I have been pretty fair to the GOP -- even defending RNC Chair Michael Steele and Rush Limbaugh against silly Democratic antics. But I am completely baffled this latest Republican effort to heal the wounded GOP brand.
According to CNN, the GOP will sponsor a series of town hall meetings across the country, billed as "The National Council for a New America." But the group does not look so "new" to me.
First, Jeb Bush and John McCain are two of the leading participants. On some level, I understand having John McCain on the program because he is the most prominent Republican at the moment. But he is also the most prominent Republican to lose to a Democrat in recent memory -- so it will take some work for him to attract people outside of committed Republican circles.
Also, Jeb Bush has been out of office for a while, and (most importantly) his brother has a lot to do with the party's image falling over a cliff. The "Bush" name does not symbolize a "new" America for most voters.
Finally, other than Bobby Jindal, I do not see much diversity on the proposed list of speakers. This will only fuel arguments that the party is "out of touch" with the U.S. mosaic.
Well, let's see what happens. I wonder if McCain's pro-same sex marriage, clearly new Republican daughter is on the list? Probably not. But then again, I didn't see Limbaugh's name listed either.
UPDATE: According to an article in the New York Times, the questions I have raised about this retooling effort are being debated within the GOP. Apparently, the party is somewhat divided over what direction it should take. Some Republicans, for example, praise Specter's departure and want the party to become more solidly conservative. Others, however, are demanding greater flexibility on social and economic issues.
I have argued previously that conservatives could frame support for social causes normally seen as "liberal" by using conservative/libertarian principles. For example, supporting the rights of the accused, keeping the government out of GLBT bedrooms, and endorsing a woman's right to choose are consistent with the Republicans' purported belief in limited government.
How the party works through these issues will certainly impact the way it performs in the near future. I do not think that the current political scene is permanent. Politics comes in cycles. The 60s and 70s were liberal, but this ushered in a period of conservatism. Now, things "look" more liberal -- although I am suspicious about how liberal things actually are. Nevertheless, history provides overwhelming evidence on this: Things do not always remain the same over the course of time in politics. Cycles exist. How a party manages the cycle will determine its fate in the short-term and maybe over the long haul as well.