Steve Scheffler Republican National Committeeman for Iowa
March 22, 2013
REFLECTION ON RNC’S GROWTH & OPPORTUNITY PROJECT
Greetings to all my Republican friends in all 99 counties! As you probably have seen by now, the Republican National Committee’s Growth & Opportunity Project was unveiled by Chairman Reince Priebus on Monday, March 18th. I have mixed reviews on the findings of the report.
First, I commend Chairman Priebus for having the vision and insight to put together this committee. It became evident from the results of the 2012 election cycle, that we as a party and a conservative movement had lost our footing. Number 1–Our message was muddled and mushy and we didn’t give voters a compelling reason to vote for our candidates. When we try to be Democrat-Light, we lose! Number 2–We were not up to speed in matching the Democrat’s phenomenal high tech methods in terms of identifying their voters and then turning them out at the polls. This report addresses many of the methods by which we can match the Democrats on all these levels.
Second, I am encouraged by the findings that the four carve out states (Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Nevada) should retain their early caucus/primary statuses.
Third, I am troubled by many items in the report. The notion that we have to “tone down” our message so that we won’t offend certain voting blocks is a path to political suicide! I am quite troubled by the tone in the report that says that as a party we should embrace so-called Immigration Reform (many times this is a buzz word for amnesty). In addition, I am not happy with the part that says that we must employ more outreach to the homosexual community. Yes, we should welcome any who will vote for our candidates, but to insinuate that we should embrace this constituency group is another path to political suicide!
It is quite disturbing to see some prominent Republicans–from Ken Mehlman to Sen. Rob Portman embrace same-sex marriage. It is equally distributing to see several Republican activists here in Iowa embrace this destructive lifestyle. We must not allow these Republicans to change our party platforms. No–it is not about marriage equity, as they call it–but it is the embracement of a lifestyle that will surely be the beginning of the end of not only our Party, but of our Republic. Yes, the message delivery by some of our candidates was bad, but the values and positions in our platform are winning issues. We must not allow the Establishment kid us into thinking that we need to move to the Left!
Fourth, the report encourages states to move away from precinct caucuses and move to primaries. This is a little troubling because I think it hints at the fact that the “powers that be” don’t want grassroots involvement. I strongly believe that states should be given the autonomy to decide for themselves their precinct or primary to convention process for themselves. I strongly support retaining our caucuses. The caucuses are a wonderful party-building mechanism by which county parties can garner all the information of caucus attendees so that they can then get them involved in the party structure and working for candidates.
Fifth, I have some mixed feelings on shortening our presidential nominating process. The report calls for putting the national convention into June or July. The argument for this is so that our nominee will have the ability to spend general election funds (so the nominee won’t have to wait until he or she is the official candidate at the conclusion of the convention).
On the other hand, retaining the process that we used in 2012, allows those candidates with less money, the ability to get their message out and to potentially wind up with the nomination. I am leaning toward retaining what we had in 2012 because that involves the grassroots much more than having a candidate or two spending huge amounts of money to drown out the message of other candidates.
I have not had time to reflect totally on this report since it is quite a lengthy document. I will give you another update after I have returned from the Spring RNC meeting to be held April 10-13th.
Also, as the Iowa member of the Rules Committee, we will be looking at rules 1-11 and 13-25. As you know Ben Ginsberg and his allies created a lot of chaos at the national convention rules committee. I am committed to fighting with our allies who want to see a bottom up RNC–not the top down one that Ginsberg wants. I will be fighting to get back to the rules that the RNC passed. Again, I will give you a report on this when I return from the Spring Meeting.
I would love to have your input.
I appreciate all that you do for our country, our party, our candidates, and the conservative movement!
Your Republican National Committeeman