By Cheri Jacobus - 04/25/13 11:41 PM EDT
Holding my nose, I engaged in RNC bean counting. It isn’t pretty.
What prompted this? Yet another Republican National Committee (RNC) cringe-worthy press release proudly patting itself on the back with the announcement of a mid-level job created to “reach out” to African-American media and the hiring of (presumably) an African-American to fill the post, who will report to another mid-level ethnic minority hire charged with reaching out to minorities. This comes on the heels of a press release announcing the addition of two men of Asian ethnicity whose mid-level job description is outreach to Asian ethnic voters and media. Women are also included in that part of the RNC’s website for “coalitions,” though we comprise more than half of all voters.
Every RNC department head is a white man: the communications director, political director, research director, chief of staff, and on and on it goes. Again. Still. It’s as if the RNC and D.C.-based establishment stupidly decided minorities and women should only talk to minorities and women. The TV networks had more women than men on the ground for 2012’s presidential campaign, and there were reports that nearly the entire busload of print reporters traveling with the Romney campaign was women. That about half of political reporters are women should be instructive.
The establishment GOP, which claims to “get it” after two consecutive drubbings in presidential elections with their hand at the till, is made up almost exclusively of men. Despite polls showing the nation is right-of-center and slightly more female than male, we lose with women and therefore we lose the race.
Women organically rise to positions of influence from the grassroots and Tea Party — arguably responsible for the GOP 2010 House majority — as evidenced by the support for Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, the election of four female GOP governors and the influence of pundits Dana Loesch, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and others. The establishment needs to catch up.
The economic policies and failures of Democrats are disastrous for women and minorities. Women, evangelical African-Americans and Catholic Latinos should be unquestionably Republican based on policies alone, and should be “there for the taking” for the GOP. The problem may be the men running the national show, or it might be the fact that they are all men — at least the perception that they are, when nearly to a person, the key decision-makers, influencers, consultants and top staff are men. The GOP message is muffled by the glass ceiling.
Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was ill-served by this one-sided establishment construct. His record of serious outreach and hiring women morphed into a cartoon when his “binders full of women” comment was judged by the Left and their comrades in the media as defensive, rather than as a positive. Romney, like many Republican leaders across the nation, has a decent record on women and minorities. But he was burdened with defending a D.C.-based GOP establishment stereotype for which he was not responsible, rather than pointing out that the Obama White House pays women less than men. Once he secured the hard-fought nomination, press release after press release was issued naming RNC liaisons to his campaign, advisers and other establishment “help” of almost exclusively men.
Lest the establishment predictably choose to shoot the messenger, be assured I speak for the countless GOP women (and men) dedicated to our party, which we know is the best hope for the country. We are sickened by the Obama policies driving women and minorities into dependency, unemployment and limited opportunities, while Democrats erroneously claim it is the GOP engaging in a “war on women.”
The Obama failures and the spendthrift, incompetent Democrat Party are fertile ground for GOP gains and repairing the damage by President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. But it won’t happen when the national GOP party establishment is so blatantly out of touch with Republicans nationwide. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus might want to ask Romney for a binder or two full of women, then make room at the grown-ups’ table.
Jacobus, president of Capitol Strategies PR, has worked on Capitol Hill and at the Republican National Committee.