Back in March, the Republican National Committee released an “autopsy” of its 2012 losses, which included 11 recommendations for how the party should change its image. As we end the year, let’s check in and see how that’s going.
Below are the 11 recommendations, verbatim, followed by a brief status report on the GOP’s progress for each item.
1. The Grand Old Party should be synonymous with the name “Growth and Opportunity Party.”
STATUS: Pretty sure no one ever says that.
2. The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how
to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have
lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with
us on every issue.
STATUS: Seven incumbent Republican senators are being challenged in primaries from the right. In contrast, only one incbument Democratic senator faces a challenge, and he was recently appointed to the position.
3. It is time for Republicans on the federal level to learn from successful Republicans on the state level. It is time to smartly change course, modernize the Party, and learn once again how to appeal to more people, including those who share some but not all of our conservative principles.
4. The perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major
deficiency that must be addressed.
STATUS: “I don’t see much appetite from our side for an extension of [emergency unemployment insurance] benefits. I just don’t.” — House Deputy Majority Whip Rep. Tom Cole
5. We need to do a better job connecting people to our policies. Our ideas can sound distant and removed from people’s lives. Instead of connecting with voters’ concerns, we too often sound like bookkeepers.
STATUS: “Sequestration is working” — Sen. Chuck Grassley
6. The Republican Party must be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life. Low-income Americans are hard-working people who want to become hard-working middle-income Americans. Middle-income Americans want to become upper-middle-income, and so on. We need to help everyone make it in America.
STATUS: The House GOP voted to cut food stamps by $40 billion.
7. We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but
rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens
of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had
a meaningful raise in years.
STATUS: Republican leaders tried, but failed, to prevent Obama from appointing a head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Republican leaders have not tried to raise middle-class wages by introducing legislation to raise the minimum wage, or by any other means.
8. If we believe our policies are the best ones to improve the lives of the American people, all the American people, our candidates and office holders need to do a better job talking in normal, people-oriented terms and we need to go to communities where Republicans do not normally go to listen and make our case. We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.
9. If we want ethnic minority voters to support Republicans, we have to engage them and show our sincerity.
STATUS: Rand Paul went to Howard.
10. …among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only. We also believe that comprehensive immigration reform is consistent with Republican economic policies that promote job growth and opportunity for all.
(In fairness to Boehner, he did just bring on a new staffer who is committed to immigration reform including a path to citizenship. But it is notable the RNC autopsy explicitly backed “comprehensive” reform and Boehner has rejected that in favor of a series of piecemeal bills.)
11. When it comes to social issues, the Party must in fact and deed be inclusive and welcoming. If we are not, we will limit our ability to attract young people and others, including many women, who agree with us on some but not all issues.
STATUS: House Republicans cleared legislation designed to kill Obamacare’s mandate for insurance to cover contraception. Meanwhile, the Speaker is blocking a vote to end workplace discrimination against LGBT employees.