I’ve just begun to comb through the newly released RNC’s  “Growth and Opportunity Project” report, co-chaired by a group including Ari Fleischer and Haley Barbour. Reading through the methodology, and paying particular attention to the section on African Americans, has left me absolutely fuming.

The report combined interviews with GOP and independent pollsters, politicians, a Hispanic republican voter poll, and voter focus groups in order to learn how to fix what they term “record low” public perception of the Republican Party. Their methodology leaves much to be desired, relying heavily on those within their own circles, and focus groups are notoriously shallow in terms of depth of insight. Nevertheless, at least the group is a step toward acknowledging at least that there is a problem.

LI readers might consider themselves privy to a sort of case study for how the GOP has dismissed and ignored African-American candidate for Congress Paul McKinley (IL-02). Therefore I’d welcome your reaction to the RNC’s findings on “African Americans”:

  • “Similar to the approach it must take with other demographic communities, the RNC must embark on a year-round effort to engage with African American voters. The engagement must include not only persuasion based upon our Party’s principles but also a presence within community organizations.”
  • “…the Republican Party must be committed to building a lasting relationship within the African American community year-round, based on mutual respect and with a spirit of caring.”

And includes these recommendations:

  • “The RNC should hire African American communications directors and political directors for key states and communities across the country.”
  • “Establish a presence in African American communities and at black organizations such as the NAACP. We are never going to win over voters who are not asked for their support. Too many African American voters have gotten in the habit of supporting Democrats without hearing anyone in their community making a case to the contrary.”
  • “The RNC should create a program that is focused on recruiting and supporting African American Republican candidates for office.”
  • “The RNC must improve on promoting African American staff and candidates within the Party. The GOP should utilize African American elected officials as surrogates both in their communities and with the national media. At the staff level, the personnel should be visible and involved in senior political and budget decisions and not be limited to demographic outreach.”

These findings and recommendations strike me as shallow: more bureaucracy in the form of hires and programs, girded by platitudes  that essentially say, “they really belong with us so let’s hire some of them and support them in running for office.” Not exactly groundbreaking stuff.

We at LI know what’s groundbreaking: not a superficial hire at the RNC but a candidate like Paul McKinley who’s carrying the load of the tired Republican brand into his community and rejuvenating it. His complete non-support, and in the case of the Illinois GOP, downright abandonment, by the Republican powers-that-be is worth studying more than this entire report’s “findings” on African American outreach.

Wake up, RNC. There’s a revolution going on and your brand isn’t going to stick around with recommendations like “hire some of the minorities.” This ought to be a party about ideas, ideas that you seem to have forgotten are more important than embracing the left’s separation of our American populace into demographic interest groups. You don’t need focus groups, you need a complete cleaning of house.