It's been a month now since President Obama defeated Mitt Romney and the Great Republican Rebuild is well under way.
But without an obvious leader to replace Romney (and Romney not interested in staying on), the GOP is stuck fielding offers from dozens of applicants who claim they can fix everything the fastest. Do they go with the former president who says they need immigration reform? The Senator who wants them to talk about abortion less? The columnist who thinks they need to have more babies?
To make the process easier, we compiled all the post-election advice we could find into one handy list. There's got to be something that works in here.
Move To The Left!
Former Rep. Steve LaTourette's (R-OH) dismissed the notion the party wasn't conservative enough in 2012 as "crap" after Romney lost. "The Republican Party cannot be a national party if we give up the entire East Coast of the United States and say -- we don't have any Republicans in New England, we don't have any Republicans in the Mid-Atlantic states," he told CNN.
Move To The Right!
Plenty of conservative activists have complained Romney wasn't hardcore enough for their tastes. "The moderates have had their candidate in 2008 and they had their candidate in 2012. And they got crushed in both elections," Bob Vander Plaats, an influential evangelical leader, told the Washington Post. "Now they tell us we have to keep moderating. If we do that, will we win?"
Throw Social Conservatives Under The Bus
GOP strategist Mike Murphy warned in Time magazine that the party's ultra-religious anti-gay wing scared young voters away in 2012. What Republicans need is "a more secular and modernizing conservatism that eschews most social issues to focus on creating a wide-open opportunity society that promises greater economic freedom."
Throw Rich People Under The Bus
Weekly Standard columnist Bill Kristol doesn't get why Republicans are so obsessed with defending the Bush tax cuts. "Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood?" he complained on FOX News last month.
No, Rich People Are Great!
Romney may have lost the election, but his top strategist Stu Stevens is super proud that they won Americans making over $50,000 -- about the median income in America. "[A]ny party that captures the majority of the middle class must be doing something right," he wrote in the Washington Post.
Convince Latinos That They're American
Minorities would vote for the GOP, according to National Review's Jonah Goldberg, if only they realized their true "American-ness."
"I see that the way we will get the Hispanics and the other groups, the Asians, as part of the Republican Coalition is to get them first part of the great American Coalition," Goldberg said. "Make them think of themselves -- not make, but persuade them to think of themselves primarily as Americans."
Nominate A Latino Candidate In 2016
Charles Krauthammer thinks a border fence, amnesty, and a hefty dose of Marco Rubio should just about do it: "Imagine Marco Rubio advancing such a policy on the road to 2016," he wrote. "It would transform the landscape. He'd win the Hispanic vote. Yes, win it. A problem fixable with a single policy initiative is not structural. It is solvable."
Pass Immigration Reform
George W. Bush came out of hiding this week to tell Republicans they need to finally come around to immigration reform. His brother, Jeb Bush, is also leading the charge on this front, warning that Texas will soon become a blue state if nothing is done.
Wait, Don't Pass Immigration Reform!
Or you could just ignore the Bushes. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat argues that immigration reform will repel one of the only constituencies the GOP has left: working class white guys.
Stage A Coup
Sure the voters elected President Obama to a second term, but they're irrelevant. Some tea party activists and at least one state lawmaker are urging red states to put Mitt Romney in power by refusing to participate in the electoral college, which they believe will turn the election over to the Republican House instead. It's all based on a blatant misreading of the law, but when has that ever gotten in the way of a good coup attempt?
Steal Obama's Ideas
Throw Money At The Problem
Casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson spent upwards of $150 million on the 2012 election only to see Romney go down in flames and Democrats make gains in the House and Senate. The lesson he took from the results: next time, spend twice as much.
Primary The Tea Partiers
Sick of tea party candidates like Todd Akin, Christine O'Donnell, and Sharron Angle blowing elections? Better shell out some money to beat them in the primaries, an idea the NRSC and Karl Rove are currently exploring.
Primary The Establishment
Sick of hand-picked establishment candidates like Rick Berg and Denny Rehberg blowing elections? Better shell out some money to beat them in the primaries, something conservative activists and tea party groups are already threatening to do in West Virginia and Georgia.
Speaker John Boehner stripped four representatives of plum committee seats this week, prompting cries of outrage from the right. All of them voted against Republican budgets and spending agreements last session.
Forget Everything We Said Five Weeks Ago
The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin and Commentary's John Podhoretz warn that the GOP needs a total overhaul after Romney's disastrously incompetent campaign. Which probably comes as a surprise to their readers since they spent all of October showering praise on Romney's inspired campaign skills.
Keep The Platform, Change The Tone
Bobby Jindal thinks Republican ideas are great as is. They just don't sound that way when Mitt Romney, Todd Akin, and Richard Mourdock talk about them.
Court The Stoner Vote
Rand Paul, expected to run for presidentin 2016, has a plan to draw young people back to the party: legalize pot. Or at least support states' rights to loosen drug laws, like Colorado did in 2012.
Stop Talking About Abortion So Much
John McCain may be pro-life, but he thinks restrictions on reproductive rights are a losing issue with women. "I can state my position on abortion," McCain told FOX News. "But other than that, leave the issue alone."
Talk About Sandra Fluke's Sex Life Some More
Based on the exit polls, single women find the Republican party a hostile and unwelcoming place. Perhaps a new post-election round of sexually charged attacks on Sandra Fluke by conservative pundits will help turn things around.
Just Pretend Democrats Don't Exist
One way to prevent losing to Democrats again is to simply deny that Democrats are real. You can't lose to something that's not real, can you? Former Ron Paul aide Eric Dondero is putting this theory to the test, promising after the election never to interact with Democrats, any Democrats -- in just about any capacity -- ever again. He might make an exception for rescuing a drowning person, but don't count on it. Dondero called on his fellow Libertarians to do the same.
Learn To Love The Mainstream Media
As Republicans consider new schemes aimed at improving outreach to women and minorities, conservative writer Robert Stacy McCain suggests the party try making new friends in the media as well.
"We need to outreach to the MSM community. Because there are probably a few -- God bless them, most of them are to the left of Lenin in their politics -- but there are a few of them, there still are a few people in there who care about real facts, who care about budget projections that involve actual numbers, people who actually care about economic reality," he said in a recent interview.
How About Sarah Palin?
You say you have a problem with women, GOP? Columnist Charlotte Allen wrote on Nov. 18 that the solution is right in front of the party's nose: "Sarah Palin is the new Ronald Reagan: charming and affable and unwilling to back down if she's right. I can't see what's wrong with that."
Find Your Inner Poor Person
Hey, guys: let's drop that whole 47 percent thing. That's the central message from a number of potential 2016 presidential primary candidates since Nov. 6. On Tuesday, two of the buggest on any 2016 speculation list -- Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) -- both took to a Washington stage to call offer up a new focus on the poor.
Or Just Disenfranchise Them
Why should the GOP bother with the less fortunate at all, Ted Nugent asked in a recent column. If you're on welfare, you just shouldn't be allowed to vote, simple as that.
"Once they get off welfare and are self-sustaining, they get their right to vote restored. No American on welfare should have the right to vote for tax increases on those Americans who are working and paying taxes to support them," Nugent wrote. "That's insane."
Ditch That Embarrassing Iowa Straw Poll
The Ames Straw Poll has been a Republican presidential institution for years. But after fringe candidate Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) won it last time around, a number of Republicans, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), have said it's time to retire the event.
"I think the straw poll has outlived its usefulness," he told the Wall Street Journal last month.
Get Someone Else To Moderate The Primary Debates
Mitt Romney has a solution to all the embarrassing 2012 GOP primary debate moments that exemplified the party's swing right: pick moderators who won't ask unflattering questions.
In one of his leaked post-election fundraising calls, Romney called on Republicans to "pick stations that are reasonable" to host debates in 2016. "it's not all gonna be done by CNN and NBC, alright, I mean we're gonna try and guide this process so that it's designed to showcase the best of our people as opposed to showcasing liberals beating the heck out of us," Romney said.
Copy Howard Dean
Karl Rove said last month that Republicans need to be more like Howard Dean when it comes to political organizing. "I hate to say it, but we need to copy what Howard Dean did," Rove told Sean Hannity. "And that is make our ground game in all 50 states."
Take A Breath
Newt Gingrich, characteristically, has some big ideas about what the GOP needs to do next. But first, he's calling on Republicans to just chill out. Republicans "have to stop and take a deep breath," he told The Naples News last month. Now that they're done with the breathing thing, they can read his new strategy memo on what to do next.
As a last ditch measure, Republican politicians could take the base's advice and give up on America for good. Petitions on the White House website after the election calling for various states to secede garnered hundreds of thousands of signatures. According to a poll by the Democratic PPP, 25 percent of Republican respondents want their state to secede and another 19 percent are at least on the fence about the idea.
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