For conservatives still reeling from the 2012 presidential election and wondering if there’s a bright spot anywhere on the horizon, there’s good news and there’s bad news.
The good news is, establishment Republicans have admitted there’s a problem. The bad news is, they don’t yet understand that they’re part of it.
As reported by Politico this week, the Republican National Committee has taken steps to figure out what went wrong this past year by, well, doing what committees do best–appointing another committee–to assess their own inefficiencies. As the saying goes, a camel is a horse wrought by committee. Maybe I’ll be surprised, but I don’t hold out much hope that this one will birth anything truly useful.
So forget the committee. Just stick to the following new rules:
1. Democrats aren’t the Visigoths.
I didn’t become a conservative because someone convinced me liberals were terrible people. Conservatism has an uplifting message that we need to promote at every opportunity. And smile more often–voters will be far less terrified of us if we don’t look like we want to eat their children.
2. Don’t endorse stupid.
The Todd Akins of the party won’t be coddled, explained or funded. Strong opinions on abortion, gay marriage and other social issues are welcome, but junk science is not.
3. Get out of the Beltway.
The same tired old establishment voices have been crafting party messaging for decades, and what worked 30 years ago may not work today. Step outside once in a while, leave DC, invite younger thought leaders to the table and consider unorthodox ideas. (Unless they are Newt Gingrich’s).
4. Do not malign aggrieved parties.
Minorities, women, gays, immigrants and anyone else who didn’t vote for us this year aren’t the enemy. They’re opportunities. Calling them ignorant and lazy probably won’t endear us to them. Show them how conservative ideas can make their lives better, not how they are making our lives worse.
5. Unicorns aren’t real, but Bipartisanism is.
Treating agreement like it’s a mythical creature is an opportunity squandered. We should look for bipartisan solutions to poverty, education and immigration, and remember that solving problems is the point of politics. Politics itself is not.
This isn’t to say that Democrats are innocent. They fear-mongered, race-baited and, yes, lied at times. And this isn’t to say there aren’t valuable voices inside the GOP. There are. But the party apparatus that has overseen the last two presidential elections clearly doesn’t get it anymore. It’s time for new blood and a new way forward. Let’s hope the RNC’s new committee is willing to take a good, hard look at itself. If not, some of my friends and I will tell them, we told you so.