A People’s History of the Republican Comeback
It’s gotten difficult to tell apart all of the Hari Seldon-ish organizations devoted to engineering a Republican/conservative comeback. Here’s a bluffer’s guide.
Rebuild the Party
Announced: November 7, 2008
Mission: “Set in motion the changes needed to rebuild our party from the grassroots up, modernize the way we run campaigns, and attract different, energetic, and younger candidates at all levels.”
Progress: Got all six candidates for Republican National Committee chairman to sign on to its agenda. Launched an interactive site where members could propose, and vote for, an agenda for the next chairman; the site was swiftly taken over by Ron Paul and Fair Tax supports. Heavily pushed volunteering and donating to Jim Tedisco’s unsuccessful campaign to win NY-20.
Status: Active, but much less prominent since the New York election was held on March 31.
The Center for Republican Renewal
Announced: December 16, 2008
Mission: A think tank inside the Republican National Committee charged with “identifying the most innovative ideas and policies from across the nation.”
Progress: Hired some staff in run-up to the RNC chairman’s race.
Status: Disbanded by new RNC chairman Michael Steele on February 6, 2009.
Young Conservatives Coalition
Announced: February 27, 2009
Mission: “To implement a new conservative agenda for the 21st century” and “allow young conservative activists the opportunity to communicate and network with each other, while fostering an environment for sharing resources and strategic coordination to counter the rising young, progressive left.”
Progress: Launched and held a “brainstorming session” at the Conservative Political Action Conference, followed by “Reaganpalooza,” a massive party and “young professional networking event.” Held a “Earth Day Beach Party” outside of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The Tea Party movement
Announced: February 27, 2009
Mission: Hard to define, but the gist is to protest government overspending.
Progress: Held hundreds of anti-spending, anti-tax “Tea Parties,” heavily promoted by Fox News, on April 15, 2009. Survived some post-Tea Party infighting.
Status: Active, although activity since Tea Party day has largely consisted of protesting a CNN reporter who asked rude questions at the Chicago event and demanding a meeting with President Obama.
Renewing American Leadership
Announced: March 20, 2009
Mission: Unite social and economic conservatives to survive a “crisis in which the secular state, if allowed, will fundamentally and radically change America against the wishes of most Americans,” according to founder Newt Gingrich.
Progress: Web site still under construction.
Status: At the moment, not much more than a promotional vehicle for Gingrich’s upcoming documentary about Pope John Paul II.
Announced: April 28, 2009
Mission: “Promote market-oriented policies, lower taxes and economic growth, and strong national security policies. It will help policy makers, think tanks, interest groups and others advocate for policies that are consistent with conservative principles, and oppose policies that stifle job creation, weaken national security and undermine values that have made America a great country.”
Progress: Released a poll that, they argued, proved that independents were siding with the Republican message. Battled with pollster Stan Greenberg after he argued that the poll was badly sampled and off base.
Status: Still active.
The National Council for a New America
Announced: April 30, 2009
Mission: Bring together Republican leaders to “engage with and empower the American people to develop innovative solutions that meet the serious challenges confronting our country.”
Progress: Held its first event, a pizza lunch with Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney, in Arlington. Spent a week defending this from accusations of pandering lobbed by the likes of Rush Limbaugh.
Status: Planning at least four future events across the country.