Michael O’Brien of NBC News has a useful breakdown of the details in GOP chairman Reince Priebus’s 100-page report, the “Growth and Opportunity Project.” The report is part analysis of why the Republicans did poorly in the 2012 election cycle and part blueprint for how they can make a comeback.
My immediate reaction is that it is a declaration of war by the Republican establishment on the party’s base. You can see this in several distinct elements of the report. On the policy front, the report is explicit about comprehensive immigration reform.
“We are not a policy committee, but among the steps Republicans take in the Hispanic community and beyond, we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” the report says, nodding at other points to the bipartisan reform efforts currently before Congress. “If we do not, our Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.”
Needless to say, the base of the party to inalterably opposed to comprehensive immigration reform. Things are no better when it comes to gay rights.
The report also notes a growing generational divide on the issue of gay rights, calling the issue a “gateway” for young voters deciding whether to align with the GOP.
It doesn’t appear that the report touches more broadly on sexual issues, although that is probably just a bridge too far. The report also pits the establishment against the base by complaining about third-party groups who enforce “purity,” which is a clear shot at the Club for Growth. The report recognizes the danger of Super PACs that blast the eventual nominee in the primary season.
As Mr. O’Brien points out, the all-out assault on political consultants at last week’s CPAC conference anticipated this RNC report.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin encapsulated the sentiment during her speech on Saturday before the Conservative Political Action Conference.
“Now is the time to furlough the consultants, and tune out the pollsters, send the focus groups home, and toss the political scripts,” she said, “because if we truly know what we believe, we don’t need professionals to tell us.”
Palin’s sentiment is perfectly suited to ensure that the “Party’s appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only.” Will the base follow Palin’s path, or the path laid out by Priebus?