After the Republican National Committee released its “autopsy” report highlighting the path forward for the GOP on Monday, conservatives blasted the RNC for proposing changes they feel would blunt the ability of grassroots conservatives to beat establishment candidates at the presidential level.
The report proposes shortening the primary calendar for the next presidential cycle and holding a series of regional primaries that would be a series of “super primaries.” Critics claim it is heavy on process, metrics, and outreach to celebrities and minorities while being short on conservative substance–which, they fear, would ensure more Mitt Romneys are nominated over insurgent Tea Party and grassroots candidates like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Brent Bozell, chairman of ForAmerica, said there was not much that excited him about the report and accused the Republican establishment of being “obsessed with identifying problems and solutions from the top-down instead of from the bottom-up.”
“It’s the exact same thing as (GOP strategist) Karl Rove saying they’re going to pick candidates. That ensures that establishment candidates are the only ones with a chance,” Bozell told The Hill.
Jenny Beth Martin of Tea Party Patriots said the RNC fails to understand that Republicans lost because they “failed to promote our principles,” and the party does not need to wait on the “RNC to promote our winning principles at places like CPAC, and across the country.”
Iowa GOP Chair A.J. Spiker told Politico that the report was an “really an attempt to get rid of what the base of the party wants” and the RNC membership would “object” to that. John Brabender, who had been Rick Santorum’s chief strategist, said he was “troubled” by a system that would “undoubtedly give an advantage to establishment backed candidates and the wealthiest candidates.”
Greg Mueller, formerly a chief adviser to Pat Buchanan, who carried on a 1992 primary challenge of sitting president George H.W. Bush, told Politico the new rules seemed like “a system of the establishment, by the establishment, and for the establishment.”
Davie Bossie, president of the non-profit group Citizens United, said the report was “not a good thing for the party and I definitely don’t think it’s a good thing for the conservative movement.”
Bozell worried the new proposals would nominate more losers–moderates like Bob Dole, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), or Mitt Romney–rather than Republican candidates who run on a conservative message like Ronald Reagan.
“Here is a rule of politics which just does not change, ever: When Republicans distinguish themselves from Democrats, they almost always win, and when they don’t, they almost always lose,” Bozell said.