In the opening sequence of the musical 1776, John Adams, played by William Daniel, laments the worthlessness of the Continential Congress. McNair, the custodian of the Congress, fetches Adams, telling him that his colleagues are about to decide an important issue — “whether or not the Rhode Island militia be required to wear matching uniforms.” Adams replies, “Oh, good God.”
Upset by the lack of a will to pass a declaration of independency from England, he walks into chambers at Independence Hall in Philiadelphia, saying, “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace; that two are called a law firm, and that three or more become a Congress!”
That’s pretty much how I feel about the Republican National Committee after reading this story from Politico about the RNC’s newly launched review committee, which is supposed to determine what exactly went wrong in 2012:
The Republican National Committee is rolling out a plan to review what worked and what didn’t for the party in the 2012 cycle, appointing five people at the top of a committee that will make recommendations on things like demographics, messaging and fundraising.
The Growth and Opportunity Project is going to be chaired by RNC committee member Henry Barbour, longtime Jeb Bush adviser and political operative Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall. Priebus, who is running for a second term, is holding a call with committee members to roll out the plan this afternoon.
The plan is to focus on: campaign mechanics, fundraising, demographics, messaging, outside groups, campaign finance, the national primary process and, last but not least, what the successful Democratic efforts revealed about the way forward, and recommend plans for the way forward, sources familiar with the plan said.
Republicans lost because they live inside a bubble, as David Boaz explained shortly after the election. “The conservative echo chamber apparently convinced them that Romney was winning the election,” wrote Boaz, adding, “Romney himself is reported to have been ‘shell-shocked’ by his loss. I wasn’t, because I’d been reading the polls, including the swing-state polls.” From his perspective, Republicans should “start looking at a broader range of media” to avoid this problem in the future.
The fact is that, as I explained last week, voters increasingly disagree with stereotypical Republican views on social issues. The Los Angeles Times noted that voters agree with Republicans on the role of government, but that the country had taken a turn toward personal liberty.
Republicans would do well to take that message to heart. However, they will continue to experience problems going forward if they refuse to evolve, which is why this “civil war” inside the GOP is so intriguing. They don’t need a committee to figure that out, unless, of course, Republicans are trying to build up the bubble once again.