This morning, the Republican National Committee released its Growth and Opportunity Project report. This self-examination exercise is a net plus, but I hope now the Republican Party’s time of self-flagellation is over. Of course, after any losing season, we need to critique what happened, determine the lessons learned and work toward solutions. But now it is time to move on and get back to contrasting the Republican position on economic issues with that of President Obama and the Democrats.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said the report had to be “bold,” “raw” and “real.” We should apply the words “bold,” “raw” and “real” to the party as a whole, not just use them to describe the report that describes the party’s deficiencies. We have to be bold, raw and real to get people to understand our core message and ideals. The RNC should lead the way. One recommendation that I wish was in the report would be for the RNC to create a uniformed division of Cliché Police. These armed officers could walk through the RNC offices and other D.C.-based committees with batons and nightsticks to administer swift justice to anyone who writes the laughable and cliché talking points regularly churned out of the headquarters. If it’s not bold, raw and real, don’t send it out.
The Growth and Opportunity Project report also states that when voters who recently left the Republican Party were asked to describe the party, they used phrases like, “scary,” “out of touch,” “narrow-minded” and full of “stuffy old men.” Remember when our 2012 presidential nominee famously said in one campaign misfire that “corporations are people”? Well, parties are people too, and I don’t think voters were saying that the GOP rank-and-file are scary, out of touch, narrow-minded and stuffy old men. So where would voters get this idea? Does it suggest something about our leadership that should be addressed? To thine own self be true. We did elect one woman, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, to the House leadership in a hotly contested race and she’s not scary, out of touch, narrow-minded, or a stuffy old man. Perhaps we are offering too much of one visual image and not enough of another. We need more leaders like Rep. McMorris Rodgers to expand our party and our party’s appeal.
Republicans are on notice for the double standard that exists in the media. It’s hard for Republicans to get credit for — or even honest acknowledgement of — the Republican point of view. So we have to try harder and be more careful both about what we say and who says it.