The Rebranding 2014: Brave New GOP
If anyone asks [and, so far, no one has] I’d have to give the RNC’s rebranding effort aka the Growth and Opportunity Project a solid F+. The plus is for the one thing that was prescribed in that roadmap that Republicans actually seem to be doing something about—creating a 21st century GOTV operation to beef up their heretofore pathetic ground game.
For that particular line item, I’d give them a C because they are still talking about it, have made a few hires and announced that the Republican National Committee is getting out of the political ad business to focus its considerable talents on IT. Judging from their condescending derision of all things healthcare.gov, this should be entertaining.
The Republican National Committee says it is changing its entire approach to campaigns, electing to focus on building the party’s grass roots on a constant basis rather than stockpiling money for TV ads in the months before an election.
But I’ll let Republicans describe their own plan:
“Things have changed. That strategy is both outdated and ineffective,” RNC spokesman Sean Spicer says in a memo released to the media and posted to the RNC’s Web site. “That’s why Chairman [Reince] Priebus has changed the role of the RNC. The lesson from 2012 is we must have a permanent ground game. We must engage with voters year-round in their communities, especially in Hispanic, African American and Asian Pacific communities.”
We’re investing in people. By this past summer, we already had more people in the field than in headquarters. Today, we have hundreds of people already hired across the country, working alongside state parties to build a bottom-up boots on the ground operation. These individuals will work block by block, neighborhood by neighborhood to identify new voters and build relationships. They are the eyes and ears on the ground.
We’re also investing in technology. We’re building data and digital operations to help candidates, state parties and Republican organizations share information and work toward our shared goals. Under the guidance of Chief Technology Officer Andy Barkett and Chief Digital Officer Chuck DeFeo, we intend to leapfrog the Democrats in our technological capabilities. As Andy likes to say, it’s as though the RNC is launching a start-up company.
Godspeed, Brave New GOP!
Meanwhile, in the “don’t need to change a thing” department it looks like this cutting edge ground force will be deployed to push the same type of wingnutty social conservatives that have pretty near destroyed the Republican party.
Take Virginia, for example . . . where Democrats have so recently cleaned up in the state elections. If election results are any indicator, one might surmise that Virginia has undergone a moderating move toward the center and, therefore, teh crazy might be something to avoid, going into 2014.
That subtlety is lost, however, on veteran culture warrior, state senator Dick Black. Black is fighting for the nomination to replace retiring moderate Republican representative Frank Wolf in the US House. If the nomination comes down to a convention, rather than a primary, Black could win because the TEA Party has had strong influence, recently, in Virginia nominations.
Dick Black’s pet political hobbyhorses are abortion and gays and, unless the GOP figures out a way to muzzle him, Black is guaranteed to spout some outrageous, horrorshow extremism on the way to a seat in Congress.
Here are a few of Black’s thoughts on homosexuality:
In 2003, Black tried to pass legislation making it illegal to “subsidize sodomy and adultery” by awarding low interest home loans through the Virginia Housing and Development Authority to same-sex couples.
Black introduced legislation, in 2005, to ban gay adoptions in Virginia because, according to Black and his sole expert on the matter, Paul Cameron, “No structure is more unstable than a homosexual relationship.” And “gays and lesbians are more prone to violence, alcoholism, and suicide and 34% more likely than straight couples to sexually abuse their own children, furthermore “gays die younger, most around age 50” which destabilizes their families.
Cameron eventually admitted, under questioning, that his “gay life-span” analysis was based on reading the obituary column of The Washington Blade, a DC gay and lesbian newspaper. Cameron also admitted that he was kicked out of the American Psychological Association on ethics charges in 1983, and that in 1986 the American Sociological Association passed a resolution denying that Cameron was a sociologist and condemning his “consistent misrepresentation of sociological research.”
Black’s anti-gay adoption bill was resoundingly defeated.
In the same year, Black tried to organize a protest at a local high school which was staging a one-act play, written by a student, about a gay high school football player.
In 2010, Black did a luridly sensational interview with a group known as Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (“dedicated to exposing the homosexual activist agenda”) about his objections to repealing DADT given the unspeakable “abuses” that he was allegedly privy to while serving in the military.
I recall one particularly terrible situation, where, this was in basic training, there was a young fellow who went to the showers at night, and there were two homosexuals lurking—they were also basic trainees - and they strangled him with a towel and forced him to submit to, you know, things that we won’t talk about on the air.
But it was extremely brutal, it was extremely humiliating, and they taunted him when they were finished. And at the time of the court martial of these guys, the victim was in psychiatric confinement at a hospital.
Now, this is what we’re asking the mothers and fathers of America to send their children into, is that sort of environment, where sexual bullies will prey on the smallest and least assertive soldiers.
On the other hand, as Mother Jones reports, if it’s heterosexual assault in the military, that’s different:
Black called military rape “as predictable as human nature.” “Think of yourself at 25,” Black told a newspaper in 1996. “Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?”
And that’s just the gay stuff . . . Black has also described abortion as “baby pesticide” and objected to a statue of Abraham Lincoln being erected at a historic Civil War site saying:
“Putting a statue to [Lincoln] there is sort of like putting the Confederate flag at the Lincoln Memorial,” Black told the Washington Post, adding that the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC ought to be enough.
And finally, there’s the one about objecting to make spousal rape a crime because . . . who’d believe it?
“when they’re living together, sleeping in the same bed, she’s in a nightie, and so forth.”
So. I’m not a Republican but I thought I sort of “got” what they were shooting for, and why, back in the Spring when it sounded like they were serious about choosing better quality candidates for national office.
Well, this ain’t it, is it, Reince?
On the other hand, [glass half-full] Go, Dick! we could use a few more Democrats in Virginia . . .