Battered and broken elephant lumbers towards St. Paul
The chairman of the Michigan Republican party, Saul Anuzis, in an article over at Politico, has this to say of the state of the GOP in 2008: “After twelve years of being in power, you tend to get fat and lazy, and in some cases arrogant with respect to your positions ... If you go back to 2006 most people would agree that not only did we lose our brand, that we damaged our brand significantly. We are clearly rebuilding.”
Politico documents the "dire straits" of state GOP parties. Here are some highlights:
Perhaps the best (though surely not the most dramatic) indicator of a party tangled up in a mess of identity crises and low morale was this nugget, about a a meeting of Republican state chairs held in Vegas in early March:
...roughly a dozen Republican state chairmen met in Las Vegas --the first gathering of its kind in recent memory, according to one of the chairmen who attended.
Formally, the purpose was to exchange ideas on “improving each state party’s performance,” said Sean McCaffrey, the executive director of the Arizona Republican party. But there was widespread concern expressed over the direction of the party as a whole.
Even that effort to strengthen the individual state parties fell short of the mark. With the exception of Florida, no Southern chairmen were in attendance. Many, it seems, were uncomfortable with the symbolism of meeting inside a Las Vegas hotel the same weekend as Palm Sunday.
“That’s a real problem with the Republican party that they went to a casino on Palm Sunday,” said one GOP state party chairman, who refused to come due to the timing.
“Here we are the values party,” the chairman added. “You’ve got to walk the walk here. If you don’t, you’re going to lose. You can’t disaffect your base.”
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