Immediately following Republican Mitt Romney’s election loss in November, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus ordered a thorough and honest review of what went wrong and what the Republican Party could do to grow and improve its campaigns. With the much-anticipated report just released, conservatives are accusing the party committee that wrote it of trying to turn Republicans into Democrats.
Growth & Opportunity Project
That’s the name of the just released report from the Republican National Committee. Charged with analyzing every detail of the November 2012 General Election, the GOP Growth and Opportunity Project Committee consisted of five Republicans, seemingly from various demographic locations. While some of the names aren’t immediately recognizable, others come from the most elite levels of the Republican establishment.
The more well-known members of the Committee include former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, former White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, and Bush family ally and veteran GOP political adviser Sally Bradshaw. The remaining two Committee members include Puerto Rico Committeewoman Zori Fonalledas and South Carolina Committeeman Glenn McCall.
‘We met with, or spoke to more than 2,600 people, both outside Washington and inside the Beltway,’ the report begins, ‘We spoke to voters, technical experts, private sector officials, Party members, and elected office holders.’ Showing where much of the group’s data came from, the report goes on to explain, ‘We convened in-depth focus groups with voters in Iowa and Ohio who used to call themselves Republicans…We conducted a poll among 2,000 Republican Hispanic voters.’ But the largest contingent of feedback came from the Committee’s online survey, which the report acknowledges, ‘more than 36,000 individuals participated in.’
The Republican Party’s problems
According to the report, ‘Public perception of the Party is at record lows. Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country. When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us.’
The 100-page analysis commissioned and carried out by the party also gives specific examples proving the Grand Old Party is in a serious decline. ‘Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections,’ it reads, ‘States in which our presidential candidates used to win, such as New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, and Florida are increasingly voting Democratic. We are losing in too many places.’
The solutions and backlash
The first criticism and solution the report offers takes aim at national party leaders in favor of state leaders saying, ‘It is time for Republicans on the federal level to learn from successful Republicans on the state level.’ It goes on to describe the GOP’s Governors as, ‘America’s reformers in chief. They continue to deliver on conservative promises of reducing the size of government while making people’s lives better.’
According to a number of conservative Republicans, the special party report misses the mark completely. Outlets like Breitbart.com insist that rather than analyzing what went wrong last year, the party should research all the things that went right in the recent past. But they do point out a number of seemingly good ideas the report suggests for the GOP. Among them are, ‘a shorter primary process, fewer debates, an earlier national convention, and closer engagement with minority communities.’
‘There is nothing in the report about strengthening the Republican Party’s commitment to conservative principles – the winning formula in 1980, 1994, and 2010’ Breitbart.com reports. The outlet continues to criticize the Committee’s recommendation that the party should create a ‘Growth and Opportunity Inclusion Council’ that is made up of ‘nonwhites’. In addition to those terms, the party report also suggested, ‘a more welcoming conservatism’.
Taking the national Republican Party to task, the conservative outlet goes on to chastise the Committee members for suggesting the solution is more money and a bigger party executive staff. Comparing the idea to the Democrat’s ‘big government’, the author criticizes the Committee saying, ‘In many ways the RNC’s report reads like a government policy prospectus – full of earnest exhortations and ambitious targets, bereft of common sense principles and clear, attainable priorities.’
Friends and Allies
One section of the extensive GOP report details the party’s relationship with groups it calls ‘Friends and Allies’. Those friends and allies include Super PAC’s, corporate donors, foreign contributors, and finally semi-Republican groups like the Tea Party.
Another recommended friend and ally, according to the report and shocking rank and file Republicans, is the Democratic Party itself. The Committee recommends that the two parties team up to reduce or eliminate campaign finance restrictions in order to, as Breitbart.com put it, ‘strengthen the power and cohesion of the two national parties relative to third-party groups.’
Showing its own seeming double-standard, the report goes on to take two drastically different positions regarding the super-rich and multi-national corporations – two of the GOP’s biggest supporters. Committee members concentrate much of their effort on ways to, ‘raise corporate money’, while at the same time advising the party to adopt the Democratic Party position of attacking large corporate bonuses, pay packages and golden parachutes.
As far as non-whites are concerned, the report suggests the GOP reach out to groups like the NAACP. Representing the reaction of many Republicans, the Breitbart column calls the organization’s policies ‘decidedly radical and do not even represent public opinion in the black community.’ Aside from black voters, the GOP Committee also sees Hispanics as the future. The report suggests the party should, ‘elevate Hispanic leaders’, while the conservatives at Breitbart.com counter, ‘as if it has not already done so – on merit, and more often than the Democrats.’
From this independent column’s impression, it seems the GOP is ignoring corruption, fraud and waste. Instead, they invite more of it by recommending more involvement by foreign entities and multi-national corporations. And the fact that the GOP report suggests the party should work together with Democrats, not to help the country, but to flood our election system with even more mysterious multi-million dollar campaign contributions says it all. And while those suggestions may seem like great ideas at the top of the party, the rank and file seem to disagree.
Click here to view the full Growth and Opportunity Project Report