In looking through the Republican plan, a number of things kept striking me. One of them is that there were so many assumptions built into their statements.
Republican governors are America’s reformers in chief. They continue to deliver on conservative promises of reducing the size of government while making people’s lives better. They routinely win a much larger share of the minority vote than GOP presidential candidates, demonstrating an appeal that goes beyond the base of the Party.
One might note that this rather blithely waves aside the very poor polling results of many of those Republican governors and state legislatures. In fact, it is because of their “success” at “deliver on conservative promises” that they are unpopular. Many of the “Republican Class of 2010” are facing the likelihood of being sent back to civilian life. Governors like Rick Scott, Scott Walker, Nikki Haley, Rick Snyder, and John Kasich are polling … poorly … and are going to face challenges next year.
When they talk about changing policies, there’s this nugget:
Instead of driving around in circles on an ideological cul-de-sac, we need a Party whose brand of conservatism invites and inspires new people to visit us. We need to remain America’s conservative alternative to big-government, redistribution-to-extremes liberalism, while building a route into our Party that a non-traditional Republican will want to travel. Our standard should not be universal purity; it should be a more welcoming conservatism.
It starts off and ends with a good idea, but in between is where the problem is. Their biggest problem is that the Democratic Party isn’t a party of “redistribution-to-extremes liberalism.” In fact, one of the major whines from the far Left is that they aren’t, and most definitely the current President isn’t. It’s called a strawman argument, and it’s what has led the Republicans into trouble electorally. They’re ranting and raving about things that aren’t reality, and it’s obvious to everyone who isn’t in their bubble.
Further on the policy front, they say this:
One of the contributors to this problem is that while Democrats tend to talk about people, Republicans tend to talk about policy. Our ideas can sound distant and removed from people’s lives. Instead of connecting with voters’ concerns, we too often sound like bookkeepers. We need to do a better job connecting people to our policies.
and then this:
But if we are going to grow as a Party, our policies and actions must take into account that the middle class has struggled mightily and that far too many of our citizens live in poverty. To people who are flat on their back, unemployed or disabled and in need of help, they do not care if the help comes from the private sector or the government — they just want help.
I should note that there’s absolutely no acknowledgment that they were the ones implementing the policies which led to the conditions mentioned in the second paragraph. The ones that really didn’t work and need changing. It’s breathtaking in a way. “We need to connect people to our policies, even though those same policies were the ones that put them in the crapper.” How about “let’s think of new policies?”
Moving on, these gems:
The Party is seen as old and detached from pop culture. The RNC needs to make immediate efforts to reverse this narrative. It can be done; look at the two benches. While the Democrats have Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton, we have leaders like Marco Rubio, Paul Ryan, Kelly Ayotte, and Bobby Jindal, among many others. We also have a youthful RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus. The RNC must more effectively highlight our young leaders and fundamentally change the tone we use to talk about issues and the way we are communicating with voters.
Young voters need to be attracted to the Republican Party by both the message and the candidate. Obama was seen as “cool” in 2008, and his popularity spread like wildfire among young voters. Obama and his “Change we can believe in” slogan was a trend in 2008 to which many young Americans were attracted. In 2008 and again in 2012, the Obama campaign used young supporters as precinct captains and boots on the ground. They were enthusiastic voices bringing their friends and neighbors into the campaign. The RNC and Republican candidates need to establish the same network of committed young voters who will help spread our message.
Good idea to attract young voters, but a couple of things. First, talking about Rubio, Ryan, etc. as being “youthful.” Compared with your base, yes, but compared with youth voters? No. They’re also not that popular with young voters for their policies. It also ignores the rather deep Democratic bench. While I like Joe Biden and Hillary, they’re not the only rising stars, and by attempting to ignore that, you’re putting yourself in the position of being blindsided. The most odious is the assertion that Obama attracted the youth vote because of a slogan and being seen as “cool.” What he did was to put together a superior campaign organization, have policies on issues important to youth, and get them involved. He outmaneuvered your candidates at every turn, and it’s why you got hammered in 2012. Trying to say “we can be cool too!” is … pathetic, and a quick path to further defeats.
I’m going to cut off there in the interests of space, but there’s examples like this all through this document. A good idea here and there, but then the core assumption takes over. The main “problematic” assumptions are that their policies are still workable and don’t need changing, that it’s “communicating” them that’s the problem; and that the Democratic Party is as dogmatic and ideologically blinkered as they are. Both of which are not true, and failure to check those assumptions at the door is why they’re likely to have major issues when it comes to trying to “change.”
Even those “good ideas” aren’t enough. You see, I already said what their biggest problem is: Republicans. Right now, conservative commentators and politicians are screaming their heads off about this document. They don’t like it, at all. Even aside from them, apparently the idea of being “more inclusive” and “listening to concerns” is not something that many of the same Republican governors and state legislators have heard. They’re busy passing “conservative agenda” items which step all over those concerns.
So what this document does could at best be called “putting new lipstick on the pig.” It’s a start, but the first thing you have to acknowledge is that you’re doing a makeover on … a pig. If you’re looking for a beauty queen, you’re already off to a bad start.