Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appeared on CBS’ This Morning to do what everyone else is doing — providing a post-mortem on what happened Tuesday, as well as a look forward into the GOP’s future. Rice also gave some insight into Syria, China, and spent quite a bit of time talking about what we need to find out about the terrorist attack on Benghazi:
National Journal picks up the thread of Rice’s arguments on demographics:
Rice said on CBS’s This Morning that many key GOP issues are broadly popular – fiscal responsibility and a strong national defense, for instance – but the Party is losing “important segments of the electorate” because it has not adjusted to changing demographics.
“The changing demographics in the country really necessitates an even bigger tent for the Republican Party,” Rice said. “What we have to do is appeal to those people not as identity groups, but understanding that if you can get the identity issue out of the way then you can appeal on the broader issues that all Americans share concerns for.”
Some have argued that this is a call for the GOP to pander on identity, but I agree with Ben Howe:
Too often people confuse outreach with pandering.
— Ben Howe (@BenHowe) November 9, 2012
You cannot expect people to join your party without making an argument about how their policies and philosophy will make their lives better. And that cannot be done from 30,000 feet, either. We do very well explaining about how we are the party of liberty and individual empowerment, but what does that mean in the neighborhoods of urban areas with high unemployment and poor government services? What policies specific policies have we offered on the ground that will positively impact the lives of those voters who went 70% or more to the Democrats?
That doesn’t mean adopting the Democratic platform. It means putting conservative principles into concrete policy that acts locally as well as nationally. We may have scoffed at the Main Street/Wall Street rhetoric of the Occupy Movement and Barack Obama, and we may oppose the “free stuff” policies that rhetoric services, but we can’t win these votes by simply decrying class warfare. Tuesday proved that much.
Rice also talked about Benghazi, and had some interesting insight into what specifically we should probe. She’s less concerned about the “shifting stories” the White House produced in the first two weeks, having been the customer of some shifting intel data herself during crises. Rice says we need answers on why the Obama administration apparently ignored months of warnings about security in Benghazi, and especially why the White House didn’t respond during the attack itself.