Brent Bozell, who delivered hard-hitting remarks against the Republican establishment at this past weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference, is no more pleased with the Republican National Commitee’s post-election report, released this morning.
“The establishment Republicans blew it in 2012,” Bozell tells National Review Online. He wishes that the RNC hadn’t asked Beltway politicos to help with recommendations: “That makes about zero sense. That’s like asking the captain of the Titanic to right the ship.”
The RNC’s 97-page report urges the GOP to embrace comprehensive immigration reform, tone down its opposition to gay marriage, and highlight more female and minority spokesmen.
The GOP is “sleepwalking past the problem,” according to Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center, who now serves as president of ForAmerica, a conservative political-action group. He maintains that the shift in some corners of the party on issues such as gay marriage — marked most clearly by Ohio senator Rob Portman’s recent reversal on the marriage issue – will not help the party in the 2014 midterms and the next presidential election. “You can’t out-Democrat a Democrat,” Bozell argues. “This is why they got the nickname ‘the Stupid Party.’”
For Bozell, the GOP’s problem lies more with the message offered by Republican candidates than with how that message is delivered. In his mind, Republican losses in recent years stem from the fact that Republicans have failed to stake out sufficiently conservative positions. “This is what happens when you don’t distinguish yourself from the Democrats,” he says. “Go back to your conservative principles,” he recommends, listing fiscal conservatism, a strong national defense, and the pursuit of a virtuous society. “Republicans are just being fooled by thinking that it’s because they’re not for gay rights that they lost.”
In Bozell’s eyes, the Romney campaign missed opportunities to capitalize on conservative issues, especially abortion and religious freedom. While the majority of Americans favor restrictions on abortion, Republicans were “nowhere to be found” on the issue; by contrast, President Obama, “the most fanatically radical pro-abortionist in public life on the national level,” succeeded in moving public opinion in a pro-choice direction. “Republicans could have taken that issue and run on it,” Bozell says.
Despite his criticism of the GOP establishment, Bozell says he feels “bullish” about the 2016 election. “The Republican party has a very good bench of prospective national conservative leaders” — he points to Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio — and its success will hinge on “how foolish Republicans are going to be in trying to squash their voices.”
“If the party establishment will let these new leaders flourish, I think the Republican party will do very well,” he concludes.