GOP’s reform report arrives at a debate already well under way

The Republican National Committee has released its “autopsy” on the 2012 election and outline of how to win future federal elections, and it appears to pull no punches. But I have a bone to pick with the way it is being reported, for instance by the Associated Press story linked by my AJC colleague Jim Galloway:

In calling for the GOP to develop “a more welcoming conservatism,” the report rebukes those who remain in denial about the seriousness of the problem and those who are unwilling to broaden the party’s appeal.

A just-concluded gathering of conservatives in Washington cheered speaker after speaker who urged the GOP to stick to its guns and, instead, largely blamed the 2012 defeat on Romney or the way he ran his campaign.

I don’t know whether the AP reporter was at CPAC, the “just-concluded gathering” to which the story referred, and which I attended. But that second paragraph, in my view, completely misrepresents the take-away from the conference.

To say the attendees “cheered speaker after speaker who urged the GOP to stick to its guns” is about a gross a generalization as I can think of. What does it mean? That the attendees want the GOP to ignore the kind of reforms mentioned in the report? That none of the speakers, or at least none of the ones who were “cheered,” urged any changes?

Nonsense. Utter and complete nonsense.

The winner of the CPAC straw poll for possible 2016 presidential candidates was Sen. Rand Paul, who said the GOP had grown “stale and moss-covered,” voiced support for “liberty in both the economic and personal sphere” and specifically referred to the distaste the “Facebook generation” has for jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. Is that sticking to one’s guns?

Or how about the loud cheers for Sen. Marco Rubio, who finished second to Paul in the straw poll and has been one of the most prominent Republicans working on the kind of “comprehensive immigration reform” the authors of the RNC report suggested? Or the fact that the members of the most prominent panel on immigration at CPAC scarcely considered the possibility of not reforming immigration in a way that includes offering legal status for most of the illegal immigrants already present in the U.S.? Is that sticking to one’s guns?

It wasn’t the lack of minority outreach — which nearly every possible presidential contender mentioned, with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush perhaps hitting the point hardest — to which CPAC speakers and attendees were clinging. Indeed, the person who gained the most stature in the conservative movement from his CPAC appearance was probably Benjamin Carson, a black neurosurgeon from Maryland (you may have heard his recent speech at the National Prayer Breakfast) who spoke eloquently and forcefully, drawing extended ovations when he hinted at wanting to run for office soon.

It wasn’t an obsession with debts and deficits, which Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal knocked in his speech. Nor was it coziness with Big Business, which most of the aspiring candidates said the GOP must jettison.

I don’t mean to pick on the AP reporter, but such generalizations only feed the idea that conservative activists are hostile to the kinds of reforms the RNC report urges. In fact, one of my earlier blog posts from CPAC described the debate about consultants’ role in torpedoing GOP electoral chances as the one with “the most passionate disagreements” because there was hardly any disagreement about the need to make the other changes mentioned above.

Perhaps the speakers got preview copies of the report and took their cues from it. Certainly, their words last week were only that — words, still to be confirmed by actions. (The same holds true, let’s note, for the RNC report.) Obviously, the GOP since 1992 has experienced the same record of string of presidential-election difficulties the Democrats faced from 1968 through 1988, and it has to change the way it approaches the electorate in some key ways.

But the good news, if you want to see Republicans elected, is that some of the party’s brightest emerging stars are already staking out ground that moves in the direction of change. This necessary process has already begun.

– By Kyle Wingfield

414 comments Add your comment

Tom

March 18th, 2013
11:23 am

All one has to do is look at some of the other poll results from CPAC and some of the comments from attendees….especially the younger ones.

The future of the GOP *has* to be one of focus on fiscal conservatism, limited government, and actual liberty.

More conservative pundits (Krauthammer, Will, etc…) already realize that continuing to oppose same-sex marriage is a losing cause. Anyone who follows polling, studies history and can read realizes this. If the party would reach this inevitable conclusion, it would be a major step in accomplishing the goals that are actually important.

Robert

March 18th, 2013
11:28 am

Thank you GOP/tea party, Mitt Romney and Karl Rove for spending over a billion dollars and making President Obama a 2 term President of the USA. Without your help he could not have won a 2nd term. Thank you.

President Obama will be remembered for exposing hatred, fear and bigotry in the USA. Never before has any elected President of the USA been subjected to questions concerning his place of birth. Never before has any elected President of the USA been harrassed by the homegrown terrorist group(s) known as the “tea party” (klansmen, skinheads, militia’s, birther’s, etc.). Never before has the GOP lead House of Representitives voted “NO” on every Bill proposed by the Democrats. Never before have the American People been held as “hostages” if the GOP/tea party terrorist/extremist does not get their way. Never before have the American People been subjected to acts of homegrown terrorism.

The GOP/tea party is dead. Thank you God.

The American People
(elderly, young people, women, minorities, gays & lesbians, Christains, Muslims & Jews, etc.)

Scrivener

March 18th, 2013
11:29 am

Kyle, you say you don’t mean to pick on the AP reporter. Why not? The consistently inject their own biases into their articles. The examples of it are myriad and can easily be Googled. As I pointed out on Jim’s blog, the lede to this article couldn’t have been more slanted:
“WASHINGTON — A smug, uncaring, ideologically rigid national Republican Party is turning off the majority of American voters, with stale policies that have changed little in 30 years and an image that alienates minorities and the young, according to an internal GOP study.”

Just wow. Great fodder for those who hate republicans and believe whatever the media tells them.

indigo

March 18th, 2013
11:30 am

Kyle, this is the Rand Paul who won the straw poll.

http://theweek.com/article/index/203270/rand-pauls-5-most-controversial-beliefs

Do you still say “nonsense, utter and complete nonsense”

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 18th, 2013
11:30 am

“I don’t mean to pick on the AP reporter, but such generalizations only feed the idea that conservative activists are hostile to the kinds of reforms the RNC report urges.”
——–

Purely accidental, I’m sure.

JDW

March 18th, 2013
11:31 am

“But the good news, if you want to see Republicans elected, is that some of the party’s But the good news, if you want to see Republicans elected, is that some of the party’s brightest emerging stars are already staking out ground that moves in the direction of change.are already staking out ground that moves in the direction of change.”

Of course the bad news is that these so called “brightest emerging stars” are Cruz, Rubio and Paul. Or as McCain calls the “wacko birds,” of the Republican Party.

Scrivener

March 18th, 2013
11:32 am

President Obama will be remembered for creating hatred, fear and bigotry in the USA.

There, Robert. Fixed it for you.

And you say: “Never before has any elected President of the USA been subjected to questions concerning his place of birth.”

Brush that chip off your shoulder, Robert. McCain also had his birth place questioned. Your guy has earned every bit of disdain he’s gotten.

Centrist

March 18th, 2013
11:34 am

The liberal media would have us believe this is the end of the Republican Party because they didn’t defeat an incumbent Democrat. They dismiss that Obama made history by winning re-election with fewer votes than he won for his first term.

No doubt pandering to large voting segments works, and the Republicans are going to have to play that way too, but they can never promise as much as Democrats. They will hold the House in 2014 and 2016 will be a competitive open Presidential election without an incumbent when Democrats will be vilifying each other in the primaries just like Republicans.

Jefferson

March 18th, 2013
11:37 am

The main problem with the GOP is they are convinced you can get everything with out taxes to pay for it. President Bush I understood. The interest on the debt would be the tax savings, not the cost of running the gov’t. The interest is the result of GOP deficit spending.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
11:39 am

Ahhhh, the demonization of any potential GOP nominee begins at 11:30 with Indigo’s post.

Expect this from nearly every liberal poster for the next 3+ years. It will just be the targets that will shift.

Don't Tread

March 18th, 2013
11:40 am

Hopefully the GOP will move in the direction of preserving personal liberties instead of protecting interests of Big Business to the detriment of individuals. They need to leave the social issues alone as it’s not the government’s job to regulate that stuff.

However, if instead they move to “Democrat Lite”, I’ll be voting Libertarian from now on.

Just Saying..

March 18th, 2013
11:40 am

“Your guy has earned every bit of disdain he’s gotten.”

As the two term President of America…

MarkV

March 18th, 2013
11:40 am

“The winner of the CPAC straw poll for possible 2016 presidential candidates was Sen. Rand Paul.”

I hope the Republicans will stick to that gun. I do not object to making the Democrats’ win easy.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
11:41 am

“The main problem with the GOP is they are convinced you can get everything with out taxes to pay for it.”

Lie.

You are not informed enough or unbiased enough to state the GOP’s beliefs, Jefferson.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 18th, 2013
11:44 am

Sounds like Conservatives want to grow up and join us in the 21st century.

Nah……won’t happen. ‘Let’s see what’s on Fox News.”

Aesop's Fables and other Lib Economic Theories

March 18th, 2013
11:46 am

Yep and they got hillary and hairplugs for duh future.

Just Saying..

March 18th, 2013
11:46 am

“Ahhhh, the demonization of any potential GOP nominee begins at 11:30 with Indigo’s post.
Expect this from nearly every liberal poster for the next 3+ years”

As compared to the demonization of one particular Democrat President for the last 4 years.
Which will continue for the next 3+ years.
For the most obvious of reasons.
He’s the guy American chose as your President.
Despite your every effort and aspiration…

MANGLER

March 18th, 2013
11:47 am

When the party has to tell itself that the only way to continue is to change everything about it …

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
11:53 am

“As compared to the demonization of one particular Democrat President for the last 4 years.
Which will continue until he actually accomplishes something worthwhile.
For the most obvious of reasons.
He’s failed to accomplish anything EXCEPT get elected.
Due to his limited effort and qualifications…”

Fixed your post, Just Saying. No thanks needed.

curious

March 18th, 2013
12:03 pm

“The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.”

-The economy is improving.
-most 401ks have recovered and then some.
-We’re on the road to energy independence.
-We’re out of Iraq and nearly out of Afghanistan (both no win situations, but like Colin Powell said “you break it, you own it”)
-Healthcare for most without having to resort to the ER.
-Everybody is treated equally, including gays.

Keep talking to yourselves and Hillary will be your next president.

Just Saying..

March 18th, 2013
12:04 pm

Tib:“As compared to the demonization of one particular Democrat President for the last 4 years.
Which will continue until he actually accomplishes something worthwhile.
For the most obvious of reasons.
He’s failed to accomplish anything EXCEPT get elected.
Due to his limited effort and qualifications…”
Fixed your post, Just Saying. No thanks needed.

And you’re the guy who who says it’s “NO FAIR” to put word in your mouth.
Though you do it unceasingly to others.

Going to ride my bike, Tib.
Please continue to twist, alter, and misrepresent facts and statements til I return.
As everyone here is confident you will…

snoqualmiefalls

March 18th, 2013
12:07 pm

Maybe TBan could enlighten all of us just who you ar refering to when you state the “demonization of any potential GOP nominee”. who are these potential nominee?? A Mr. Vitter from Lousiania, or little Jeb Bush, or Sara Palin or Marc Rubio or Michelle Bachman and on and on.. Hey, these folks don’t need to be demonized, just alow them to speak for 5 minutes… we all get the picture. Sorry TBan, these foks do it to themselves with a little help from the Tea People ideologues… Yeah thats the ticket, try and out crazy the other competators, thats the sure way the GOP can win elections now isn’t it??

BehindEnemyLines

March 18th, 2013
12:09 pm

What’s the point in electing Repbulicans if they abandon some of their most worthwhile principles in order to accomplish their power grab? That’s not statesmanship nor service, that’s just ego.

If Paul & Rubio’s comments are indicative of what it takes to get elected then it’s time for actual conservatives to leave the label with their surrendering counterparts & start anew.

JDW

March 18th, 2013
12:09 pm

@Tiberius…”He’s failed to accomplish anything EXCEPT get elected.”

Translation….I like most on the Right don’t like what he has accomplished…to wit

-Passed Health Care Reform
-Averted Bush Depression
-Passed Wall Street Reform i.e Dodd-Frank & Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
-Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.
-Began Draw-down of Afghanistan Troops
-Eliminated Osama bin laden
-Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry
-Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”
-Toppled Moammar Gaddafi

I could go on but that is probably enough to make to red-faced and sputtering…got you watch your blood pressure you know.

stands for decibels

March 18th, 2013
12:09 pm

Not totally on topic, but to address something Kyle’s posted:

Or how about the loud cheers for Sen. Marco Rubio, who finished second to Paul in the straw poll and has been one of the most prominent Republicans working on the kind of “comprehensive immigration reform” the authors of the RNC report suggested?

Sen. Rubio also said this at CPAC, emphasis mine:

“There’s this couple that I know, they’re on my son’s tackle football team. Their son is eight years old. It’s a couple, they’re married. She works as a receptionist at a dental office, a medical office. He loads boxes from trucks at a warehouse. I don’t have to tell you, they’re struggling. They live in a little, small apartment; they share one car. They’re not freeloaders. They’re not liberals. They’re just everyday people who want what everybody else wants.”

I’m really curious, because I found those remarks particularly divisive and disgusting, clearly implying that to be a liberal is to be a “freeloader”, and to be something other than “everyday people.”

How’d the crowd feel about that? Did it just wash over them like the kind of nasty rhetoric that, I guess, they have come to expect from elected officials, or were there at least a few raised eyebrows?

JDW

March 18th, 2013
12:11 pm

@Tiberius…”Ahhhh, the demonization of any potential GOP nominee begins”

As for this bit of drivel…they don’t need any help. Most of the current crop is downright scary enough on their own…all you have to do is post what they say.

Lil' Barry Bailout - OBAMAPHONE!!!

March 18th, 2013
12:13 pm

The main problem with the GOP is they are convinced you can get everything with out taxes to pay for it.
———-

Is Obozo raising enough taxes to pay for everything he wants?

Rafe Hollister

March 18th, 2013
12:20 pm

Well, with three million evangelistic voters sitting out the last election because Romney was too moderate, you have to thread a fine needle, to get them back and reach out and welcome others. Jumping in bed with same sex marriage and drug legalization is not going to be appealing to about 20% of the base. Seems they are going to lose one from the base for everyone they attract. I’m with Rand Paul that we need to be consistent with freedom for all, social and economic, but it doesn’t play well in Brunswick

I’m with Centrist, it is very difficult to beat an incumbent, especially one who was never vetted, and who has an echo chamber of government supported press behind him. The panic to change may be hasty and another overreach. Did the Dems panic when they lost three Presidential elections in a row, 80,84, and 88? I feel that after 4 more years of the Mistake, Americans will be running to the polls to pull the lever for anyone other than a Dem. Especially, if the economy does not improve and the debt increases enough for another ratings decline by Moody’s and others, we will see change.

America rarely elects the same party after two terms of a below average President.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 18th, 2013
12:21 pm

Republicans: There’s No Debt Crisis, We Just Want to Screw the Poor

http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/republicans-theres-no-debt-crisis-we-just-want-screw-poor

Yep. double talk. “We want you to like us and vote for us. Neverind that we really don’t have your best interests at heart.”

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
12:21 pm

“-Passed Health Care Reform”

Which doesn’t do virtually anything he claimed it would do, and will be responsible for the largest tax increase on the middle class when it kicks in in 2014. Sure you consider that an accomplishments? Never mind. Your bar is set so low for this guy, you would,

“-Averted Bush Depression”

No proof one was coming, and most fixes were passed before he took office.

“-Passed Wall Street Reform i.e Dodd-Frank & Consumer Financial Protection Bureau”

Neither of which has performed to any degree. But as we all know, it’s the GOP’s fault for that, right?

“-Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.”

On Bush’s timetable. Of course, another President Incompetent accomplishment – doing nothing.

“-Began Draw-down of Afghanistan Troops”

Again on Bush’s timetable. More doing nothing.

“-Eliminated Osama bin laden”

Already debunked. Continuation of Bush’s orders, and no evidence exists that he changed or augmented any policy to allow that to happen. He gave an order 99 out of 100 Americans would have done – except maybe you, JDW.

“-Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry”

While shafting taxpayers and investors at the expense of the unions.

“-Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

Wow. One accomplishment.

“-Toppled Moammar Gaddafi”

And of course the Libyan people had nothing to do with that.

Yeah, you could go on an on with your usual pack of lies, JDW, but why bother?

GDRLA

March 18th, 2013
12:22 pm

Being a fiscal conservative & a social liberal I have felt myself outcast into the political wastelands for the past 40 years – Even in the Reagan years the GOP did not go far enough into the social realm and since he left office the Republicans have lost their moorings as the party of fiscal conservatism. I try to vote for the ‘best of the worst or least’ as many competent citizens refuse to run for national office or the Presidency which leaves me & most others to sort thru the chaff. Hopefully the GOP can reinvent itself and move forward. ‘Somewhere over the rainbow…’

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 18th, 2013
12:25 pm

What’s the point in electing Repbulicans if they abandon some of their most worthwhile principles in order to accomplish their power grab?

Once they get in power they will just revert back to old school ideas/methods. They will screw over the majority of Americans again and Americans will vote them out again. At which time, after losing several elections, the Cons will start hustling us again to get votes. It’s a vicious circle and we’re the ones paying for it.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 18th, 2013
12:26 pm

a fiscal conservative & a social liberal

Then you’re a Democrat.

Finn McCool (the system isn't broken; it's fixed)

March 18th, 2013
12:28 pm

On Bush’s timetable. Of course, another President Incompetent accomplishment – doing nothing.

let’s see, who is the actor here – the one who writes down the date of the plug pull or the one who actually pulls the plug. this is why some cons wouldn’t know “work” if it slapped them in the face.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
12:28 pm

There is no such thing as a fiscally-conservative Democrat, Finn.

Nice try.

Don't Tread

March 18th, 2013
12:29 pm

“We want you to like us and vote for us. Neverind that we really don’t have your best interests at heart.”

The same can be said for Democrats, and we can add the following:

“We want you to like us and vote for us. Never mind that we really don’t give a cr@p about your individual rights.”

Rafe Hollister

March 18th, 2013
12:29 pm

JDW

Most of the current crop is downright scary enough on their own…all you have to do is post what they say.

So, being what we thought of as “normal” in the 1900’s, is considered “scary” in the 2000’s? Everyone but the progs and the socialists are now extremist, according to JDW?

Rand Paul wants a libertarian America with small government, Rubio is for a smaller efficient government and immigration reform, Paul Ryan is for balancing the budget and JDW considers them scary extremist.

The most extreme politicians in America today are Pelosi and Obama (excluding Bernie Sanders, who no one knows anyway.)

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
12:31 pm

“let’s see, who is the actor here – the one who writes down the date of the plug pull or the one who actually pulls the plug.”

The one who brings about the actual accomplishment, Finn. In this case, since President Incompetent did nothing but follow the agreements made by his predecessor, the accomplishment was Bush’s.

“this is why some cons wouldn’t know “work” if it slapped them in the face.”

“Work” is actually doing something, Finn, not waiting for something to happen.

Now you’ve learned something new today.

stands for decibels

March 18th, 2013
12:33 pm

the one who writes down the date of the plug pull or the one who actually pulls the plug. this is why some cons wouldn’t know “work” if it slapped them in the face.

…to say nothing of the context of those SOFA negotiations, which happened against a backdrop of massive American dissatisfaction of the Iraq occupation, which was due in no small part to the efforts of people like Barack Obama, who had opposed the occupation from the beginning.

Hell’s bells, Obama won the primary race in no small part because he WAS so genuinely opposed to that occupation, while we’d already had to deal with one guy (Kerry) who hadn’t been, and another gal (H. Clinton) who had Kerry’s Iraq War Resolution baggage to carry in 2008.

But yeah, we left Iraq because it was all part of Bush’s brilliant master plan.

stands for decibels

March 18th, 2013
12:35 pm

Never mind that we really don’t give a cr@p about your individual rights.

Yeah, nothing says “individual rights” like “All your uteri are belong to us.”

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
12:36 pm

“…to say nothing of the context of those SOFA negotiations, which happened against a backdrop of massive American dissatisfaction of the Iraq occupation, which was due in no small part to the efforts of people like Barack Obama, who had opposed the occupation from the beginning.”

Yeah, ’cause a junior Senator from Illinois with less than 2 years under his belt was so instrumental in creating a policy change that was ongoing for at least 4 years or more.

stands for decibels

March 18th, 2013
12:37 pm

Guess Kyle’s not around to comment, but I’ll check back later–really interested to see if he even remembers anything about Rubio’s nasty comments about “freeloaders” and the CPAC crowd’s reception or lack thereof.

/drive-by

old Hippie

March 18th, 2013
12:48 pm

The GOP report is analogous to Papa John’s pizza saying, “People hate the way our pizza tastes, so let’s change the look of the box we deliver it in.”

getalife

March 18th, 2013
12:49 pm

Don’t change a thing cons.

Keep insulting the American voters.

Stay the course.

Thank you.

getalife

March 18th, 2013
12:51 pm

If you get tired of losing, join the majority to reform congress.

Thanks.

JDW

March 18th, 2013
12:51 pm

@Tiberious…12:21 :roll:

As I said before…translation…I don’t like anything that he has done…so I will now whine.

WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

Uncle Jed

March 18th, 2013
12:51 pm

The AP long ago ceased letting facts get in the way of a good story; as in outright fib.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
12:52 pm

“Keep insulting the American voters.”

I think it’s perfectly appropriate to insult voters who elect such incompetent representatives – in BOTH parties.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
12:54 pm

“If you get tired of losing, join the majority to reform congress.”

Please tell us exactly what “reforms” have been proposed and passed by a majority in the Senate, getalife.

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

March 18th, 2013
12:56 pm

I see JDW has moved from his usual lying in his posts to simply insulting the poster.

Expected.