GOP Botched Its Own Autopsy

No one much impressed with party's toothless self-reflection
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 19, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus leaves after speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, March 18, 2013.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – Republicans were pretty harsh on themselves in yesterday's much-discussed autopsy of the 2012 campaign, but did they actually get to the root of their electoral woes or propose decent solutions? "Unfortunately, the answer on both counts is, not really," the National Review laments. The report concludes that Republicans are out of touch with young people, preach to the choir, and need to reach out to minorities. "There is truth in each of these, which is how they got to be platitudes."

  • The report's take on outreach is "heavy on committee formation … and tokenism," the Review complains; its top suggestion, for example, being that minorities take charge of minority outreach. "In reality, selling the Republican party's appeal is more about the appeal than about the selling. … The heavy lifting is going to require imagination and an appetite for risk."
  • Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast agrees. "Back in the 1980s, the voters kept the Democrats out of power until they were persuaded that the party really had changed," he notes, and Democrats responded by "jettisoning some longtime shibboleths." Republicans need to do the same. Their problems with minorities run deep, and many voters believe their chief economic goal is to protect the rich.
  • At the Washington Post, Dana Milbank notes that Reince Priebus' speech skipped right over the report's recommendations on gay rights and immigration. Priebus "took pains to avoid offending the conservative orthodoxy that is antagonizing segments of the electorate that Republicans need if they are to win." At one point he said, to use Milbank's paraphrase, that "All are welcome in the Republican Party—as long as they’re conservative."
  • Erick Erickson at RedState complains that the report's recommendations to swap primaries in for caucuses and limit debates will benefit monied candidates like Mitt Romney. But the real problem with the report, he argues, is that it fails to realize that "sometimes there is nothing that can be done. Bad election years are bad election years."

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