It’s a very long and detailed read, the type of tome you would expect from a man who at times in his life has been a politician, strategist, novelist, and educator. But Newt Gingrich brings up a lot of valid questions and suggestions in the wake of the 2012 election, a balloting where he admitted:
I was so shaken by how wrong I was in projecting a Republican win on election night that I have personally set aside time at Gingrich Productions to spend the next six months with our team methodically examining where we are and what we must do.
Not only is this a matter of studying where we went wrong, says Newt, but it’s also time to reflect on what Barack Obama did right. After all, he won re-election in the midst of an underperforming economy and haphazard foreign policy decision making – yet he used those resources and advantages he had to secure victory. Gingrich goes on to point out that Republicans have failed to gain a majority in five of the last six Presidential elections and the 2004 Bush re-election was among the closest on record. Since the 2004 balloting was close enough to be within most pollsters’ margin of error, maybe Bob Shrum wasn’t really jumping the gun when he famously asked John Kerry if he could be the first to call him “Mr. President.” It could have been the exit polls were simply on the flip side of the error margin.
Newt would like to see the RNC’s Growth and Opportunity Project address these and many other questions, including disadvantages in technology, a failure to reach out to minority voters despite the fact we have a number of very attractive political positions to most average Americans regardless of color, and efforts at issue development in general so we can stay on offense.
Needless to say I don’t have the same resume as Newt Gingrich, but while he makes a number of outstanding points there is room to add a few more. Newt says that regaining California should be a litmus test of sorts for determining how effective the Growth and Opportunity Project would be, but I would argue that a large part of California is already Republican. It’s a state where the Congressional delegation is 38-15 Democratic, not 7-1 like Maryland has. It would be more cost-effective to the GOP to use Maryland as a test case because it’s a smaller state with few Republican leaders statewide. (The only states with worse D/R ratios are ones with no GOP representatives: Connecticut has five, Delaware has one, Hawaii two, Maine two, Massachusetts nine, New Hampshire two, Rhode Island two, and Vermont one. Aside from Massachusetts, which has elected Republicans statewide a few times in the last decade, Maryland is the worst case.) We also can see from recent election results that the population needs further education on upholding the rule of law and traditional morality.
Moreover, I have also been on the messaging bandwagon, particularly in the respect of using data compiled to finetune it to the intended audience. But one other thing which needs to be investigated is the impact of high-dollar donors like George Soros and Peter Lewis on the alternative media. I’ve heard the rumors about the bloggers being paid by leftwing organizations, so let’s find out if they’re really true. If so, the GOP should be encouraging conservative donors to be making similar efforts; maybe that would do more good than using the same consultants and expecting different results.
There is a lot of work for conservatives to do in Maryland as well as nationally. There’s no question that we believe we have the right solutions, since over time pro-liberty policies have led to prosperity and freedom while consolidation of power simply leads to tyranny and squalor for all but a privileged few. We lost this election, but all that means is we have to survive as best we can for two years, point out all the instances where the other side overreaches – which is like shooting fish in a barrel – and find the candidates and message for success next time around. It can be done, since we have right on our side.
Maybe Newt needs to come back and check out our zoo again.