In politics, if you want to win elections, it helps not to say dumb things:
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus on Friday said the party played into a “caricature” of itself in the 2012 election cycle, citing “idiotic statements” and “biologically stupid things” said by Mitt Romney and other GOP candidates.
Priebus didn’t specifically criticize Romney, but he cited the 2012 GOP presidential candidate’s comment that illegal immigrants should self-deport in saying Republicans needed to be more careful in what they said if they hope to defeat Democrats in elections.
“It’s not necessarily what you say but how you say it,” Priebus told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “If you go around and you say a lot of biologically stupid things and you poison the well and you create a caricature or you allow a caricature to become reality, you’re not going to win an election.”
Priebus also said GOP outreach efforts haven’t been sufficient enough to overcome the “unscripted” moments of a campaign.
“You come into a presidential election with a massive turnout, a lot of idiotic things said, and you’ve got a party that hasn’t been deep enough in the communities on a permanent basis,” he continued. “So you can’t really play the game of defense when something is said, because if your relationships aren’t authentic enough in those communities you can’t control the damage of an unscripted moment like self-deportation, or something like that.”
Revolutionary thoughts, I know, but I think that we ought to pay attention to them.
Speaking of Priebus, and speaking specifically of the Republican National Committee report that informed anyone not living in a cave that the GOP has an image problem, this story tells us that there are social conservatives who worry that the RNC’s findings and recommendations augur less of a role for them in the GOP. There are indeed conservatives who worry about this possibility, but once you get past the headline, you find that there also are conservatives who welcome the RNC report and aren’t the least bit threatened by it:
“My first response on reading the report was, ‘It’s about time,’ ” said Richard Land, longtime president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission within the Southern Baptist Convention. He said the greater risk to the party would be a refusal to embrace a comprehensive immigration overhaul and to continue to lose support among Hispanics.
“I see no sign that anyone is trying to read social conservatives and tea partiers out of the party,” he said.
For my part, I certainly think that it’s healthier for social conservatives to realize that reforming the GOP is far better than allowing it—and the conservative movement, which (like it or not) is closely tied to the GOP—to be marginalized out of the mainstream of the American political debate.