When Republicans lost in November, it was a wake-up call. And in response I initiated the most public and most comprehensive post-election review in the history of any national party.
As it makes clear, there’s no one reason we lost. Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren’t inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement.
. . . Successful parties learn and grow, and you do the best learning after you lose.
. . . Focus groups described our party as narrow-minded, out of touch, and, quote, "stuffy old men." The report minces no words in telling us that we have to be more inclusive. I agree, and as President Reagan said, our 80% friend is not our 20% enemy.
~ Reince Priebus at the National Press Club, announcing the Republican Party Autopsy
Quotes from the Autopsy Report:
. . . 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.
. . . One glaring example of our tendency to conduct campaigns on autopilot is spending on TV. Simply put, TV spending is out of control. Outside groups spent approximately $1 billion on TV ads in swing states in the final six months of the 2012 campaign. Despite the extraordinary amount of money that was invested in TV by outside groups in 2012, the final results of the election barely differed from the polls six months earlier. There are lots of arguments for why this is the case, and we don’t believe we lost because of third-party TV ads. However, the pendulum has swung too far when it comes to spending on TV ads.
. . . the number of debates has become ridiculous, and they’re taking candidates away from other important campaign activities. It should be recognized that depending on a candidate’s standing in the polls, some candidates will want to participate in an unlimited number of debates, as early as they can and as often as they can. If some candidates decide to team up with media organizations that seek to sponsor debates, it will be impossible to hold a reasonable number of debates. The media will decide how many debates the party should have — instead of the Party making the decision. In order to have a process that respects a candidate’s time and one that helps the Party win, the Party should create a system that
results in a more rational number of debates.
. . . 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.
. . . Establish a presence in African American communities and at black organizations such as the NAACP. We are never going to win over voters who are not asked for their support. Too many African American voters have gotten in the habit of supporting Democrats without hearing anyone in their community making a case to the contrary.
. . . Bill Calhoun of the Texas GOP added, “Don’t try to get African Americans to become Republicans, but persuade them to vote independently by voting their principles and not party affiliation.” He said they will be more open to the independent pitch. Calhoun suggested that the RNC or an allied group consider helping fund a $200,000 program to engage 300,000 African American voters in Texas. There are many opportunities like this for our friends and allies to consider help funding, and these should be explored and publicized.
. . . The Republican Party is one of tolerance and respect, and we need to ensure that the tone of our message is always reflective of these core principles. In the modern media environment a poorly phrased argument or out-of-context statement can spiral out of control and reflect poorly on the Party as a whole. Thus we must emphasize during candidate trainings, retreats, etc., the importance of a welcoming, inclusive message in particular when discussing issues that relate directly to a minority group.
. . . For the GOP to appeal to younger voters, we do not have to agree on every issue, but we do need to make sure young people do not see the Party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view. Already, there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.
. . . We also recommend broadening the base of the Party and inviting as many voters as possible into the Republican Party by discouraging conventions and caucuses for the purpose of allocating delegates to the national convention.
. . . The Republican Party must be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life. Low-income Americans are hardworking people who want to become hard-working middle-income Americans. Middle-income Americans want to become upper-middle-income, and so on. We need to help everyone make it in 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.
I'm not sure the word autopsy is the most felicitous, since it generally applies to a corpse. I'm not sure I would have chosen it, but it's out there.
~ Charles Krauthammer
Unless Suggestion #1 is “Fire ‘Reince’ Prebus” then it is useless political hackery.
~ Mr. K on Free Republic
A postmortem and diagnosis from the Medical Team who killed the patient.
~ Zulu on Free Republic
The problem for the Republicans is that they don't understand that they don't understand. No wonder they are twisting in the wind.
~ Dallas G. on Think Progress
You can't ask a leopard to change its spots just as you cannot ask an old, whitehaired humorless Republican to change their views on immigration and civil rights for minorities and LGBT.
Hate. It's what they eat for breakfast by listening to Rush Limbaugh.
~ Brianna A. on Think Progress
My favorite part of the RNC's "Growth & Opportunity Project" report is when it refers to Reince Priebus as "youthful."— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) March 18, 2013
Conservative speaker after speaker [at CPAC] told activists there’s nothing wrong with the conservative message.
. . . Isn’t he the same Reince Priebus who as chairman of the Republican National committee presided over a voter-suppression effort in three dozen states aimed at keeping African-Americans from voting?
Priebus talks about outreach to the young. Yet it was his party that opposed issues important to younger voters: marriage equality, abortion rights, gun safety, and is still pushing tax breaks for the rich and Medicare and Medicaid cuts for the middle class and poor.
~ Chris Matthews on Hardball
Elimination of caucuses and conventions would mean nuclear war with the grassroots, social conservatives, the Ron Paul movement and Tea Party Republicans.
Caucuses and conventions clearly give a better idea of what the base of the party wants, and the folks who show up for conventions and primaries are the very same people that the party will call upon to do the work each election cycle," he added. "This is clearly an attempt to get rid of what the base of the party wants.
~ John Tate, a senior Paul advisor who now runs the Campaign For Liberty
Death by dysentery from RINO virus contaminated koolaid ingestion.
~ 44RedHawk via Breitbart
2012 was my last vote for a GOP running for a national office , especially president.
The GOP has left me, just as the democrat party left Ronald Reagan said in the 60's.
It is time to build a vibrant 3rd party of Freedom Loving Conservatives.
With the alternative news on the net and social media it is now possible to make it happen.
~ Freeman Walking via Breitbart
For several months, RNC chairman Reince Priebus has referred to the committee’s report on the state of the party as an “autopsy.” It is an apt description, because the 100-page report has as much chance of reviving the GOP as an autopsy has of reviving a corpse....
. . . the report declares that the GOP is stuck in an “ideological cul-de-sac” and requires “a more welcoming conservatism.” To that end, the report insists that the party “must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform.” (8) It also calls for Republicans to imitate the left’s identity politics, creating a “Growth and Opportunity Inclusion Council” composed of “nonwhites” who are meant to help increase diversity.
. . . the report recommends that Republicans reach out to organizations such as the NAACP--ignoring the fact that the NAACP’s policies are decidedly radical and do not even represent public opinion in the black community on issues such as voter ID and school reform. At the same time, the report implies that the GOP should back away from “Third-party groups that promote purity” (54)--an apparent swipe at the Tea Party.
. . . That there is so much beltway thinking at the start of the report, as well as attacks on outside groups like the Club for Growth for daring to make primary challenges, suggests the report is steeped in conventional wisdom and existing establishment thinking without seriously considering that wisdom and thinking could be misguided or simply wrong.
~ Erick Erickson on Fox News
They are trying to close the process so we can’t participate in the caucus system, so that we can’t participate in primaries, so that upstart candidates, the ones that they tell us can never win, can’t even compete. It’s a little bit like putting the genie back in the bottle — it just can’t happen.
~ Matt Kibbe, CEO of Freedomworks
Look at this. Our party's narrow-minded. I know it's the impression, but it's the why that people think that, that is the secret to rebutting this. It's not accepting that as true because it isn't.
"But, Rush, perceptions are reality. You've said it yourself."
Well, that's true, but out of touch, not out of touch. We are in touch with the founding of this country. We are in touch with the greatness of this country and its people. Narrow-minded. See, we oppress people. We're not open. We're not tolerant, see. We're not inclusive.
So we gotta be more tolerant. That means cash in our chips on our core principles. We gotta be more inclusive, and he says he agrees with this. We can be true to our principles without being disrespectful to those who don't agree. When are we disrespectful?
Was it us who ran ads accusing Obama of not caring if some guy's wife died of cancer? Was it us who ran ads about Obama not caring about his dog? Was it us who ran ads accusing Obama of hiding money in the Caymans? Was it us that did all this? The Democrats get away with it.
~ Rush Limbaugh
. . . let me be a sport and tip my cap to the good ideas. I think fewer primary-season debates is a grand idea, chiefly because that means fewer that I’ll have to watch. By about the 15th one last time, I was trying to relax by shoving bamboo shoots under my fingernails.
Of course, the document doesn’t mention the real reason for this suggestion. What the RNC obviously wants to do here is limit middle America’s exposure to the party’s koo-koo-for-cocoa-puffs base. Remember the cheering for the death penalty, the booing of the gay soldier, the catcalls about immigrants? The party and its people were huge losers from all those debates and the attendant publicity. The less America sees of those people, the RNC figures, the better.
It’s also not pointless to want to hire more women and people of color to send out into the field to recruit possible voters and spread the party’s message. Why this is occurring to them only in 2013 is a question. This occurred to Democrats in 1972. Obviously Republicans have been rather happy to be the white party up until now.
~ Michael Tomasky on Daily Beast
The report didn't mention religion much, if at all. You cannot grow your party by distancing yourself from your base, and this report doesn't reinforce the values that attracted me and many other people into the Republican Party in the first place. It just talks about reaching out to other groups.
. . . The social conservatives will quit voting. They'll give up, they'll be despaired. Those are the most loyal people to work for you because they're energized because they believe their cause is something God stands for and that's a pretty good motivator. And you take that away? You diss them? You tell them their issues aren't important anymore? I don't know who you're going to be left with. I think you won't have any troops out there. I don't know how many country club people will go and walk door to door over the taxes issue.
~ Tim Wildman, President of the American Family Association
Specifically, the word "Christian" does not appear once in the party's 50,000-word blueprint for renewed electoral success. Nor does the word "church." Abortion and marriage, the two issues that most animate social conservatives, are nowhere to be found. There is nothing about the need to protect religious liberty, or promote Judeo-Christian values in society. And the few fleeting suggestions that the party coordinate with "faith-based communities" — mostly in the context of minority outreach — receive roughly as much space as the need to become more "inclusive" of gays.
The report's suggestion that Republicans "learn once again how to appeal to more people, including those who share some but not all of our conservative principles" seems like a no-brainer. But in reality, those people are called RINOs, and are almost automatically disqualified from national races. Priebus' report can't change that reality. Even while the autopsy suggests that "The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself," most of the GOP's brightest stars spent the weekend at the insular Conservative Political Action Conference — to which popular governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia were not invited, for the unforgivable crime of compromising with some of their states' many Democrats.
~ Harry Decker, National Memo
. . . a lot (but in fairness, not all) of D.C. and NYC Establishment Republicans are embarrassed to be associated with the hardcore “Religious Right” and “Tea Party Patriots” who say silly things that would have been inappropriate even in 1813. The Establishment Republicans have spent enough time in big cities to know that gay people exist and poor people aren’t operating a coordinated left-wing conspiracy to barely get by. Call it elitist.
This crowd likes to view itself as more sophisticated than its base (and it most certainly is), even though it is more than willing to enable these fringe views by constantly looking the other way and saying things like: “look, I don’t give a sh*t about the social issues, I’m fiscally conservative and pro business, that’s why I’m a Republican.”
First of all, “not giving a sh*t” may be a departure from your base who does happen to give a big sh*t about these issues, but it sure as Hell isn’t a ringing or loving endorsement for the demographics you’re trying to attract to the GOP. When you tuck in your children do you say “Good night sweetie, I really don’t give a sh*t about you, but I love the tax deduction.” Of course not.
~ Americans Against the Tea Party