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Posted by on Mar 18, 2013 in Featured, Politics | 9 comments

RNC GOP “Autopsy” Fuels War Between Establishment and Far Right


As that historical figure Bugs Bunny once said, “Of course you know, this means war.” The RNC’s long-awaited “autopsy” on what went wrong in 2012 is being seen by some on the right as the RNC throwing down the gauntlet to try and short circuit the far right grass roots, including the Tea Party. And don’t expect powerful, polarizing conservative talk show hosts to be much happier, either.

Josh Marshall has noted what the far right notices:

So drastically shorter primary phase, much earlier nominating convention, many fewer debates. Aren’t all of Reince Priebus’s structural reforms basically aimed at dramatically reducing the time period in which the actual Republican party base is on display for the public at large?

And the base is proud of what they believe (and feel). The Politico’s piece spells it out in all of its glorious (for political junkies and probably for the DNC) details:

The GOP’s prescription to cure the ills that helped bring on yet another disastrous presidential cycle would revamp its presidential nominating rules in ways to benefit well-funded candidates and hamper insurgents – a move that quickly heated up the already smoldering feud between the Republican establishment and the tea party-inspired base.

You can bet every wild strand of hair on Donald Trump’s head that Sarah Palin will have something to say about this SOON…and Rush Limbaugh (to be sure). MORE:

Tucked in near the end of the 97-page report, formally known as The Growth and Opportunity Project, are less than four pages that amount to a political bombshell: the five-member panel urges halving the number of presidential primary debates in 2016 from 2012, creating a regional primary cluster after the traditional early states and holding primaries rather than caucuses or conventions.

Each of those steps would benefit a deep-pocketed candidate in the mold of Mitt Romney.

Is that because Romney was such a terrific nominee? MORE:

That is, someone who doesn’t need the benefit of televised debates to get attention because he or she can afford TV ads; has the cash to air commercials and do other forms of voter contact in multiple big states at one time; and has more appeal with a broader swath of voters than the sort of ideologically-driven activists who typically attend caucuses and conventions.

So it would a)mean the “little guy” (someone who only has $1 million) would find it harder and b)it would help the GOP get back to the task political parties throughout most of American history have worked at — at aggregating interests and building broad coalitions, rather than exluding chunks of voters and looking for a kind of “niche” electorate.

The recommendations are also a nod to the party’s donor class. Several donors bluntly told RNC Chair Reince Priebus at meetings right after the election that they wanted Iowa, with its more conservative base, to have less of a role in the process.

21st century conservatives (who often differ from Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan conservatives) have long felt they don’t get no respect — and this is further proof (to them):

Reaction was swift. Allies of potential 2016 hopefuls Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum, sensing a power play by the establishment-dominated panel, reacted angrily to recommendations they think are aimed at hurting candidates who do well in caucuses and conventions and need debates to get attention.

“Caucuses give you a better glimpse of what the base of the party wants,” said Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker, who hails from the Paul wing of the party. “And those people, they aren’t going to be swayed as easily by television ads as a primary voter. They’re a more politically educated voter.”

Spiker added that an “attempt to get rid of that is really an attempt to get rid of what the base of the party wants. I think RNC membership would object to that too.”

A close Paul adviser was even blunter, warning the party against pushing primaries rather than caucuses.

“Elimination of caucuses would mean nuclear war with the grassroots, social conservatives and [the] Ron Paul movement,” said this Republican.

Bring it on, said some GOP leaders. “If Paul forces want ‘nuclear war’ over reducing [the number] of caucuses, let’s have it,” tweeted longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy. “[The] key to [a] stronger party is more open primaries.”

But it wasn’t just the libertarian Republicans who were uneasy about the primary recommendations.

John Brabender, Santorum’s chief adviser, said the reforms would favor the moneyed candidates.

“While I commend Chairman Priebus for taking important steps to remedy Republicans’ recent election failures, I am troubled by the possibility of a condensed presidential primary process which undoubtedly gives an advantage to establishment backed candidates and the wealthiest candidates,” said Brabender.

And so it goes.

But the GOP’s far right (talk show hosts who need whipped up audiences to get them to return again and again, the conservative entertainment complex, the Tea Party movement and some new media writers) will likely quote this great individual:

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  • dduck

    Of course you realize there will be despicable comments (from both sides).

  • zephyr

    Seems like eventually the man and woman in the street republicans would figure out how badly warped their party is and choose to extract themselves from it’s influence. Don’t they ever get tired of all the hate and lies that make up the staple of it’s media standardbearers? I’m not sure how long a party this damaged and deranged can continue to be a force in American politics – which is exactly what the republican establishment has to be wondering too.

  • dduck

    Despicable bunch of zombies, the bunch that can’t extract itself.

  • zephyr

    I’d say that’s a little over the top dd. Disappointing? Yes. Zombies? Too much TV methinks.

  • dduck

    Those zombies disappointing, why I bet they even take showers. 🙂

  • cjjack

    The weird thing in all this is that the “war” over the future of the GOP is over just how far to the right the party needs to go in order to succeed.

    The “establishment” thinks they’re sufficiently conservative, but just need to present it better, while the “far right” figures they haven’t been conservative enough, messaging be damned.

    Nobody…not a single person in a position to do anything about the future of the GOP…is saying “maybe we need to veer a bit towards the center.”

  • bluebelle

    Agree with cjjack. If you listened to some of the CPAC speeches, quite a few prominent Republicans think there is no need to change anything- Cruz even believes the party is winning. Winning what??
    Also, I would take it a step further and say that nobody in the party ever seems to consider what would be best for the country as a whole, merely what would generate more votes. You never see any discussion on the disparity between the will of the majority and the way the GOP votes in Congress. Take gun control, for example. 93% of Americans polled want stricter background checks– yet every single Republican on the Senate committee voted against them.
    What have they done that would attract the younger generation?? Keeping these stale conservative principles are going to be a big turnoff for students who want to get excited about our government and its ability to problem-solve. The GOP’s stodgy and repetitive speeches exhorting the right’s defense of liberty and the Constitution are not going to cut it.

  • Cjjack and bluebelle are on it. Saw Tom Davis (R – former VA congressman) on Bill Maher this past weekend and while I was upset he didn’t get to speak more, I appreciated his moderate tone and his questioning of the sacrosanct on the left. To which I can only suggest: More Tom Davises, fewer Sarah Palins.

    Blue, it does sometimes seem that the GOP thinks all they have to do to win young and less-pale voting blocks is to give visibility to young and less-pale people. There doesn’t seem to be much reflection on whether or not the ideas being espoused are the problem… which is really kind of insulting at its core. Not that the Democrats don’t do a good job of stereotyping and undervaluing their voters’ intelligence.

  • zephyr

    Well said cjjack and bluebelle.

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