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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Actual prospects for RNC’s blueprint for change pretty dim

longtime political analyst Stuart Rothenberg looks at the republican National Convention’s manifesto for change and sees one big, huge, obvious problem — someone actually has to do this stuff and rank and file Republicans simply aren’t interested.

While many of the suggestions contained in the Growth & Opportunity Project report would improve the party’s prospects, the nature of our political system makes it difficult for the RNC to remake the party, as former RNC Chairman Ray Bliss did in the mid-1960s, after Barry Goldwater’s defeat.

The RNC can improve its prospects by reaching out to Hispanics, Asian-Americans and younger voters. It can increase its relevance by emphasizing voter registration, micro-targeting and data collection, and by trying to woo college students and those becoming U.S. citizens. And it can promote young women and people of color to change the perception of the Republican Party primarily as the party of old white guys.

But while the report proposes a big tent strategy, others in the party — Rush Limbaugh, the Club for Growth, Sean Hannity, Tea Party Express and Jim DeMint — have a different agenda. Bliss did not have to deal with similar non-party groups 50 years ago, and their existence today undercuts the authority of the national party.

Allies of Ron Paul and “movement conservatives” have already criticized the RNC report, portraying it as little more than the establishment’s attempt to remake the party in the image of the Democratic Party.

It’s like the old joke: how many psychiatrists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but the lightbulb has to want to change.

This particular lightbulb has no interest in changing.

So we have a party at war with itself. One side wants to be competitive in all elections, one’s only interested in winning the one they’re competing in, and yet another are just media blowhards interested in selling victimhood to the base. In other words, one side is right, but no one else actually cares.

[photo via Wikimedia Commons]

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