Republican Party

Don't Look to the GOP for Leadership or Economic Growth

Report on recovering from 2012 election losses is full of (unintended) dark humor.

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The Republican National Committee's report on how to recover from its 2012 election losses is out, and the product is a strange combination of the intriguing, the illuminating, the hypocritical, and the humorous.

Alas, it's dark humor for anyone who might have been looking to the Grand Old Party—which the report seeks to rebrand as the "Growth and Opportunity Party"—for leadership in returning America to full employment and robust economic growth.

My favorite passage in the report was the one that called for bipartisanship. "Campaign committee office buildings are deteriorating for both parties," the report declares, describing it as "an issue where Republicans and Democrats can come together to forge a reasonable solution" and "revive the important historical role of parties and candidates in our democracy." The proposed solution? "Republicans and Democrats should unite to seek an additional $32,400 allowance for building fund contributions that does not affect donor federal aggregate limits."

How can you not laugh? The country is headed down the tubes, and all of a sudden the big priority for the politicians in Washington is changing the campaign finance laws to make it easier for the political parties to build fancier headquarters buildings for themselves? Come on. If one of the party's goals is attracting younger voters, let the Republican Party officials get a taste of working from laptops and cellphones at Starbucks. It might serve as a reality check.

Elsewhere in the report, the Republicans aren't shy about spotlighting what they see as unattractive contrasts. "We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed," the report says. "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."

The phrase "speak out" there says volumes. It stops short of suggesting that the Republicans outlaw such practices, though the report doesn't hesitate to recommend legislative positions on other issues, such as immigration. Instead this seems to sound like another one where Republicans can "come together" with Democrats, this time to demonize business leaders.

If Republicans do feel moved to "speak out" on these issues they might observe that one reason corporate executives are receiving bonuses is because, in response to earlier "speaking out" over high executive pay, the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act limited the tax deductibility of executive pay of more than $1 million a year unless it was "performance-based." Why is it that middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise? In part because the value of their wages has been eroded by inflation (in a country where the value of the dollar is delegated by the politicians to the Federal Reserve), and in part because the cost of their health insurance, which is part of their compensation, has escalated as the insurers comply with government mandates.

Those points aren't in the report, What is there, however, is a recommendation that, "as a serious priority, the field finance staff should assist state parties in establishing a plan to raise corporate money early in the cycle to relieve pressure later in the cycle of federal dollars."

So there it is, the biggest brains in the Republican Party convene and conduct 36,000 online surveys, more than 3,000 "group listening sessions," more than 50 focus groups, and more than 800 conference calls. And what they come up with is a 100-page plan to "speak out" about corporate CEO pay while at the same time making it "a serious priority" to "raise corporate money early in the cycle"?

As I said, it's dark humor.

The campaign speech section of the report is also not without its ironies. "Although the Supreme Court thankfully has restored the First Amendment rights of many organizations, the free speech rights of political parties and federal candidates remain smothered by McCain-Feingold," the report says, studiously ignoring the fact that this same McCain who did the smothering was, less than five years ago, the Republican Party's presidential nominee.

The Republican Party's touching concern for free speech does not, however, extend to debates among its party's primary candidates. "There have been too many debates," the report says. "The number of debates has become ridiculous….The number of debates should be reduced by roughly half to a still robust number of approximately 10 to 12." It goes so far as to recommend consideration of the possibility of penalizing candidates by docking them delegates at the convention if the candidates participate in too many debates.

I don't want to be too harsh. There are plenty of recommendations in the report that the Republicans will want to take seriously, among them the ideas to "establish a private archive and public website that does nothing but post inappropriate Democrat utterances," to move the Republican National Convention forward to June or July from August, to improve the use of technology and data analytics, and to engage the Republican governors in the work of strengthening the party's appeal to voters outside its traditional stronghold of older white men.

If the Republican Party has a future, it's going to be driven not from national committee headquarters, even one spruced up by newly legal $32,400 building fund contributions from the same CEOs whose pay the Republicans are supposed to feel newly liberated to denounce. There are some questions, after all, best answered not by a committee or by a conference call but by a candidate.

NEXT: Chinese Solar Panel Company Defaults on Debts

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  1. Obvious article is obvious.

  2. I think the “dark humor” can be found in the fact that Reason writers are struggling to understand that the GOP’s “Evolution” on immigration or SSM is an indication that they’re turning left, not libertarian.

    What should the GOP do? Emphasizing limited government got them one good election year in 2010. Ron Paul was mostly noise, and he was beaten by Santorum in some states. Romney and Ryan are not libertarians, and the other side was convinced that they were corporatists out to gut medicare.

    The new demographic won the class war as well as the culture war. Young women and Latinos who walk the streets cursing corporations for not paying for contraception or “caring only for profit” are dime a dozen. A return to “compassionate conservatism” is inevitable.

    1. The Republicans will never be able to win over the current crop of selfish, parasites that vote Democratic. God help us.

  3. Whoa, who is talking all that smack over ther. Wow.

    http://www.WebAnon.da.bz

  4. What’s with all these recent attacks on the republican party? What about the democrats, uh? uh? They’re really mean, too! It’s almost as if reason.commies wish that…..

    the republican party must be destroyed.

    1. Most of the Reason staff are morons.

  5. Alas, it’s dark humor

    So at least they’re still RAAAAAAAAAAAACIST! Cool.

  6. “If the Republican Party has a future, it’s going to be driven not from national committee headquarters….”

    Ira, suck me and stop it. The national committee is a simpleton factory… Why are you wasting glowing brain ores on this shit like it’s something new? The republican plastic-printed label is a fucking diarrhea ramp for 1300 wasted WWE ‘rastlers’… = what? exactly. Only Mars knows. Lotsa ‘mazin’ revelations goin’ on here right? NO!

    That’s modern RP nationa commite’ HQ. Buncha Minecraft creepers lost in the fuckin’ mines of boredom…

    1. Come on, Agile … tell us how you feel.

    2. Cyborg needs to be re programed. I have never seen a more screwed up comment on Reason.

  7. Well…yes, it’s a joke.

    But the headline, “…for Leadership or Economic Growth,” reminds of something:

    People use the term “leader” to describe politicians, but in a free society, politicians shouldn’t be leading anyone other than their political machinery and, if in elected office, those government organizations they have authority over. For example, the President of the United States runs the executive branch of the federal government. He doesn’t run me. He doesn’t run you.

    On economic growth, I cringe when I read or hear any politician or party talking about creating/delivering/producing/driving economic growth. That’s five-year plans talk. Government doesn’t grow anything, unless you count whatever it is they smoke up there. I would rather hear/read stuff along the lines of “We need to get out of the way of economic growth.”

    Government is not the solution to the problem – government is the problem.

    1. You can’t really expect professional pols to admit they fuck everything up. I mean, they have to put bread on the table somehow, and they lack actual productive skills.

  8. The Republican Party’s touching concern for free speech does not, however, extend to debates among its party’s primary candidates. “There have been too many debates,” the report says. “The number of debates has become ridiculous?.The number of debates should be reduced by roughly half to a still robust number of approximately 10 to 12.”

    I don’t see why this is considered ridiculous. The debates gave candidates the chance to give plenty of ammunition for Democratic attacks in the general. Think of Rick Santorum’s comments about contraception, or the many attacks on Mitt Romney’s former job at Bain.

    1. Agreed. More important than the number, however, is the choice of format and moderators. Why did the GOP so often leave this up to their opponents? A committee of the candidates’ choosing should get together and determine the number, format, and all other details of all debates–including not allowing antagonists to lead the entire spectacle.

      1. Right. The Republicans were fools to leave the format and moderators to the Dems.

        I guess they didn’t realize how partisan the liberal press really is. How dumb is that?
        I don’t think that will happen again.

  9. What do you expect from a party machinery document? Also, what do you expect when the party runs a businessman as its top guy and he gets defeated by a race hustler? Clearly, the people of the United States haven’t felt enough economic pain yet to be interested in a party talking about growing the economy.

    1. You mean a Marxist race hustler.

  10. The phrase “speak out” there says volumes. It stops short of suggesting that the Republicans outlaw such practices, though the report doesn’t hesitate to recommend legislative positions on other issues, such as immigration. Instead this seems to sound like another one where Republicans can “come together” with Democrats, this time to demonize business leaders.

    If Republicans do feel moved to “speak out” on these issues they might observe that one reason corporate executives are receiving bonuses is because, in response to earlier “speaking out” over high executive pay, the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act limited the tax deductibility of executive pay of more than $1 million a http://www.toneweras.com/new-e…..-c-11.html year unless it was “performance-based.” Why is it that middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise? In part because the value of their wages has been eroded by inflation (in a country where the value of the dollar is delegated by the politicians to the Federal Reserve), and in part because the cost of their health insurance, which is part of their compensation, has escalated as the insurers comply with government mandates.

  11. Who gives a shit about the GOP? We’re libertarians. Fuck the Gop

    1. I think this should be more our thinking. I’m fine supporting GOP dissidents undermining the party from the inside like Rand. But the GOP is not the Libertarian Party, they may pander to us or seemingly be in line with us.. But they do not share our ethical principles. Don’t be fooled, been there, done that, it’s a waste of time.

    2. And I’m sure the Libertarian Party will field a strong candidate in the next election…. Not!

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  13. “”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.”

    The phrase “speak out” there says volumes. It stops short of suggesting that the Republicans outlaw such practices,”

    We should have legislation to prevent private companies from being able to freely decide how to spend money? We need government to help out with that kind of thing now too?

    Granted its a bad idea from a PR perspective. It might not even have great value for shareholders, if the company has shareholders, but trying to legislate how private companies and people spend their money seems pretty nutty to me.

    1. Obama has already done this to a few companies. Or did you forget?

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  15. Why can’t the moderators do something about the spam comments this site gets? Is it some staff members relative?

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