The Republican National Committee is admitting it’s in need of an extreme makeover following the GOP’s big losses in 2012. Too bad others in the party don’t necessarily feel the same way.
The RNC’s study, released Monday, concludes that the party has a major messaging problem. Among the gripes: many view the GOP as a group of “stuffy old men,” an entity at which “young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes,” and minorities “wrongly think Republicans do not like them.”
“Our message was weak, our ground game was insufficient, we weren’t inclusive, we were behind in both data and digital, and our primary and debate process needed improvement. So there’s not one solution. There’s a long list of them,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said.
But judging from the speeches at the Conservative Political Action Conference last week, it seems many in the party don’t feel the same way.
Failed vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin declared, “Let’s be clear. We’re not here to rebrand a party, we’re here to rebuild a country.” And Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas insisted that for the past three weeks conservatives have been winning the political debate. “Something is happening that hasn’t happened in a long time: We’re winning right now. We’re winning because of you,” he told the crowd.
Then there’s Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who insisted, “We don’t need a new idea. The idea is America and it still works.”
Hardball host Chris Matthews weighed in on Monday, noting “conservative speaker after speaker [at CPAC] told activists there’s nothing wrong with the conservative message.”
While the RNC study calls for a number of solutions besides minority outreach–including letting gay voters know “we care about them too,” championing comprehensive immigration reform and changing the Republican nominating process–the report offers little in the way of specifics, especially in terms of actual policy changes on abortion, gay rights, taxes or other issues.
Matthews also skewered Priebus himself and said it was ironic he was the one pushing for change. “Isn’t he the same Reince Priebus who as chairman of the Republican National committee presided over a voter-suppression effort in three dozen states aimed at keeping African-Americans from voting?” He added, “Priebus talks about outreach to the young. Yet it was his party that opposed issues important to younger voters: marriage equality, abortion rights, gun safety, and is still pushing tax breaks for the rich and Medicare and Medicaid cuts for the middle class and poor.”
MSNBC political analyst and former Democratic Committee Chairman Ed Rendell argued the GOP has no plans to change their policies, pointing to GOP-backed anti-abortion bills and the right continuing to push for tax breaks for the rich–even after their 2012 loss. “No packaging, no marketing can change that,” he said.
Joy Reid, MSNBC political analyst from TheGrio.com, agreed. “Softening your language on a few social issues…is not a cure for their overall policy,” she said.