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Monday, March 18, 2013

I Haven't Read It Yet, but I'll Tell You Why This Republican Autopsy Is Useless

Posted by Paul Constant on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM

I haven't yet read the full 97-page "autopsy" that the Republican Party released this morning, but it looks like it does touch on some important issues that Republicans are going to have to address if they want to win future elections: Minority outreach, a shorter primary season, better data management. I love this line from the Politico story about the report:

“Asked to describe Republicans, they said that the Party is ‘scary,’ ‘narrow minded,’ and ‘out of touch’ and that we were a Party of ‘stuffy old men,’” it states.

But I think that this paragraph is much more telling:

For instance, there are no references to abortion or Planned Parenthood — or any of the issues that were at the heart of the battle for female voters last year. The report says the GOP lost the “war on women” messaging but doesn’t make clear how the party should be on offense going forward.

For all the talk of inclusiveness, there seems to be a stubbornness about the party, an inability to admit that the policies are the problem. And as much as this report will drive the discussion this week, I don't think it's going to make much of a difference in the party. Note, for instance, that it was released immediately after CPAC. Why wouldn't Republican leadership want this report to be a major topic of discussion at the one event of the year where the most prominent members of the party are in attendance? Because they knew the report would be backed against a wall and ripped to shreds by speech-makers who are eager for an easy applause line.

Speaking as someone who watched every single Republican debate of the 2012 election cycle, I can tell you what effect this report will have on the next Republican presidential debate: Some fringe-y candidate will grunt out some boilerplate like: "I don't care what some market-tested report full of skewed polls tells us about the Republican Party. We don't tailor our values to what the mainstream media wants us to think. We think what we think because we know it's right, and no report is gonna change our minds." Cue hoots and cheers from the audience, cue praise from the right-wing blogosphere, cue the end of this report.

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