You’d never know it from the way they’ve been legislating, but Republicans are apparently in a state of reflection. Knowing they lost the 2012 election badly, and with an eye toward the future, RNC leaders released a self-critique of the party they described as existing in an “ideological cul-de-sac” and in need of a new brand of conservatism that would reach younger voters, ethnic minorities and women. It is a long report that can pretty fairly be summed up as concluding that an ideological platform that is openly hostile to pretty much most of America is not a platform with a lot of longevity. Sounds promising.
But true to form, all that reflective work is squandered. The report offers no new policy suggestions, no points or issues where the party could pivot to reach out to the majority of American voters. Instead, Republicans assert what they need, again, is a brand re-boot.
The conclusion would be funny if it weren’t so sad.
For example, the RNC concludes that Republican candidates must connect with women voters using “softer language,” fewer “graphs and charts” and by assembling a strong list of female surrogates to do media appearances. That’s right. Republicans conclude that to win women voters they must use their “inside” voice and not bombard those ladybrains with all that “information.” Oh, and rather than actually place women in positions of leadership within the party, they plan to just pluck a few pretty faces to put in front of the cameras.
“The report appears to blame voter turnout operations, messaging, and other tactical failures for the GOP’s losses in 2012 and utterly fails to recognize that the candidates’ positions on women’s health were defining and decisive issues,” Planned Parenthood Action Fund (PPAF) Vice President Dawn Laguens wrote in a memo.
Laguens summed it up. “Candidates who would limit access to birth control, overturn Roe v. Wade, and defund Planned Parenthood lost in November because the majority of voters disagree with their agenda.”
The Tea Party didn’t like the report either which pretty much guarantees that 2014 will be a redux of the 2012 election, only likely with even more money. “Americans and those in the Tea Party movement don’t need an ‘autopsy’ report from R.N.C. to know they failed to promote our principles, and lost because of it,” Jenny Beth Martin, a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, said in a statement.
What does that mean for those of us who count on our elected officials to tackle the issues for which we put them in office? It means nothing, and I mean nothing is going to change in our electoral politics anytime soon. The Republican party will not moderate because it cannot moderate which means it will continue to hemorrhage voters but likely keep just enough to muck up the works in Congress. That’s bad news for environmental reform, infrastructure, social benefits programs, you know, the work Congress is supposed to do.
Photo from wheat_in_your_hair via flickr.