It was Bobby Jindal who warned his party to “stop being the stupid party.”
And Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said today that his party needs to stop running around saying “biologically stupid things” — and avoid the “traveling circus” of last year’s 20-plus debates.
Priebus, overseeing a move to reset the party for the next round of elections, says: “It’s all about branding, marketing, telling a story and the history of the Republican Party.”
“One, I think mechanically we’ve got to be a permanent campaign,” he said, pointing to the success of Mitt Romney’s campaign in contacting more voters than a nominee traditionally had — yet noting that the Democrats is already out there in communities today with clipboards collecting data.
“It’s tone as well,” Priebus said in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today. “It’s not necessarily what you say, but it’s how you say it, and if you go around and you say a lot of biologically stupid things and you poison the well and you create a caricature, or you at least allow a caricature to become reality, it hurts your ability to win an election.”
It was Todd Akin, the Republican candidate for Senate in Missouri, who famously introduced the concept of “legitimate rape” during the 2012 election campaigns and suggested that rape is less likely to result in pregnancy. He apologized for all that — “the fact is, rape can lead to pregnancy,” Akin allowed — but not before sinking his party’s hopes of taking the seat from Sen. Claire McCaskill, the Democratic incumbent.
Priebus’s party has been handed a prescription for changing direction and tone by a group that recommended hundreds of ideas.
“We need to break a few pieces of China in order to get some things straight,” he said. “One is our tone, our mechanics — who disagrees that our digital data needs to be updated?”
The roadmap calls for fewer presidential party debates and an earlier convention. The party doesn’t want to see its “candidates run around in a traveling circus” doing 20 debates, “slicing and dicing each other,” he said.
Presumably, its candidates next time around will also be able to name the three agencies of the federal government they’d cut — “oops.”
And that brings us back to Jindal, the Louisiana governor who delighted the audience at this year’s Gridiron Club dinner with more talk about the party that set out to defeat itself last year.
“They say this is a place where you can come and tell jokes about the president, poke fun at yourself, set political ambition aside and just generally say anything you want,” Jindal, a supporter of Republican Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign for president, said in his stand-up routine — “kind of like the Romney campaign.”