It emphasized the path to success was moderating the party’s position on immigration, courting a more diverse set of officeholders, and building the GOP around successful governors instead than polarizing members of Congress.
It’s now three months later and all of those ideas seem to have already crumbled into dust.
Party leaders in Washington got upset with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie for his self-interested scheduling of a Senate special election.
As the debate on immigration heats up in Congress, the majority of House Republicans cast a symbolic vote rejecting President Obama’s executive order to end deportations of young people brought to this country illegally as children.
In Massachusetts, the GOP nominated a Hispanic military veteran who is within striking distance of winning a Senate seat, but hardly any donors are giving money to his campaign.
As one strategist puts it, “This is the world’s longest psychotherapy session. Everyone’s trying to talk their way through what happened in 2012. The more they talk, the more they enjoy the therapy session.”
We love it.
So here is a party stuck in the status quo despite its leaders’ public hand-wringing.
Much of the desire for change is coming from the top, while the just about everyone else is headed off in another direction.
There’s an old saying about herding cats that applies here.
The disconnect is on full display in this month’s Massachusetts special election, which features a former Navy SEAL pitching himself as a new kind of Republican who is moderate on gun control, immigration, and the environment.
He’s just the type of nominee the Republican leadership is looking for — especially in a deeply Democratic state.
Polls show he actually has a chance against Democratic Representative Edward Markey, yet the guy hasn’t got the backing of major donors or hardly any assistance from any outside Republican groups.
Meanwhile, the most significant gap between the Republican National Committee’s recommendations and the GOP reality is in the issue of immigration.
Case in point: Representative Steve King of Iowa, an immigration hard-liner, cosponsored an amendment to defund the program Obama order that allowed children of illegal immigrants to remain in the United States.
King’s rhetoric on immigration was considered so politically poisonous that Senate Republican strategists suggested he stay out of Iowa’s Senate race.
The concern is his foot-in-mouth problems could cost the GOP an important seat.
As bad as his position was – all but six House Republicans voted for his bill, including most members in swing districts.
It reinforces a tone of insensitivity that is just beyond baffling.
That’s what people think of Republicans these days.