the vote of a dependent society without changing our principles.” Ibid.

“The average age at our convention both for the speakers and the attendees was about 15 years younger than at the Democrat convention.” Ibid.

Pass the hemlock.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If the GOP adopts the Identity Politics game, then it is imperative that white Europeans and men organize themselves so as to particpate in the new system of governance where special interests are pandered to for votes. Else all other groups will be getting special consideration at the expense of those groups who are not playing.

This is clearly where we are headed, or rather already are.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Since both republicans and democrats hate Christians and married people, we certainly need a multi party system.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I know where Im going. Im already flirting with the Constitution Party on the side.

Jennifer Rubin is demonizing Conservatives in the same manner as the Left is on the issue, just like So-Cons have been demonized by so many libertarians on this site for the last few days in the same manner that the Left does.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The Constitution Party is not a party, but an idle charter that does not enev seek candidates or contributions. It is an empty shell!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Agree. Someone around here posted recently that of the three pillars of conservative thought: Social Issues, Economy, and International relations, Libertarians side with Progressives (1 & 3) So what are they doing here? Or maybe, what are we doing here?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I like how you describe those concerned about blanket amnesty & such as those who "prefer security and the rule of law over repeating the mistakes of the past."

That's exactly as to how we should start framing the debate.

With that said we have to stop reacting to the word "amnesty" like a bull to a red cape. When we do we fall right in to the trap the left sets for us. If I could give amnesty to one magic illegal and solve the whole problem instantly I'd do it in a heartbeat. By conceding that amnesty is warranted in some cases the left wouldn't be able to drag out some illegal who has been here 30 years working steadily and whose grandson just got back from Afghanistan with a Purple Heart or won an Olympic medal and change the focus of the debate.

What we should be focusing on is the demand that government agencies -- including school districts -- have the same responsibility for reporting immigration violations that the left demands of small business.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I read the report, and I liked it.
Because it was willing to admit the truth:

Young people, minorities, and many women are running away from the GOP. They just don't like it, because they believe it doesn't give a damn about them.

That's the truth. What we do about it, is worth having a debate over. But the idea that the GOP can continue to win Presidential elections by turning out its shrinking base of white married Christians is now, officially, dead.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
They run because the Republicans have a reputation, and should have, of not being a gimme party, a socialist party, a party of freebes and security for all party and do not historically believe in compromising the freedom required to be those things, in other words Republicans have not historically been a socialist nanny state party. The truth is they can never out nanny the left and going down that road will never win another election.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
White married Christians ? Your blanket generalization rules out all kinds of people of varying skin colors and marital status, who see the GOP as the last vestige of constitutional principle.

Besides which, I don't want a political party to "care" about me.

I want a political party that will support the United States Constitution and understand the simple truth that the federal government has specific, limited and circumscribed functions, like providing for the common defense, especially importantwhen with crazy people who want attention (e.g., NK's Kim and Iran's Mahdi fixation guy) have and will have nuclear capacity.

The Left would love to draw us into its own game of identity politics and class warfare, competing for all these artificially defined "identity groups" it has dreamed up to keep the hostility alive and well.

Bend to the Left's BS of identity politics and whatever the GOP is at that point will be indistinguishable from the left, not to mention not worth preserving.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wont it be wonderful when this happens in Israel with regards to the Jewish majority?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You anti-Chistian hatemongers would kill us if you could.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
And they will . They think the Islamist will do it for them, but they will be the Islamist first targets according to the Quran!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It kind of doesn't matter. When the base of a married people who believe in God shrinks to the point where they are irrelevant, the country is officially dead.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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