The members of the Republican National Committee met last week and not only elected leadership for the next two years but began the process of planning the future of the party for the next four years and beyond, despite the toxic national atmosphere created by some surrogates of President Obama who have declared a "War on Republicans".
Chairman Reince Priebus has stated the theme of the Republican Party as we enter 2013 and beyond is -- Renew. Grow. Win.
Renew our party. Grow our ranks. Win more elections. I agree.
As a Republican and a member of the RNC, I believe we have three options going forward. We could keep talking about our principles the way we always have, but continuing to do it the same old way does not sound like a winning strategy to me.
We could compromise our principles but what good would that do if we resembled watered down Democrats? In states where the GOP tried being DemLight they ultimately lost big. Republicans only gain when they offer real alternatives to Democrat policies. "Me too, but" would not help the Republican Party win and definitely would not help Americans.
Best option - we can stand on our timeless principles and articulate them to the American public using new methods which are relevant to our times and relatable to the majority of the voters.
This is how we will achieve a Republican renewal and continue to grow our party. This is how we will lead the country and win more elections.
As an attendee at the meeting I was impressed by several things. First, the number of new members of the committee. An unprecedented 30% plus new membership and many young faces who bring a decidedly new perspectives. Next, a committee who recognizes the need to look inward and outward at strategy , at tone and at message. Finally, a committee who is determined to look at our past mistakes and find a new way forward. I was happy to see so many Liberty Caucus members , Tea Party members, Black/Hispanic and Asian coalition members actively working alongside so called mainstream Republicans. All are interested in how to achieve victory. Perhaps there is some hope the GOP will be more focused on not only nominating a presidential candidate but electing the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016.
Necessity is the mother of invention. A new Republican Party may be far more open to new partners and will look more like the model that has worked for GOP Governors who now hold 30 state houses across the country plus the territories. Their success has been based on not only announcing their principles but showing statewide voters how their conservative approach to problem solving will help improve the lives and the future of their families.
Republicans will hopefully no longer be focused on red states and blue states through the lens of "battleground" states. Remember as recently as 1988 our Republican presidential candidates won states like California, Illinois, Connecticut and Delaware. Being a blue state should not be a permanent diagnosis . When gubernatorial candidates like Susanna Martinez, Scott Walker , Brian Sandoval , Pat McCrory and Chris Christie win statewide elections just proves no blue state is reliably blue forever. Nor can we take current Red states for granted - the Democrats will try mightily to turn those around.
Republicans also left the meeting with a new understanding of how presidential campaigns are really four year operations. We cannot afford to wait and take our case to all American voters merely in the last six months before the general election. The Republican Party must be committed to investment in training, embedding organizers in communities across the country as well as data mining and voter registration starting now. Internally we must adjust some party rules to take advantage of current techology and other trends.
Over the next four years Republicans will be better. We will offer more opportunity for all Americans . We will be a party more people want to identify with, vote with, and want to join. We will re-connect with many who have left. Yes we WILL acquire an agenda that most Americans can identify with and support. We will be a party that doesn't merely say "no" but says "follow us for a better future."
We will once again be the party America believes in.