Far be it from us to defend Republican Party Chair Reince Priebus. But the way some of his fellow travelers on the road to obstruction are talking about him after the GOP’s sound defeat in 2012, we have to speak up. Listen to what they’re saying.
A postelection civil war is brewing among Republicans, with some conservative activists angry over the party’s poor performance this cycle gunning for party Chairman Reince Priebus and planning demonstrations at the Republican National Committee’s annual winter meeting in Charlotte, N.C…What’s wrong with the GOP is clearly not all the fault of Reince Priebus but he might be taking the fall
“Republicans want a change. They have had it with Priebus,” said Mike Karem, a Kentucky GOP strategist who has been involved in Republican presidential campaigns since Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election victory. “We lost the presidency; we lost House seats, Senate seats; we picked up only one governor; and we had 3 million fewer Republicans turn out for Romney and other Republican candidates than turned out in 2008.”
“If [Mr. Priebus] worked for you, would you keep him based on his record?” Mr. Karem added. “The answer is, ‘Hell, no!’”
Ouch. If I were Reince, I’d be breaking out in a cold sweat right about now.
But here’s the part where we land on Priebus’ side. The recent hanging out to dry that Republicans endured was not all Reince’s fault in two ways. First, there was the team of the candidate at the top of the ticket.
Many Republicans, both pro- and anti-Priebus, say the Romney campaign largely took over the RNC’s get-out-the-vote program, leaving Mr. Priebus and his RNC team mostly as sideline observers.
Beyond that, the voices within the GOP who say it’s time to move to a more inclusive, less angry white men only party are still in the minority. Even as one or two or three Republicans make noises about breaking their no taxes pledge for the good of the country, the other 231 are digging in and demanding that the age for Social Security eligibility be raised so that maintenance workers will still be cleaning toilets when they’re on walkers.
Republicans also had a chance to call a truce in their war on women, after a campaign season that focused on forced birth policies including transvaginal probes, “legitimate” vs. “God-given” rape, and women needing only to hold aspirin between their legs for contraception. But instead of beginning to put all that behind them and appoint women to leadership roles in the new Congress, they continue to reserve true power in their party for the white guys.
What’s wrong with the GOP is clearly not all the fault of Reince Priebus, and there is no indication that the party will change course under new leadership.
For better optics, however, the name of political operative Al Cardenas is being bandied about to take over from Priebus. Unlike Sen. Marco Rubio, Cardenas was actually born in Cuba, and Republicans are always comfortable with Latinos who hate Castro. And many Republicans think Hispanic support would be an easier way to expand beyond the whites-only world than other, possibly more foundational means.
We can only say to Republicans, good luck with all that. And to Reince, to whom karma might be catching up, to be honest we never liked you anyway.