The Republican National Committee just released a one-hundred-page document that attempts to explain why the party didn’t do well in the last election. The document also offers recommendations for what needs to be done to assure victory in the future. Before I had time to peruse the report, I was getting some inkling that a lot of social conservatives were upset with it. Not wanting to pre-judge, I waited until I had time to look it over before commenting. Disappointingly, I find myself in agreement with much of the criticism.
A good portion of this postmortem deals with the nuts and bolts: how to conduct primaries differently, etc. Most of that is certainly worth rethinking, and the party is right to do so. Perhaps it can help iron out some of the logistical errors. But when it comes to substance—what the party stands for and how it seeks to present its message—the document leaves a lot to be desired.
It reads like a manual put together by paid political consultants—you know, the ones who have so marvelously led the party to defeat in the past two presidential campaigns while treating social conservatives as necessary evils that just can’t be avoided, much as the political pros would like to. In summary, the meat of the analysis is the essence of a party created by the consultants, who will always get paid, and paid well, no matter who wins or loses. If this is the blueprint for the future, the GOP will be a party of the political consultants, by the political consultants, and for the political consultants.
The report’s recommendations undeniably lead to a diminution of the conservative message. While giving lip service to conservatism, Republicans are informed they need to connect with radical groups like La Raza [a recommendation outside the report but endorsed by RNC chairman Reince Priebus] and the NAACP (yes, the NAACP has definitely become a radical group). Those are organizations that will never vote for a Republican; all that will happen is they will be the conduits for inserting their liberal agendas into the party while they continue to merrily support Democrats. It’s an exercise in utter futility as well as supreme foolishness.
In a desperate attempt to win over minority voters, Republicans are instructed to go along with policies that may compromise their principles, but carefully phrasing it as allowing diversity of views so as not to appear narrow-minded. We must leave room for those who are pro-abortion and in favor of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. It’s not stated that bluntly, but it’s not difficult for those practiced in deciphering politispeak to see it clearly.
Throughout the entire document, there are no ringing declarations of principles or strategies for communicating those principles to new audiences; instead, there is kowtowing to views that ultimately will destroy the party by making it Democrat-lite. There is no acknowledgement that one of the main problems was the alienation of a considerable number of conservatives; rather, the focus is on reaching out to the mushy middle and bringing them aboard. But aboard what? What will the party really stand for?
The RNC doesn’t speak for all Republicans, so this doesn’t have to be the final word. What it should do is energize those who seek to put the party on a stronger foundation. Now isn’t the time to give up; the soul of this party is up for grabs. If social conservatives leave the party in droves, those who are left will be astounded by how little support remains. The GOP, whether the professional politicians realize it or not, needs us. Without the conscience conservatives, the Republican party will be a hollow shell, devoid of principle. They don’t know it, but we are their last best hope.