Monday’s release of a report on the future of the Republican Party will be seen as a key day in the history of the GOP.
Yet as important as the Growth and Opportunity Project is, it is only a small part of the hard work RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is putting into rebuilding the Republican Party.
Callista and I have known Reince since he was the Wisconsin Republican Party Chairman. When we would visit Callista’s mother in Whitehall, Wisconsin or go to a Packer’s game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, we would do events for Reince. He was a visionary, hard working, enthusiastic and effective party leader.
Much of the groundwork for Scott Walker’s principled victory as a reform Governor, and then his stunning success in the recall fight, was due to the party built by Priebus before the 2010 election.
When Reince became Republican National Committee Chairman, he realized that his first job was to get the party out of debt and rebuild the RNC’s ability to fund a presidential campaign in the general election. He knew that policy would be set by the nominee.
As a candidate, I found Reince to be consistently fair to all the candidates and dedicated to giving any of us a real shot at winning the general election.
When his best efforts and the efforts of the entire Republican team failed on Election Day, he immediately faced reality and began to think about rebuilding the party to make it more competitive.
As a Green Bay fan who grew up in the shadow of Vince Lombardi and passed Lombardi’s statue every time he went to a Packer’s game, Reince knows firsthand the power of leadership.
He ran for reelection as a reform minded champion of a bigger, better, more modern and more inclusive party. He promised that he would take the 2012 defeat seriously and move to grow a much more competitive Republican Party inclusive of all Americans. He also promised to pull no punches and to go after the changes needed — even if they offended some of the party???s power structure.
The release of the Growth and Opportunity Project report Monday certainly met that standard. Reince had appointed five serious, senior Republicans — Henry Barbour, Sally Bradshaw, Ari Fleischer, Zori Fonalledas, and Glenn McCall — all worked diligently on this report for three months.
Their 98 page report is a good FIRST STEP. I am emphasizing first step because at Gingrich Productions we have a Lessons to be Learned Project and we believe there are many more steps to be taken, including a new doctrine for party building and campaigning and a massive online training program.
There is a lot to like in this report. There are some things that are controversial. There are one or two I would disagree with.
The overall report, however, is an extraordinary and courageous commitment to grow a bigger, better, more inclusive GOP. You should read the entire report and make up your own mind. By 10:00 am this morning nearly half a million people had read it. As part of his new, more inclusive and technologically advanced GOP, Reince has established a web page where you can offer your ideas and your critique.
If you want an outsider’s sense of how serious this report is, here is a comment from an Obama campaign leader, Ethan Roeder, Obama 2012’s former director of data, who’s now executive director of the New Organizing Institute. He said the RNC’s report “should ring alarm bells for progressives.”
“It shows an investment in self-reflection and a commitment to improvement while practitioners on the left are busy congratulating each other and cracking wise about being on the right side of the great ‘digital divide,'” he wrote in an e-mail to techPresident.
I will have a lot more to say in future newsletters about the Growth and Opportunity Project Report and other developments in the GOP. For today I recommend that you dive in and look at the many ideas and observations they have developed.
P.S. We are developing a course on Driverless Cars at Newt University. If you would like to learn more about that fascinating new development which may be worth hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, sign up at Gingrich Productions and we will let you know when the course is available.