Can This Assortment of Hacks Save the Republican Party?

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 10 2012 2:11 PM

Can This Assortment of Hacks Save the Republican Party?

Burns and Haberman write about a new RNC working group that will figure out why the party lost in 2012, and a series of American Crossroads meetings designed to answer the same question. Members of the first group -- "Henry Barbour, longtime Jeb Bush adviser and political operative Sally Bradshaw, former George W. Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer, Puerto Rico RNC committee member Zori Fonalledas, and South Carolina RNC member Glenn McCall." Among the people pitching Crossroads: Haley Barbour, Ed Gillespie and Karl Rove.

There are basically two camps in the debate over Republican reform. Call them the "Gaffe Camp," which insists that the party can win with better messaging, and the "Policy Camp," which says the party needs to give in on... well, on lots of stuff. The Bush circles -- the ones around Jeb and George W. -- are firmly within the policy camp, and want immigration reform. Gillespie and Rove are in the camp, too. McCall, who's African-American,* isn't outspoken on this, but while he was on the RNC, it approved a resolution in favor of Arizona's immigration law.

UPDATE: Andrew Kaczynski, who's better at finding the lede than I am, notes that Fleischer and the younger Barbour were among the Republicans doubting Obama's poll numbers. Maybe they've learned their lessons? No one feels as burned by defeat as the man who convinced himself that he'd win.

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*Not that this matters, but the GOP reform group only has one white male protestant -- Barbour.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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