Jansing & Co. , 3/20/13, 8:00 PM ET

The GOP finds itself at a fork in the road

The internal debate within the GOP continues over how the RNC’s blunt autopsy of the 2012 election is marginalizing the party. Former GOP Congressman Steve LaTourette discusses.

GOP at a fork in the road


An internal debate is going on right now within the Republican Party following the RNC’s blunt autopsy of the 2012 election that argued the party is marginalizing itself. But the 100-page analysis seems to have only intensified the battle between deeply committed conservatives and more pragmatic members who are fighting one another for control of the party.

“The Tea Party is an important component of the Republican Party but it’s not the Republican Party,” said former Congressman Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, on Jansing & Co. Thursday. “We have to become a national party.”

To that end, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is advocating a number of course corrections. He says Republicans should stop talking only to themselves and become better acquainted with Americans from all walks of life, build their party around pragmatic governors and get behind immigration reform. Priebus also says the GOP needs to better tailor its message to immigrants, women and minorities.

“If you look at the RNC report I think it’s good that we’ve done this introspection,” LaTourette told msnbc’s Chris Jansing. “But we have to take it beyond that.”

As Republicans look at how to shape their brand for the future, a new Politico article says the two most potent forces in the Republican party today are Florida Senator Marco Rubio and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

“I don’t agree with that,” LaTourette said about the Politico piece, but added, “they certainly hold a good deal of sway.”

LaTourette leads the Republican Main Street Partnership and his group is now starting its own Super PAC to promote center-right candidates for the House of Representatives from primary challenges in 2014. The move comes at the same time Karl Rove has taken hits for saying he would like to see more moderate candidates.

“I actually sat down with Karl about a month and a half ago. I said respectfully, ‘Karl, you’re not the face of moderation in the Republican Party,’” LaTourette said. “The fact that somebody is attacking Karl Rove and John Boehner as being squishy moderates, I mean that really tells you how far to the right some of these folks have gone.”

GOP at a fork in the road