Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How To 'Fix' the GOP

One of the few things that have gone unchallenged on this site is the frequently mentioned fact that since the Conservative John Adam's re-election hopes were dashed by Jefferson in 1880 because the Federalists ran on the premise that the country should be ruled by the rich and powerful, no Conservative has dared run proclaiming their right to rule until Mitt Romney's abortive try last year.  The lesson that the Conservatives must keep their motives secret in a participatory democracy may still be ignored, as evidenced by Politico.com's story by Maggie Haberman, "RNC: Voters see GOP as ‘scary’ and ‘out of touch.'  From Politico:

Priebus: No one reason why we lost.

"The Republican National Committee concedes in a sprawling report Monday that the GOP is seen as the party of “stuffy old men” and needs to change its ways.

"Among the RNC’s proposed fixes: enacting comprehensive immigration reform, addressing middle-class economic anxieties head on and condensing a presidential primary process that saw Mitt Romney get battered for months ahead of the general election.
"The committee also proposes major improvements to the party’s voter database and digital technology, which paled next to that of the Democrats and contributed to the party’s losses last year.

(PHOTOS: Republicans on how to fix the GOP)

"The suggestions are among dozens the committee makes in what RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has dubbed an “autopsy” of the party’s 2012 failures and a roadmap forward. Priebus unveiled the 98-page report at a news conference Monday morning at The National Press Club.

“'There’s no one reason we lost,' Priebus said. '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. … So, there’s no one solution: There’s a long list of them.'

"The report devotes many pages to the need to better connect with minority, female and young voters. Comprehensive immigration reform is a critical first step, it says.

“'It doesn’t matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think that we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies,' it states. 'In essence, Hispanic voters tell us our Party’s position on immigration has become a litmus test, measuring whether we are meeting them with a welcome mat or a closed door.'

(See also: Full RNC report)

"Post-election focus groups with voters drove home the party’s shrinking demographic appeal, the report says.

“Asked to describe Republicans, they said that the Party is ‘scary,’ ‘narrow minded,’ and ‘out of touch’ and that we were a Party of ‘stuffy old men,’" it states.

"Though it steers clear of the gay marriage debate, the report also says Republicans need to be more tolerant of gays if it is to have any chance among younger voters. People younger than 30 cast 5 million more votes for Barack Obama than Romney, it says.

“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,” it says.

(PHOTOS: It’s raining men in the GOP)

"The report is long on lists of ailments, but shorter on specific fixes. There are recommendations for better outreach and more focused efforts, but little discussion about the policies and specifics that the party would sell while reaching out to different types of voters.

"Beyond immigration, it barely touches on policy. That was by design, according to the report, because it’s not the RNC’s purview. Still, policy is no small part of the GOP’s internal debate now, which underscores the limitations of what a party committee can do.

"For instance, there are no references to abortion or Planned Parenthood — or any of the issues that were at the heart of the battle for female voters last year. The report says the GOP lost the “war on women” messaging but doesn’t make clear how the party should be on offense going forward.

"Other suggestions are likely to meet with some chuckles, such as one related to doing better with younger voters: “Establish an RNC Celebrity Task Force of personalities in the entertainment industry to host events for the RNC and allow donors to participate in entertainment events as a way to attract younger voters.”

"It was only a few months ago that the party repeatedly hit Obama for fundraising with celebrities.
"The study also includes a declaration that the party shouldn’t get involved in primaries. It’s a nod to new GOP heroes like Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both of whom were opposed by many establishment Republicans.

"But it is at odds with the call for a shorter, more committee-managed presidential nomination process — which critics say would make it harder for insurgent candidates to gain traction.

"The report also delves into campaign mechanics. One section on polling recommends a summit, to be held by April, to discuss issues like sample weighting and inclusion of cellphone-only users. The National Republican Congressional Committee is already doing something similar, as POLITICO reported recently.

"And the RNC looked at Obama’s ad campaign spending, his campaign’s field operation, and the data and analytics elements of the president’s reelection effort that were vastly superior to the GOP’s.

"Not all areas on that list get equal treatment. There are pages devoted to improving outreach to Hispanics, African-Americans and Asian voters, as well as to how the glut of debates has increased exponentially in the past two presidential campaigns.

"Other areas get shorter shrift. A section on vendor selection, an issue that has been a source of complaints from a number of Republican operatives and activists, gets a mere three paragraphs. There is nothing in the report suggesting a method of accountability for vendors, for campaigns and for the committee itself.

"Most controversial with activists is likely to be the call for fewer debates and a nominating convention in June or July. It was that protracted process that allowed the insurgent candidacies of Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to last into the spring.

"Both of those candidates were also aided by the proliferation of super PACs, and the report makes plain that the situation has weakened the RNC.

"Parts of the report is spent talking about messaging and the need for a kindler, gentler GOP. Some of the suggestions for bringing in new voters are as simple as not seeming hostile.

"The report calls for a platform for data-sharing across a variety of parties and groups. A major section is about voter contacts and suggests a handful of upcoming races this year could provide key tests.

“'We need to look at our methods of contact and test each — mail, phones, door-to-door, and digital efforts, and fundraising appeals — to determine what provides the best quality of contact and most likely conversion to actual votes,' the report says.

"Priebus said at The National Press Club that he had input from more than 50,000 people in the process, although he and the report don’t quantify that data precisely. The survey also says the group did a survey of 227 political professionals for certain metrics.

“'The report minces no words in telling us that we have to be more inclusive. I agree,' Priebus said. 'Our 80 percent friend is not our 20 percent enemy. We can be true to our platform without being disrespectful of those who don’t agree with it 100 percent. Finding common ground with voters will be a top priority.'”

But harkening back to our opening paragraph, the truth is that the Conservatives may stage a comeback in the next few years if they recognize that the change they need is one of style - and  stage a faux change in substance...witness David Sirota's story at Salon.com, "GOP: We’ve been lying all along," "Boehner's admission that we don't really have a debt crisis reveals his party's ulterior, program-cutting motives."  For a good chuckle, read the following excerpt:

"I never thought I’d write these words, but here goes: Thank you, John Boehner. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, for finally admitting on national television that all the fiscal cliffs, sequestrations and budget battles you’ve created are, indeed, artificially fabricated by ideologues and self-interested politicians and not the result of some imminent crisis that’s out of our control.

"America owes this debt of gratitude to Boehner after he finally came clean on yesterday’s edition of ABC’s 'This Week' and admitted that 'we do not have an immediate debt crisis.' (His admission was followed up by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, who quickly echoed much the same sentiment on CBS’ 'Face the Nation').

"In offering up such a stunningly honest admission, the GOP leader has put himself on record as agreeing with President Obama, who has previously acknowledged that demonstrable reality. But the big news here isn’t just about the politics of a Republican House speaker tacitly admitting they agree with a Democratic president. It is also about a bigger admission revealing the fact that the GOP’s fiscal alarmism is not merely some natural reaction to reality, but a calculated means to other ideological ends."

For the rest, read here --> http://www.salon.com/2013/03/18/boehners_debt_confession_reveals_gops_intentions/.

AND, another problem for the Republicans is the current Civil War between the Tea Party and the Establishment GOP.  Founded with help from Fox News who has jumped back to the Establishment side, the Tea Partiers are still focused on their own issues - including racism.

AND, as Talkingpointsmemo.com reports in their story, "GOP Senators Applaud RNC Election Postmortem — But Reveal Tensions Just Below The Surface."  TPM's concluding paragraph:

"Other senators and House members issued official statements Monday praising the RNC report — officially titled the Growth and Opportunity Project. But others, when asked, either claimed not to have read it or gave it short shrift.

“'I haven’t seen it,' said Sen. Richard Shely (R-AL). 'I have to look at it. But this goes on — I call them re-evaluations or postmortems, or whatever you call them. We do that all the time. The Democrats do it. We’re looking toward the next election, which is next year.'”

AND, as we saw in the CPAC Conference last week, the GOP Establishment - both the Wall Street wing and the Country Club Wing - haven't figured out way to quiet the racist element of the party down.  Again from Talking Points Memo, "CPAC Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Whites Arrive," an event that provides almost as much humor as it does sadness:

"A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.

"The session, entitled 'Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?' was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves 'Frederick Douglass Republicans.'

"Disruptions began when he started accusing Democrats of still being the party of the Confederacy — a common talking point on the right.

“'I don’t care how much the KKK improved,' he said. 'I’m not going to join the KKK. The Democratic Party founded the KKK.'

"Lines like that drew shouts of praise from some attendees and murmurs of disapproval from one non-conservative black attendee, Kim Brown, a radio host and producer with Voice of Russia, a broadcasting service of the Russian government.

"But then questions and answers began. And things went off the rails.

"Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event’s take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a 'white nationalist' by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

“'It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,' Terry said, adding he 'came to love my people and culture' who were 'being systematically disenfranchised.'

"Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.

“'For giving him shelter? And food?' Terry said.

"At this point the event devolved into a mess of shouting. Organizers calmed things down by asking everyone to 'take the debate outside after the presentation.'

"Brown, who took offense at the suggestion modern Democrats were descendants of the KKK, tried to ask a question later once things finally calmed down. She was booed and screamed at by audience members.

“'Let someone else speak!' one attendee in Revolutionary War garb shouted.

“'You’re not welcome!' a white-haired older woman yelled.

"Eventually she asked a question. It was about whether Republicans should call out racist ads.

"Attendees interviewed by TPM afterwards expressed outrage at the way the event turned out. Not at Terry and Heimbach — they were mad at Brown.

"Chad Chapman, 21, one of the few black attendees, said overall he enjoyed the event — except 'there were lots of interruptions, mainly because of the woman.'

"I asked whether he was concerned about the question from Terry and Heimbach.

“'No they were just telling the truth,' he said. You mean you agree blacks are systematically disenfranchising whites, I asked?

“'I listen to anybody’s point of view, it doesn’t really matter,' he said."

AND, lest we think that this was just an isolated incident or a slip of the lip, Tyler Kingkade at Huffington Post reported in his story, "'White Student Union' Members Defend CPAC Segregation Comments."  The "White Student Union" isn't in a Christian college in Mississippi, it is a racist group in Towson University in Maryland:

"Two members of the White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland aren't backing down after advocating for racial segregation and defending slavery at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday.

"K. Carl Smith of Frederick Douglass Republicans was giving a presentation at CPAC about how Republicans could reach out more effectively to minorities. Scott Terry, a member of the White Student Union, began challenging Smith about the inclusion of blacks in the GOP's tent, in an exchange captured by the liberal blog ThinkProgressthat quickly spread around the Internet.

"As seen in the video, Smith responds by citing a letter Frederick Douglass wrote in which he forgave his former owner. Terry interrupted and said, "For giving him shelter and food?" Several people in the audience gasp, though ThinkProgress notes there are also cheers. Terry muttered, 'Why can't we just have segregation?' after the exchange, ThinkProgress reported.

"When Smith mentioned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Atlantic Wire reports, White Student Union 'founder and commander' Matthew Heimbach interrupted that King was a 'Marxist,' and consequently not welcome.

"After the exchange, Terry told The Guardian that he is a descendent of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, and that he didn't totally disagree with slavery because it's a 'complicated issue.' He said, 'I can't make one broad statement that categorically it was evil all the time because that's not true.'

"Terry later told The Blaze that some of his comments were being taken out of context, and that he did not support slavery. However, when it comes to segregating by race, Terry said Americans should have 'freedom of association.'

"Heimbach, who started the White Student Union, has been more confrontational in subsequent interviews."

So for Conservatives, the more things change the more they remain the same.  They see the erosion of their support by the demographics but are unable to change their belief systems because they can't:  the underlying dogma, that the rich must rule over the polity, can't really be adjusted - but it can be glossed over in favor of "social issues" like abortion.  Will another William F. Buckley, Jr. gallop in on a white horse with a seemingly intellectual rationale for racism under the banner of "states' rights?"  Will the GOP propaganda machine be able to distract voters from examining the Conservative record of misery, racism, and death?

Probably not, which is one of many reasons why Conservatism must be abolished and criminalized before they take our country further down the path to aristocratic rule.


Inigo Montoya: Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.
Count Rugen: Stop saying that!

The Princess Bride