From the Daily – RNC Autopsy

If you aren’t subscribed to the Daily then you are missing out on some good information. Like the RNC has released it’s 2012 election postmortem. If you’re a nerd like me, the full report is worth a skim but be sure to set a side some time, it’s not exactly short but there are pretty pictures.  Charlie mumbled something this morning about this being mentioned in his column set for later today too.

“RNC Self Autopsy Released: RNC Chairman Reince Preibus issued a report four months in the making providing an analysis of what went wrong for Republicans in the 2012 election cycle. His conclusion, quoted in Politico: “There’s no one reason we lost,” Priebus said. “Our message was weak; our ground game was insufficient; we weren’t inclusive; we were behind in both data and digital; our primary and debate process needed improvement. … So, there’s no one solution: There’s a long list of them.” The full report is available here, for download. And after all the buzz it caused, Preibus sat down with the Washington Post political blogger Jennifer Rubin to clarify some positions taken in the report.  “


  1. Stefan says:

    Among the solutions is a shorter Presidential primary with less of an opportunity for activists to derail the frontrunner. I bet the Tea Party is going to love that.

  2. jamesdillard says:

    Not only that, some policy positions are suggested to change, particularly immigration reform, which the RNC is going to have to sell to the base, which will be interesting to see as well (Rand Paul gave it a shot this morning suggesting “probation” as an alternative to “amnesty”).

  3. D_in_ATL says:

    It’s all well and good to ‘autopsy’ your losing bids but if you won’t change your policy there’s really no point in changing your message or, for that matter, the one who delivers the message. Most of the fixes I hear are about being more inclusive to minorities in the sense that the GOP needs more minority candidates. So it’s not about policy it’s about window-dressing. The only sure way to ensure national victories is for the GOP to drop it’s reliance on the Christianists and their medieval policies and get back to actual conservative ideals. That being the case, it’s probably never going to happen.

  4. I’m reading the report now. I’m about half way through the 100 pages. There are some good suggestions in there so I would urge folks not to reject the report out of hand and take the time to actually read the document.

    We need to have a serious discussion about the future of the GOP. Comments like the GOP needs to “drop it’s reliance on the Christianists and their medieval policies” or “kick out all the people I say are RINOs” aren’t the proper approaches. We need to grow the party not shrink it.

    As for the suggestion that the GOP put together a comprehensive immigration reform package, it’s being done. Conservative heroes Marco Rubio and as mentioned above Rand Paul are pushing their solutions. Let’s move forward with that and find a real solution.

    We need to take the message to ALL people that Conservatism is the ideology that will help them achieve the American Dream. We’ve stopped doing that for some reason. The American Dream isn’t a system where you have to rely on government to get by (see the President’s “Julia” meme) but an environment where people are free to pursue their own dreams for themselves. We need a thriving economy for that to happen.

    Those are my initial thoughts, I welcome yours.

    • I read through the entire document, though I wish I would have just skipped to the summary at the end, as it would have saved a lot of reading.

      I agree with the part about ending the primary earlier, which I hope that Georgia will look at. It is very difficult to turnaround from a contested primary to face an opponent that did not go through a primary in a period of about 8 weeks. I disagree with shortening the primary season, though. It is just too advantageous to the “front runner.”

      Make no mistake about it, Karl Rove is a part of this process. He has already been tapped to handle the digital outreach for the RNC. Link: (You have to click on the first link in Google. Otherwise, WSJ will not let you look at the article). The RNC produced a document about change, but they are going back to the same dry well for answers.

    • Nonchalant says:

      There is little use arguing with you on immigration, and I am an official nobody anyway, of no import or consequence, so I am sure the steamroller is moving forward. Chickens have got to be plucked in Hall County, after all, But for the record, it is my view that in some respects that this isn’t an autopsy, it is more of a suicide note. You of course will say I do not understand politics, and you may be right. I will reply something about understanding statecraft and fates of nations.

      I have no great answer for you on immigration, or at least any that will fit within preferred outcomes of HOP grandees. But then, neither does the “comprehensive” crowd. Smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors. Or at least, that is the phrase that comes to mind.

      So, I think I will take a pass on giving Messrs Rubio and Paul the “hero” tite. Because, having read my Joseph Campbell, I know heroes actually win something for their people, not manage defeat. And we are being defeated, by folks who said we had no right to establish our own laws and enforce them.

      My apologies for not praising the great glorious path forward. Not feeling it today.

      • Nonchalant says:

        Typo–“GOP”, not “HOP”. Though the way everyone is hopping on board the comprehensive train….but what does my opinion matter? Forget I mentioned it.

    • Ghost of William F Buckley says:

      ” We need to grow the party not shrink it.” From your mouth to Dan Becker’s ears…

      2012 Tent-Shrink (TM) is the clearest indication that our GOP offers less to fewer and fewer adherents. Take healthcare, as an example, a really BIG example.

      When the GOP has all three Branches of Federal power; O Glory, we chose not to address resolution to the many weighty issues surrounding indigent/uninsured care. The oppo picked up on the crushing cost of HC, ignored the problem, and ran a ‘solution’ through in the most egregious manner, breech-birthing PPACA. Hate Healthcare? OK. Let’s pick on social issues.

      Enter Dan Becker, and his National ilk, parading well-meaning, yet woefully uninformed legions equating sound science and medical ethics with the fantasy of H.G. Wells, ‘Dr. Moreau.’ Hate that? OK. Let’s discuss banking and finance.

      Does anyone remember the hand job offered to Jamie Dimon in the form of a Senate hearing? After hearing Dimon’s testimony, Senators flopping over themselves to ‘help’ beleaguered Jamie and his untold hoards of campaign manna. Hate that? Yeah, me too.

      Rep. Brockway is one of the ‘good-ones’ in our House, I respect him for his honest, open, and most of all, truthful approach to legislation. We need more like him.

      We need to work our butts off to find a clear, easily understood message of inclusion that doesn’t compromise Conservative principles, yet, defines the GOP as smart, savvy, no-nonsense small, but COMPASSIONATE government. We need more like Buzz.

      History shows that first generation Americans generally vote Dem, but as they gain ‘stuff,’ they see the Dems as ‘tax and spenders’ and side with the GOP. Our Latino brothers and sisters are socially VERY conservative, points toward early GOP acceptance, if properly nuanced.

      Younger voters, now the products of a 30 year assault on independent thinking, lean Dem because it is ‘cooler.’ Sadly, Conservatism will never be cool. But as they younger voters get stuff, they too will re-evaluate the cost of ‘cool.’

      It is there for the taking!

  5. Ed says:

    I’ll start this by saying IANARepublican but…. Don’t get too bent out of shape I guess is my big point. Obama was not going to lose in 2008. If there were any chance of it happening it wasn’t to John McCain) which puts you way behind the 8-Ball for 2012 as incumbents never lose. Despite that, the GOP still nearly pulled 50% of the vote, was competitive in the major swing states and had a shot to win.

    I also remember in 2004 there was much teeth-gnashing and navel-gazing on the Democrats’ side, wondering if they could ever win again and what the future of liberalism in the U.S. entailed.

    So, basically what I’m saying is sure there are things that need to be tweaked and probably some stuff you should probably give up on but to act like the near- and long-term future are dire and you need to start over just seems… I dunno but it isn’t good.

  6. Joshua Morris says:

    I agree with Lawton on just skipping to the compilation of recommendations on p. 74. I think this document is okay, but it is clearly lacking on messaging. Republicans must translate the concept of ‘opportunity’ from the board room level to the hourly laborer or the person who has been out of work. They must bridge the gap to the 47% who have been sold the short-sighted unicorns and rainbows message about depending on government aid and who have been led to believe that opportunity is only for rich people. Voters need to understand that elected officials who truly care about them will believe in good education, good healthcare, good nutrition, comfortable housing, etc., and that those officials who are truly interested in a brighter future will have a plan that will focus on helping people provide these things for themselves.

  7. Three Jack says:

    Todd Aiken, Richard Murdoch, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachman, Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Reince Preibus, Karl Rove — 2012 faces of the GOP. See I can write a full GOP post mortem in one sentence.

    Preibus talks about all the things that went wrong…data, grassroots, etc., but does not accept responsibility for his failing as chairman. What was he doing instead of the basic support and fund raising that he and his team are supposed to do? Unless he’s willing to step aside, the GOP can fund 100 reports without ever moving toward the right solution.

  8. Three Jack says:

    Statement from the Atlanta Tea Party about the RNC report:

    It has become apparent that the report RNC Chair Reince Priebus commissioned several months ago to find out what went wrong in 2012 was not a “fact finding” mission at all, but rather a “finger pointing” mission.

    Atlanta Tea Party Co-Chairman Debbie Dooley states, “Allowing the persons responsible for the 2012 election “fiasco” to be the ones to actually assign blame was irresponsible and demonstrated Chairman Priebus was not serious about finding out the real cause for the GOP’s defeat in 2012. Can you imagine the public outcry if a surgeon, that lost a patient due to his incompetence, was the one the hospital assigned the task of finding out what went wrong?”

    Atlanta Tea Party Co-Chairman Julianne Thompson states, “The problem has never been with the conservative message. The problems in 2012 were the messengers. The messengers could not effectively articulate conservatism because they were not passionate about it.”

    We are glad the RNC is addressing the need for a more effective ground game and the need for more outreach. Dooley states, “Watching the differences in the RNC ground game in 2012 and the Obama Campaign ground game was like watching mall cops battle Navy Seals.”

    In 2010, the tea party drove the agenda and conservatives won historic victories. In 2012, the Romney Campaign and RNC shunned the tea party and led the agenda. They lost an election that should have been easily won.

      • Three Jack says:

        Exactly Ed. They hitched their wagon to the GOP because most of the leadership evolved from the socon movement to end up leading the various tea party groups.

        I will give them credit for the proactive approach to elections here in GA. Building a database down to precinct captains could be worthwhile if they distance themselves from the GOP and finally stop messing around in individual races with endorsements.

  9. northside101 says:

    242 and 15…

    What are the significance of those numbers?

    “242” is the number of electoral votes (combined) of the 18 states that have voted Democratic in each of the last 6 presidential elections, going back to 1992 when Clinton won. 242 represents a shade under 243, the latter number being 90 percent of the electoral votes needed to win (270).

    Let’s look further at some of those 18 states:
    California (55 electoral votes)—Romney lost by about 3 million votes
    New York (29 electoral votes)—Romney lost by about 1.8 million votes
    Illiinois (20 electoral votes)—Romney lost by nearly 900,000 votes
    New Jersey (14 electoral votes)—Romney lost by over 600,000 votes

    Just from those 4 states alone (all which Obama won by more than 15 percentage points), Obama had a combined 118 electoral votes—44 percent of what he neede to win—even without mentioning other heavily D states like Maryland and Massachuetts

    As for the “15”, those are the combined electoral votes of Iowa, New Hampshire and New Mexico, which have gone Democratic for president 5 of the last 6 pres elections

    Add 242 and 15, and you get 257—basically, then, Obama was likely going to win 257 electoral votes at a minimum last November—even before getting to the swing states like Florida, Ohio and Virginia. Pretty simple math for Obama–win just one of the swing states above, game over.

    The point here is Republicans somehow have to find a way to appeal outside the South and traidtionally GOP Great Plains/Rocky Mtn states. And Bible thumping ain’t gonna be the way to make that happen. You hear grumbling from the base that they are tired of mushy moderates—the Doles, McCains and Romneys—well, then, name a conservative who would have done better than Romney–Rick Santorum, who lost his home state in a re-eelction landslide in 2006? Newt Gingrich, who still implausibly thinks about running for presdient in 2016 and made the unbelievable statement during his 2012 campaign that he could make California competitive for Republicans? Sarah Palin, from 3 electoral-vote Alaska? Some may mention Rand Paul, but he is almost more libertarian than conservative–he is (to his credit) a states’ rights conservative, one who believes states should decide social issues like abortion and gay marriage, instead of trying to come up with national policies on either (which I think is impossible given the growing divergence on social issues between the more socially conservative South and the more secular/libertarian areas like the Pacific Coast states and the Northeast.)

    Younger voters seem to be getting more liberal on social issues, but GOP in that case should find a way to win them on economic ones…maybe for instance allowing them some options with our failing entitlement system (private accounts for retirement, for instance). And nominate younger candidates. The last time the GOP nominated someone under age 50 for president? You’d have to go back all the way to the era of black and white television—Richard Nixon in 1960! In contrast. Bill Clinton was only 46 in his fire presdiential election and Obama 47.

    And on Election night 2016, if Dick Morris is making any predictions, be sure to take them with a grain of salt. Beware of commentators that tell you what you want to hear, even if it is not credible (like Morri’s outlandish prediction of 325 electoral votes for Romney and a 5-7 point win).

    • caroline says:

      I don’t see the majority of those states changing columns anytime soon. A very good candidate could squeak in the presidency but he would have to triangulate off the right to make himself palpable to the middle and I don’t see that happening. I see candidates running to sign onto the far right like Romney did in 2012 which is really ironic. If he had been able to run as the moderate Governor of MA he might have been able to win.

      Ironically I’m finding that many people who lapped up the stuff from the likes of Dick Morris are still listening to those same sources.

  10. Noway says:

    The part that mystified me Caroline, was not Morris and Rove, but Michael Barone, who’s in no one’s camp and is one of the most respected election analysts out there. How could HE get it so wrong? His prediction was on similar level as Rove/Morris.

    Morris is a buffoon and I’ve taken him with a grain of salt since his book that predicted a Condi- Hillary race. Not too swift on that one.

    Rove’s no dummy either but I think he had a classic case of wishing his results would happen. After all, he’d just spending some 300 million to get the result he predicted.

    • caroline says:

      That book should have turned a lot of people away from Morris but apparently it didn’t. I could not believe anyone would have taken him seriously after that but apparently many desperate or foolish people did due to the fact that he once worked for Bill Clinton. Rove should have been discounted after 2006 when he told everybody the GOP was going to keep congress because he had the “real” numbers. Apparently his “real numbers” were wrong again. And his meltdown election night was legendary.

  11. northside101 says:

    Caroline has a great point about majority of these states changing (in terms of political support). In one of the classic close elections, 1976 Carter-Ford (the closest electoral vote count between the FDR era and Bush/Gore in 2000), Carter won by just 2 percentage points (50-48%), and there were 20 states decided by 5 percentage points or less (with Ford winning 12 of those and Carter 8 states). Only 3 states in that election gave either candidate 60% or more of the vote (Arkansas and Georgia for Carter, Utah for Ford). A generation later, in 2012, Obama won 51-47% nationally and just 4 states were decided by 5 percentage points or less (Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia), and in 15 states the winner exceeded 60%+ (8 states for Romney and 7 for Obama). These days, Republicans literally have to sweep the South (however, you define it—the 11 states of the Old Confedracy, or those 11 + Kentucky and Oklahoma, or even with West Virginia included)—and even that may not be enough. Even if Romney had carried Florida and Virginia, he still would have ended up short, with 248 electoral votes, in the Electoral College (assuming of course Obama won all the other non-southern swing states like Colorado and Ohio). Sobering math for the GOP…

  12. Dave Bearse says:

    No autopsy mention of a big factor, the bubble.

    Demographics have made the GOP’s Southern Strategy a Catch-22 for those in GOP observing from outside of the bubble. Moderating platform to attract the young and minorities alienates the base that the GOP depends on. The state base is now so small and regionalized that loss of base states cripples chances.

  13. Dave Bearse says:

    Maybe the autopsy will reinvigorate GOP dialogue. When Limbaugh says he’ll use a 7 iron at 120 yards, maybe the RNC Chairman will be able to respond “No that’s too much club” and not have to apologize.

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