Like most of you, I take my Republican-issued declarations with large doses of honey and over-the-counter stomach-settlers. So when Reince Priebus, or Prince Rebus as I like to think of him, the Chair of the Republican Party, started issuing declarations about how the GOP needed to change, I naturally expected a bowl of mush.
Prince was presenting the findings of his 97-page Growth and Opportunity Project Report to a breakfast meeting of assembled Republican leaders, men and women with gray hair, aged bodies, and calcified opinions.
First, the voices from the study rose up to describe how the general population views "the Republican Party today." Those voices loudly called out, "Scary", "Narrow minded" and "out of touch," essentially calling it a party of "stuffy old men."
To that, I would only add the word "white" as in "stuffy old white men."
But there was poor Prince Rebus, this morning's star bearer of bad news, telling his bosses they were so unpopular they needed to stay indoors and away from the windows. And then he offered each of them a tall beaker of hemlock, that poisonous brew said to have killed Socrates, when he went on to explain what the new Republican Party would now stand for.
"First," Prince declared, defining the way forward for Republicans, "we must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform." As if such heresy felt lonely sitting out there by itself, he continued, "Republicans today have to start speaking up for the little guy; it's time we were the ones blowing the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attacking corporate welfare."
As blue-haired matrons and patrons of the party went faint, Prince ignored their wounded cries of protest, the shouts of pain -- shouts of "Never!", "No!" and "Say it ain't so!" -- from the gathered party members. Into that wall of growing agitation and protest, Prince continued, "We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years."
"For the G.O.P. to appeal to younger voters," Prince continued, "we do not have to agree on every issue, but we do need to make sure young people do not see the party as totally intolerant of alternative points of view."
Even though everyone at the breakfast knew in their heart of hearts the party was, indeed, totally and irrevocably intolerant of alternative points of view!
Also, in the hope of attracting younger voters, Prince called for an "RNC Celebrity Task Force" to host star-studded events and fundraisers. Clint Eastwood and Pat Boone were two of the first youth-oriented celebrities who came to mind.
In pushing for more openness and acceptance within the party, Prince pushed his breakfast audience, "C'mon, guys, can we lighten up a bit? Can we stop bashing the gays for once. And stop doling out invasive ultrasounds as pre-abortion punishment? And no more thumping the bible -- or the Constitution, please!" (Well, he didn't really say that, but it would have been delightful if he had!)
In an interview with Bob Schiefer on this same subject, Prince Rebus admitted the GOP did a "lousy job" of marketing itself. Adding, "This is no short term view... If we don't start now, we're not going to have anymore success in four years, eight years, or twelve years."
Now, about those four years, eight years, or twelve years...
Here are a few questions I wish Bob Shieffer (perhaps channeling the spirit of Mike Wallace) had asked Prince, starting with... "What gives you the right to survive as a national political party for those four, eight or twelve years? Shouldn't your survival depend on earning the support of a significant segment of the population?"
And once Bob got started in that vein, he could have gone on to ask, "Why should learning to better market your ideas change anything? If you're still pushing unpopular or antiquated ideas, you will remain unpopular. Then, the only way you can win elections would be to nominate stealth candidates who pretend to espouse popular viewpoints, but then renege on those positions once winning office. Sort of like Mitt Romney aspired to do in his long term etch-a-sketch evolution from Conservative Republican to Moderate Republican and back to Conservative at the end. Is that the new model? Keeping the lid closed tightly on zealots like Todd Akin or Chrstine O'Donnell?"
Then I would have liked Bob to sum it all up, "Prince, can you face up to the fact America has moved beyond -- far beyond! -- today's Republican Party? Even if the party has managed to gerrymander enough districts to stay in a crippled position of power. America doesn't want a Republican Party that disavows everything it believes in -- tax fairness, women having the freedom to choose what happens to their bodies, gays having the freedom to marry, economic fairness, a generous government that supports, assists and protects its most vulnerable citizens, a government committed to furthering human rights here and abroad."
And here's what I would like to say to Prince once everything else failed to get through, "Face it Prince," I would admonish him, "The Republican Party is a gang of angry, embittered, mostly white and usually wealthy people trying to hold onto their power and their wealth in a country turning less white, more impoverished and more heterogeneous by the day. The first mission of the Republican Party today is to protect the wealth and privileges of the few, to promote a strict almost fundamentalist view of the Constitution, and to cripple the ability of the government to advocate for those less fortunate on the economic ladder.
Those are the Republican views and policies Prince needs to rewire if the Republican Party wishes to survive as a serious political entity in America.
But rather than working to change the Party's toxic policies or principles, Prince announced instead a $10 million dollar outreach program to promote the GOP brand in local communities.
Anyone familiar with the Republican image in those communities knows it will require a lot more than $10 million dollars to resuscitate that particular brand.
But first you have to get rid of the awful smell.