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: