Posts Tagged ‘2016 National Election’

“Closed for Repairs”

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Sage advice was offered to Republicans by former presidential candidate and Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole over the weekend.  “I think they ought to put a sign on the National Committee doors that says closed for repairs until New Year’s Day next year and spend that time going over ideas and positive agenda.”

A recipe to address the current bad state of needed repairs may be the one used after the 1964 defeat of Barry Goldwater then.  The Party was even more divided by ideological bickering – and a fix was needed.

The big names in the GOP were able to agree on the Party’s senior state chairman Ray Bliss to run the Republican National Committee.  He was known for his “nuts and bolts” approach to politics.

As luck would have it after Nixon’s presidential defeat in 1960 Bliss was asked by national chairman Senator Thruston Morton to conduct a survey of Republican organizations in the big cities and metropolitan areas where Nixon lost.  The Bliss Big City Task Force findings came down to one word – “Pitiful.”  That came in handy.

As Bliss took over in 1965 he already knew the sad state of affairs.  His initial efforts to repair the 1964 damage were not glamorous.  He held workshops with state chairman, county chairs, small, big and suburban chairman across the country.  It was reported twenty thousand party workers participated (including the writer) in the seminars.

The message was “nuts & bolts”:  recruit qualified candidates; put programs in place that are meaningful to the constituency; strengthen the women’s organizations; reach out to a larger financial base; look for young voters; open conversations with the educational community; leave no one unregistered; establish doable vote quotas and insist that precinct captains meet them; and do not work independently of elected Republicans.

These same efforts are mandatory now if there is not to be a repeat of 2008 and 2012.   The GOP Growth & Opportunity Project outlined many worthwhile ideas.  However, the Bliss approach of workshops, seminars and bringing the party workers together at the local level may need to be repeated 48 years later.

After an election like 1964 where GOP leaders in state after state did not agree with the platform – something needed done even though Bliss found dealing with issues and ideology difficult.

The answer came from Rep. Melvin Laird the number-two in House minority leadership, chairman of the Republican Conference.  He proposed a Republican Coordinating Committee.  They put out bland position papers but that was expected from such a diverse and large group.  In some cases they moved the Party away from 1964 platform positions.  Since it appears an ideological fight is in the making not unlike 1964 – maybe even worse – such an effort might help bridge the differences until the Party gets a presidential nominee in 2016.

Ray Bliss message was “There are no push button methods for victory…The Republican is out manned, out-organized, out-spent and outworked.  We need more full-time staff people at all levels.  We need more precinct workers.  We need to realize on all levels that politics is a full-time job not a three-month fling.”

Think about it my fellow Republicans.