Priebus launches $10M outreach program, calls for earlier conventions

posted at 11:21 am on March 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

After losing three out of the last four national elections and watching Democrats expand their edge on the demographic curve, the Republican Party has decided to start committing serious resources to making itself part of communities long surrendered to their opposition.  On CBS’ Face the Nation yesterday, RNC chair Reince Priebus told Bob Schieffer that the GOP has become the party that “parachutes into communities four months before an election” while Democrats have made themselves “authentic” members of those communities.  In response, Priebus announced a $10 million program to start establishing authenticity for Republicans as well:

“We’re going to be announcing a $10 million initiative just this year and it will include hundreds of people, paid across the country, from coast-to-coast, in Hispanic and African-American, Asian communities, talking about our party, talking about our brand, talking about what we believe in,” said Priebus.

Priebus said the workers would be “part of the community on an ongoing basis, paid for by the Republican National Committee to make the case for our party and our candidates.”

The chairman said the party could no longer try to reach out to minority voters only months before an election.

“We have become a party that parachutes into communities four months before an election,” said Priebus. “In comparison to the other side, the Obama campaign lived in these communities for years. The relationships were deep, they were authentic.”

I wrote about this issue after the election and the dismal results of the GOP among non-white voters, many of whom live in urban centers long ceded to Democrats.  J.C. Watts made the same point before the election.  Republicans cannot just walk into those communities as outsiders a couple of months before an election, talk about free markets and liberty from a 30,000-foot level, and expect anyone to pay attention.  The GOP has to be part of those communities and offering policies that address the problems of people in those communities if they expect to win votes there — and they probably have at least a decade’s worth of work just to establish a baseline of credibility and authenticity before results will be seen from the effort.

Priebus also revealed that the RNC would look into reforming its presidential primary process, from the intraparty debates to the scheduling of the convention. The latter is especially a sore point after the primary battle left Mitt Romney unable to spend money in the summer, which gave Barack Obama’s presidential campaign the field to itself all summer long to attack Romney.  Priebus wants to put an end to that disadvantage:

“One of the reasons why Mitt Romney was a sitting duck for two months over the summer is under the campaign finance law he couldn’t use money he had already raised until after he received nomination for president in August. I believe that our primary process is way too long. I think our calendar needs to be looked at. I think our debate calendar needs to be shrunk. I think we had way too many debates with our candidates slicing and dicing each other and I think they had to wait too long to get to the convention,” Priebus said.

The GOP chairman told Schieffer the 2012 Republican primary process “hurt” the party and its nominee.

“It hurt because there was no way to control it,” Priebus said. “I mean if you have 10 candidates and nine out of 10 raise their hand and say I’m going to any two hour block offered, well then you have a debate every three days and you’re the only show in town. So while we were playing footsie debating each other 23 times what was the other side doing? They were spending potentially hundreds of millions of dollars on data, technology, voter outreach. They were actually getting the job done.”

To fix the problem, Priebus said he wouldn’t have debates start until the fall of the year before the election.

“I would do one a month, this is me talking now. I would do one a month. I would have more say over the moderators, more say over the debate partners. I would limit the debate to a reasonable amount. I don’t know, maybe 7 or 8, but not 23, Bob,” said Priebus, adding: “That’s ridiculous.”

Conventions used to be held more in mid-summer, but have more recently moved toward the end of August.  Ostensibly, this was to have the summer to raise funds and keep a lower profile, but that’s clearly not the environment in which we’re working any longer.  However, while Romney obviously operated at a disadvantage last year, it’s not clear that would be the case with convention scheduling in 2016.  Both parties will have wide-open primaries, and the eventual nominee will have to spend most of their primary cash to fend off their colleagues. The risk of an earlier convention is message and volunteer burn-out during the general election — not to mention donor exhaustion.  (Of course, if we get rid of the artificial structures of campaign-finance reform in favor of immediate transparency, convention scheduling wouldn’t matter at all.)

Priebus is right about the debates, but his own explanation shows how difficult it will be to control that environment.  The problem isn’t the party, it’s the candidates, and especially those looking to overcome a perceived recognition deficit (and real fundraising deficits).  Second-tier primary hopefuls will volunteer for any TV air time they can get in the hope of raising their profile, and they’re not going to be particular about “debate partners” and moderators, either.  How will the RNC enforce discipline on that process, given that some of the likely 2016 candidates — Rand Paul, for instance — will run explicitly as anti-GOP-establishment leaders?  Pointing to George Stephanopoulos’ launch of the Team Obama war-on-wimmenses strategy will probably not convince these candidates to take their marching orders from Republican HQ, although it should be an object lesson proving Priebus’ point.

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Ahh yes, we lost two straight elections because we nominated a couple of “TrueCons”, lol

xblade on March 18, 2013 at 1:57 PM

Yeah I don’t get that either. We frickin elected the Governor of the first state to recognize gay marriage. He still didn’t win.

Read Rob Portman’s twitter feed. Did the gay community embrace him after his conversion. Heck, no. He had an R on the back of his name. They villified him for waiting until he had a gay son.

We are the fricking Civil Rights party but we can’t even get the black vote. Until we learn to fight the Dems and NOT BECOME the Dems we will continue losing. Becoming the Dems is not going to work. Everytime we move left, they will move the bar even more left. We have to learn to fight or we continue to lose. Is this so hard to understand?

melle1228 on March 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

The conventions need to be earlier. I’ll agree that burnout may be a problem but one reason Romney lost was b/c he couldn’t refute the false attacks. By the time September rolled around, the attacks had done their damage – minds were set and recovery was difficult.

The Rs have to look at the big picture. We are the party of independent thinking and ideas (yes, we are) but we spend far too much time fighting each other. Thus, another reason to tighten up the debate schedule. Our internal fighting gives fodder to the Dems. The Dems will argue internally but with the press ignoring their behavior, their name calling, their differences and a lemming mindset that results in agreeing totally in public, Rs need to change their strategy.

We know what to fix and how to fix it (ok, we don’t always do it but ) and losing 3-4 months b/c of a convention schedule is foolish.

I know Reince can’t control everything and I wouldn’t want him to do so but getting the ideas out there to all groups of the R party will start more debates and we’ll go from there.

MN J on March 18, 2013 at 2:18 PM


Obama’s is the authenticity of a cynical community organizer who manipulates Alinsky-style by convincing the tools that his agenda is their agenda.

There is only one way to be authentic. Understand your principles and why they are better for people.

Then speak from the heart to people, not down at them.

Do those things consistently and authenticity will take care of itself.

novaculus on March 18, 2013 at 2:26 PM

How about using that $10 million to buy some funny language newspapers. You know what I am talking about, those foreign language newspapers you always find in the foyer of your favorite ethnic restaurant.

Those rags are all commie lib BS. So, if you’re a FOB hmong working in a restaurant, your only source of US political news comes from that thing and it’s all Obama loving.

We don’t need to be the free stuff army, part II. We need to actually explain that we have ideas and we’re not just a bunch of ignorant hill billies (IHB). I mean, I love IHB’s and they get a bad rap but if the donks put on airs and tell new, replacement Americans that the GOP is only for white IHB’s, and we don’t counter it, then yeah, FOB’s will buy it and we will lose as the donk’s drive FOB’s from polling place to polling place and have them fill out multiple absentee voter forms.

But we cannot out left the libs because there is nothing they won’t give away to get a vote.

joeindc44 on March 18, 2013 at 2:27 PM

there is nothing they won’t give away to get a vote.

Being in the GOP means that there’s always a stopping point for what we will do for a vote. The donkeys would melt down the statue of liberty into Fluke diaphragms for gay marriage ceremonies in mosques if they thought that it would get them a couple of senate seats.

joeindc44 on March 18, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I apologize for my earlier comment about cons whining. That was before I read the GOP report, and its awful. Talk about clueless. President Hilary here we come.

Jack_Burton on March 18, 2013 at 2:40 PM

I’m counting midterms and presidential elections. We’ve lost three of the last four elections concerning federal offices.

Ed Morrissey on March 18, 2013 at 12:29 PM

Point well taken. I will not ever consider the loss of the popular vote in 2000 to be a loss, because, hey, it doesn’t count.

thebrokenrattle on March 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Looking through the reviews, CPAC was a bust this year and the GOP consultant class remains clueless. Reince Priebus should’ve been fired like Michael Steele. What are the job performance expectations for that post?

sauldalinsky on March 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM

10m is very expensive lipstick.

LetsBfrank on March 18, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Its a lesson shockingly easy to understand, set aside your personal desires, set aside the way you want others to behave, you have no right to determine what that should be and government has no place or actual authority to regulate the personal lives of Americans.

And at the same time demand dems get out or indoctrinating our young people.

Speakup on March 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

We have to learn to fight or we continue to lose. Is this so hard to understand?

melle1228 on March 18, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Apparently, yes.

rrpjr on March 18, 2013 at 2:45 PM

I don’t know, it’s gonna be hard telling some welfare recipient and/or SSI scammer on Medicaid and foodstamp dole that he/she could be living the life if they vote Republican, pitching alien concepts like personal responsibility, education, self-improvement, strong work ethic and dignity. Very hard. They appear determined to remain a permanent underclass coddled through many generations of Liberal policies. In other words, they are a happy couple living in wedded bliss. Who’s your daddy? You are, you are, oh how I love you. $250 check check for doing nothing. How can life possibly get any better?

But still, you may be able to save some. Try it. Shake up their world view. What’s the worst that can happen? Saying no?

As for why the RNC hasn’t demanded more control of primary/presidential debates and in choosing moderators–wtf have they been waiting for? What an unmotivated lame bunch. As they bring up the proposal, I see them throwing in the towel, bowing unconditionally to the power of these Leftist news organizations “but we needs them and we don’t wanna rile any feathers!”. Just shut up and do it. Stop being such lazy a** p*ssies, already.

RepubChica on March 18, 2013 at 2:47 PM

I did read the whole thing. Gee, it was like the crap that they try to push on boards of directors now about how popular your company/product will be if you will only stand up for diversity, sustainability (eco-agricultrual) green initiatives, and Rainbow coalition.

I would really recommend we read it once and cast most of it aside, except for the organizational ideas.

Some of it is practical and requires spending the money…which was Priebus criticism of Michael Steel. He rode around with the grass roots spending money and got all those congress people -tea partiers- elected but he spent too much. Well, if you want to try something, it costs money. What is practical would be more co ordination and figuring out how to fight democrat get out the vote, the document does site that dems got out non voters, when we were out looking for “likely voters.”

Romney lost by 600,000 votes (electorally) when you add up the electoral states he would have had to win on Nov. 7th. That’s the ground game, getting the Community organizers out. We can’t go after their voters, you need to look around you and figure out who else you are not getting to the polls. I have also suggested that CA 4 million republican voters should vote with their feet to Florida, Virginia, New Mexico, and Colorado for their permanent residence for a start. Romney lost by 70K votes in one state and by 200K votes in Florida. That is almost easier than reinventing the wheel. All those states have lower taxes/no income taxes.

The mention GOP governors, but don’t give them enough attention. I think the future of the republican party is in strengthening the red states. Especially getting the liberals out of your education system to the extent you can, and forcing a pro American curriculum statewide, and forcing minority student to achieve, by not promoting them until they get it and only rewarding low achieving students with electives after they finish basics. MORE TRACKING. Get the kids that always do well onto another track and level the classrooms. Teach American history and civics. Do it now.

And align your state constitution with nature regarding males and females, and nature to define “gender identity” and force new laws on unmarried parents to behave in a like manner to married parents. Especially make unmarried fathers keep the children 50% of the time, pick them up at daycare and feed them. Only give unmarried mothers 50% of the say regarding these children. Make unmarried parents under 21 attend co-parenting class if they cannot get along well enough to be married. We can’t expect different behavior where parenting is concerned, they have been getting a pass. Single is a dating status. It is bad for the children.

Fleuries on March 18, 2013 at 2:58 PM

Priebus foolishly starts out by accepting the false Liberal meme that Republicans are exclusive.

Therefore, everything which follows will necessarily be a failure and a waste of money.

landlines on March 18, 2013 at 3:10 PM

Pardon me if I don’t get all a flutter listening now we should become more like the Democrats.

We lost those elections because we nominated bad candidates.

Pandering and hand outs is what has given the democrats their power base, not “authenticity”. Republicans are not going to garner any more percentage of the votes of those constituencies unless they also pander and give away hand-outs which is exactly what is being proposed with CIR.

We are not going to win until we nominate a candidate our own base will turn out and support.

We will simply lose more of our own base by attempting to steal away the niche groups the Democrats have cultivated over the last five decades.

Winning the fracking ‘hearts and minds’ of the opposition is pointless. It’s an unsuccessful strategy practically every time it’s tried, considering winning those hearts and minds is dependent on giving up on what needs to be done in the country and trying to out gift the Liberals.

catmman on March 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

The GOP sends the cognitively disjointed message that the Left both doesn’t exist and is supreme.

This party is the walking dead.

rrpjr on March 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

And liberals used their lies to say Bush stole two elections, with his corrupt and criminal friends Obama did steal this election, you gerrymandered your favorite moderate candidate, and its Conservatives who’re supposed to line and kiss your a**?

Every RINO one of ya should be run out of town, add insult to injury, that’s how you win elections, next time every Conservative will stay home.

Speakup on March 18, 2013 at 5:05 PM

Priebus launches $10M outreach push for amnesty program.


Basically, consultants will get 70% of that $10 million. The rest will be spent begging Hispanics to vote Republican after we pass amnesty. What a winning strategy, lol. NOT!

xblade on March 18, 2013 at 5:15 PM

We are not going to win until we nominate a candidate our own base will turn out and support.

catmman on March 18, 2013 at 4:32 PM

As long as the Fifth Column Treasonous Media remains firmly entrenched Marxists able to control the thoughts of even Moderate Republicans this will never happen. Every candidate that the GOP nominates with the ability to do that, will be turned into Sarah Palin. Painted by the Fifth Column Treasonous Media as unacceptable ad the 30% or so of the Republican base like Bluegill, who couldn’t form or hold an original thought in their head to save their lives will go out and do exactly what the Fifth Column Treasonous Media tell them to.

SWalker on March 18, 2013 at 5:25 PM

Rush had it right today. Focus groups are believing stuff about Republicans that is not really true. Then guys like Priebus buy into the nonsense.

Jasper61 on March 18, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Mark Levin: All the Bushies!!

bluefox on March 18, 2013 at 6:14 PM

The New Republican Party: All Democrat Lites and worse.

Guess they want more Conservatives to sit home. What idiots!

bluefox on March 18, 2013 at 6:18 PM

“Start establishing authenticity”…?You actually have to have some principles to be authentic.Pandering only leads to suspicion about what you really believe.To be honest I am not sure what the GOP stands for anymore.

redware on March 18, 2013 at 7:12 PM

To be honest I am not sure what the GOP stands for anymore.

redware on March 18, 2013 at 7:12 PM

I think they have adopted the “If you can’t fight them, join them”

bluefox on March 18, 2013 at 7:50 PM

Resist We Much on March 18, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Oh, that’s a good one!!!

I thot they should rename it “The Autopsy Party”, LOL

bluefox on March 18, 2013 at 8:39 PM

…Rinsed Peni$…

KOOLAID2 on March 18, 2013 at 10:23 PM

…Rinsed Peni$…

KOOLAID2 on March 18, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Priebus is on Greta now complaining about too many debates. I thot the RNC was the one that decided the number of debates. Is that correct and if not, who decides?

bluefox on March 18, 2013 at 10:26 PM

This is why the Stoopid Party pays Prince Peibus teh big bucks!

james23 on March 18, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Explain it to me once again, Republicans — SLOWLY:

Why in hell should I vote for your candidates?

Because what I’m seeing thus far is that most Republicans are useless, and the flailing chairman of your party wants to make the party even more useless than it is already. The country is probably going to collapse within my lifetime. What the hell are you clowns going to do about it?

Aitch748 on March 19, 2013 at 9:05 AM

It is an apt description, because the 100-page report has as much chance of reviving the GOP as an autopsy has of reviving a corpse.

“It looks like a system of the establishment, by the establishment, and for the establishment,” said conservative P.R. executive Greg Mueller, a veteran of Pat Buchanan’s campaigns.

The above politico article also lists the “Bushies” that Mark Levin listed last night that is a part of this RNC Committee.
Figures, change for the Big money Candidates and R donors for the “I volunteer my time” Karl Rove.
If the GOP looks like a Dem, talks like a Dem, it probably is a Dem.

bluefox on March 19, 2013 at 11:51 AM