This Red State post by Erik Erickson is getting a lot of traction in the right-wing blogosphere. In it, Erickson follows the money and discovers that the last four Republican presidential campaigns have basically been run by the same people. It begins like this:
If money is the root of all evil, for the Republican Party evil is located on the fifth floor of 66 Canal Center Plaza, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Strip away the candidate and coalition and it is on the fifth floor of 66 Canal Center Plaza where the seeds of Mitt Romney’s ruin and the RNC’s get out the vote (GOTV) effort collapsed — bled to death by charlatan consultants making millions off the party, its donors, and the grassroots.
66 Canal Center Plaza is also why Jeff Larson, the Chief of Staff of the Republican National Committee, should not be put in charge of the autopsy of the GOP’s defeat. Multiple sources confirm to me that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has already put Larson in charge of the so called autopsy.
This is like putting the fox in charge of the hen house. The fifth floor of 66 Canal Center Plaza reveals a tangled web of incestuous relationships among Republican consultants who have made millions all while the GOP went down the tubes. Here the top party consultants waged war with conservative activists and here they waged war with the Democrats. On both fronts, they raked in millions along the way with a more fractured, minority party in their wake. And they show no signs of recognizing just how much a part of the problem they are.
This is not news. I'm unsure why everyone in the Red State comments seem to think it is news. Erickson is simply saying that the same people have been consulting for the Republican Party forever. This happens in any organization. You get lazy. You make friends. You find it hard to think outside the worldview you and your organization has constructed.
But the thing that I don't understand is the subtext behind this story. So what Erickson seems to believe is that if someone else was in charge of the Republican Party, McCain and Romney would have done better in their elections. I'm not sure that's true. I think they were both bad candidates, and they were both nominated at the absolute worst time they could've been nominated (McCain became the nominee after years of embracing Bush, only to find that Bush's economy collapsed; Romney became the nominee at a time where America's distrust of the wealthy hit its highest levels in decades). The establishment didn't vote those two candidates in; mainstream Republican voters did. And sure, the Get Out the Vote campaigns could've been much better, but I'm not convinced there were enough votes out there to tip the balance.
The Republican Party hasn't convinced me that it wants change. Reince Priebus wasn't kicked out; the general consensus among Republicans seems to be that he did the best job he could with the lousy hand he was dealt. Republicans stand by all their pet issues that scare voters away in droves, and they accuse everyone else of being the problem. If you're going to accuse the Republican Party of being an old boys' network, you're basically just waking up to reality after a decades-long nap.