Republicans split over RNC autopsy

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — The Republican National Committee’s “autopsy” report left a bad taste in the mouths of some politicians who may be carrying the party’s banner in Senate races next year.

“The political establishment misses the point,” Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, who is considering a run for retiring Democratic Sen. Carl Levin’s seat in 2014, told The Daily Caller.

“The point is not to try to push away conservatives and libertarians and try to isolate them from the process of nominating a presidential candidate or selecting office holders for the RNC or all the rest,” he said. “We need to bring these people into the party. We need to make sure that those who believe in liberty — who believe in independence — are brought into the party and grow the party.”

Amash said his “impression” is that the RNC document — which he admitted he has not read in its entirety — is not particularly welcoming to certain kinds of Republicans.

“I think when you look at the makeup of some of the members involved in analyzing what’s wrong with the Republican Party, it’s a pretty pro-establishment group of individuals, and we need to grow the Republican Party, and the only way to do that is to bring in liberty minded people into the party.”

Iowa Rep. Steve King, who is also considering a 2014 Senate run, had a similarly negative reaction.

“It concerns me that the document appeared to be a document that was a political expediency document,” he told TheDC, lamenting “the idea that somehow we’re supposed to adjust our principles to a perception of a shift in the public.”

He called the 100-page report “a myopic analysis of what’s going on here politically.”

“I think we get back to those fundamental principles,” he said, referring to socially conservative positions and constitutional conservatism  “And I didn’t hear those — I didn’t read those in the components of the document that I read.”

The Iowa Republican took particular issue with the suggestion in the report that Republicans get behind comprehensive immigration reform, saying he did not believe doing so would help Republicans win a greater portion of the Hispanic vote.

“We cannot abandon the rule of law in an effort to try to send a message to people that are moving away from the Republican Party generally for other reasons,” he said.  “They haven’t thought it through, in my view. … And they surely haven’t had a conversation with me.”

But Georgia Rep. Jack Kingston, another member of Congress who is “very, very seriously” looking at a Senate run, saw the GOP autopsy much more favorably.

“It looked like good common sense approach to regaining the majority,” he told TheDC in a phone interview. “I think that addressing these things and reinventing yourself in terms of fresh approaches is always good for any business or organization, so I applaud the chairman on taking some decisive action.”

In particular, he keyed on the idea of having fewer Republican primary debates, and picking better moderators.

“I’ve been in Congress 20 years, and we’ve never had any bill regarding evolution. And yet if you listen to the moderators in these Republican debates, the only things we ever voted on was abortion, gun control, same sex marriage, and evolution. And so I think that [we should] restructure the debates to make sure that we’re talking about things that are maybe more centralized to the economy, such as job creation. That would to be me be a pragmatic approach.”

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