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A Memo for RNC Chair Priebus

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Photo - Chairman of the Rebpulican National Convention Reice Preibus gavels the second session of the Republican National Convention to order in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

My Monday Washington Examiner column is a memo for Reince Priebus, chair of the Republican National Committee.

Lots of advice pouring in to the current and future chairman, most of it from folks who didn’t want the GOP to win and don’t want them to win in the future. The editing of the inbox should be fairly straightforward.

Politico’s James Hohmann, one of the handful of Politico reporters who isn’t a lefty advancing a lefty line, has an interesting report from the gathering of the GOP governors. There are 30 of them, and along with the GOP majority in the House, represent the GOP’s half of a divided country. Ohio’s John Kasich has the most important quote:

Ohio Gov. John Kasich — who is up for reelection in 2014 — emphasized the GOP’s need to improve its ground game and to get more Republicans to vote early in a state that Obama won by 1.9 percentage points.

“In our state, you can early vote for 35 days. So if Democrats are voting for 35 days, and we’re voting for one day basically, who wins that? So our people have to become more comfortable with the process,” he said.

Kasich’s public standing has improved since a voter referendum in November 2011 overturned the signature achievement of his first year, limitations on collective bargaining rights for public employees.

“The debate [in 2012] was about who gets credit for the good things happening in Ohio,” he said. “That is such a sea change from where we had been, which is who gets the blame for what’s happening in Ohio.”

This is the election technology and tactics gap, it is significant, and it mattered even more in 2012 when the president had no primary and the GOP had a roller derby from eary 2011 through spring 2012.

It has been reported that Mitt Romney zeroed in on some of the self-destructive aspects of the 2012 campaign in his conference call. That self-destructive impulse continues as some in the Beltway GOP seek to increase their own position by kicking Romney and his team in the aftermath of a shattering loss intead of noting what the former Massachusetts governor was up against and how well he did. Old story, old game, and the same people knocking Romney now will be begging for his help and his network when their next contest creeps up. He’s a methodical guy and will no doubt keep a list, but the folks who really ought to be keeping score are the non-professional movement activists who want to know who they can trust. This is the Ed Rollins rule: If Ed has stabbed a dozen people in the back in the past, it is wise to turn your back on him now?

The period of Thanksgiving to the new year is traditionally a quiet time away from politics, for family, friends and reflection, but the approach of the fiscal cliff and the need for every governor to decide whether or not to embrace Obamacare via the establishment of a “state health insurance exchange” –they shouldn’t– won’t allow for the pause to be quiet this year. It is good news that the governors are working through their positions and that Chairman Priebus is coming back for a second term (and one would hope a third through 2016.) I hope they are willing to stay in the public square and argue these things out over the next two months when all they and their staffs really want to do is put up some lights and a tree and not answer the phone.


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