Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus has sympathy for those who find his name difficult to spell or pronounce. ???My name???s what happens when a Greek marries a German,??? he joked.
His job is what happens when fifty state party organizations marry a presidential campaign. Priebus has been widely hailed for his success in restoring the RNC???s financial strength. The marketing and fund-raising machine he fine-tuned will now be put to the test, as it participates in both a national effort to win the White House, and countless fierce struggles in hotly-contested House districts and Senate races. He???s well aware of the tension between local organizations and the national party apparatus, as well as between movement conservatives and the Republican Party.
Priebus expressed his management philosophy to the RedState Gathering in Jacksonville, Florida on Friday. ???The Republican Party is not in conflict with the conservative movement. We???re part of the movement,??? he explained, fully aware that not everyone in his audience was prepared to reflexively agree.
But the RNC chair emphasized that cooperation between every wing of the movement, and every element of the Republican Party, would be necessary to prevail in November. ???You can???t agree on every issue, and states put their own coalitions together,??? he said in response to a question about union influence upon the Pennsylvania Republican Party.
Given the magnitude of the choice facing America, he felt this was a moment when unity of purpose should not be difficult to find. ???We have a battle for freedom on our hands,??? he asserted. ???A country that has to surrender its sovereignty to its bondholders can???t guarantee prosperity or freedom for anybody. A country that will bury its kids, and its grandkids, under an avalanche of debt can???t rest on any vestige of the moral high ground.???
The RNC???s focus on the presidential elections was clear from Priebus??? remarks. ???We need to hire Mitt Romney, fire Barack Obama, and save America,??? he declared.
Of the incumbent President, Priebus said ???Barack Obama???s priorities are not America???s priorities. This is a President who would rather bow to foreign leaders than stand up for America???s greatness; a President who would rather trash the Constitution than preserve our rights. We serve the principles of Washington, Reagan, and Lincoln. Obama serves the demands of union bosses, elitist bureaucrats, and central planners. We believe in the philosophies of our Founding Fathers. He believes in one man???s philosophy: the philosophy of Barack Obama.???
Priebus went on to sum up Obama???s beliefs in one word: ???Solyndra.???
He noted that many pundits predicted the big Republican victories in 2010 would move Obama to the center. That obviously didn???t happen. ???This is a President who would trade the American Dream for a European nightmare,??? said Priebus. ???Collectivism will replace individualism, government agencies will replace free enterprise, and the dreams of Obama will replace the vision of our Founding Fathers.???
He explained the importance of the RNC???s fundraising apparatus to the Romney campaign at some length, but went on to note the importance of local and Senate races as well. Clearly it would be difficult to take the Senate and win vital House races without winning the White House, but by the same token, a presidential victory at the expense of those local races would hinder Republicans??? ability to take the vital steps necessary to restore our economy and avert a government spending meltdown.
Priebus emphasized the importance of fielding the right sort of candidate for all of these races. ???What people in America are starving for is real people, who want to serve this country with patriotism in their heart,??? he said. He wants ???people of their word to run for office, and govern as they campaigned.???
Asked for his opinion on the recent agreement between House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to fund the government with yet another continuing budget resolution, to avoid a budget crisis during the election season, Priebus allowed that he finds the endless string of continuing resolutions to be ???insanity,??? but sympathized with the difficult position Boehner finds himself in. ???Putting Obama in position to shut down the government is not a good idea,??? he warned.
Above all, Priebus is very forward-looking, with little appetite for rehashing old intra-party battles, or criticism of his predecessors. ???You can???t fix the past,??? he said, ???but you can try to make sure you never get there again.??? A nation working to escape from beneath the dead hand of the past four years would do well to adopt his attitude.