One of the top Politco stories at the moment is a three-page mashup titled “Right blasts RNC ‘autopsy’ as power grab“. (Which kinda pretends there is a “left” or even “center” faction still existent within the GOP, but then: Politico.) The actual nut seems to be that the besieged rump of the Permanent Party have succeeded in pissing off both the wild-eyed farther-right reactionaries at The Base, and the high-dollar revanchists who think everything’s gone to hell since the 1890s:
The GOP’s prescription to cure the ills that helped bring on yet another disastrous presidential cycle would revamp its presidential nominating rules in ways to benefit well-funded candidates and hamper insurgents – a move that quickly heated up the already smoldering feud between the Republican establishment and the tea party-inspired base.
Tucked in near the end of the 97-page report, formally known as The Growth and Opportunity Project, are less than four pages that amount to a political bombshell: the five-member panel urges halving the number of presidential primary debates in 2016 from 2012, creating a regional primary cluster after the traditional early states and holding primaries rather than caucuses or conventions.
Each of those steps would benefit a deep-pocketed candidate in the mold of Mitt Romney. That is, someone who doesn’t need the benefit of televised debates to get attention because he or she can afford TV ads; has the cash to air commercials and do other forms of voter contact in multiple big states at one time; and has more appeal with a broader swath of voters than the sort of ideologically-driven activists who typically attend caucuses and conventions.
The recommendations are also a nod to the party’s donor class. Several donors bluntly told RNC Chair Reince Priebus at meetings right after the election that they wanted Iowa, with its more conservative base, to have less of a role in the process.
Reaction was swift. Allies of potential 2016 hopefuls Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and former Sen. Rick Santorum, sensing a power play by the establishment-dominated panel, reacted angrily to recommendations they think are aimed at hurting candidates who do well in caucuses and conventions and need debates to get attention…
The autopsy committee members – former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer, South Carolina GOP Committeeman Glenn McCall, Florida GOP strategist and Jeb Bush adviser Sally Bradshaw, Mississippi GOP committeeman Henry Barbour and Puerto Rico committeewoman Zori Fonalledas – notably stayed out of the question of whether presidential delegates should be allocated at-large or proportionally. But they left no doubt that they wanted a primary that does less damage to their eventual nominee and wraps up more quickly to give their candidate more time to face the opposition…
Davie Bossie, head of the conservative group Citizens United, fretted that the proposals would mean conservative grassroots candidates, already outmatched organizationally and financially against the GOP establishment on the presidential level, “even less opportunity to break through.”
“I don’t think that is a good thing for the party and I definitely don’t think it’s a good thing for the conservative movement,” said Bossie.
I’ll admit I don’t understand why Citizens United, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, suddenly feels the need to pretend that they care about the little people, so “outmatched organizationally and financially”. Is it entirely a marketing ploy? Or do Charles and David Koch, steeped since birth in their dad’s Bircherite paranoia, really believe there is a secret insider “GOP establishment” (possibly related to David Ickes’ Lizard People), who wouldn’t sell themselves and all their political kinfolk into slavery for the promise of a cushy consulting gig?