The Republican primary season is inflicting damage on its candidates, notably 'frontrunner' Mitt the Inevitable, as well as suppressing voter enthusiasm (despite Gallup's claims to the contrary). The Super PAC's, which were going to crush the Democrats, have instead had the unintended consequence of dragging out the primary fight, keeping Newt Gingrich's candidacy alive for example. The RNC has issued a long memo in which it says, it's really not that bad, but wants none of the blame anyway.
Paul Senft, an RNC committeeman from Florida, told TPM that the “uncalculated and unintended consequences of the super PACs” were creating problems in what might otherwise be a productive long primary.Ha ha ha ha:
The ease with which Republican candidates can use these independent groups to level devastating negative attacks is worrying to some party leaders, who argue it’s been a much bigger factor than any scheduling issues.
“It put a lot of money into it — the depth and breadth of the carpet bombing done with negative campaigning was not anticipated,” he said. “We probably gave ourselves too much credit, thinking we’re above it, we won’t do that to each other. But Reagan’s 11th Commandment, ‘Dont speak ill of Republicans,’ looks like it’s almost gone and forgotten.”
The RNC changed the rules in 2010 to encourage a longer primary process, but things 'got out of hand' when states states disobeyed their prescribed schedule and spread the contests out over a longer period than was originally intended. Florida added a month to the schedule, which the RNC communications director ignores in his memo.
As top Republicans lament the ongoing presidential primary’s toll on the party, the RNC is out with a detailed memo arguing that the extended fight is not harmful to their chances in November. And if it is, well, don’t blame the RNC.Writes the RNC communications director:
“Over the last few weeks, pundits have made some incredibly improbable predictions for the 2012 Republican primary,” RNC communications director Sean Spicer writes in the memo. “But while this intense focus on the process of the primaries makes for great chatter, it has turned some myths into inaccurate conventional wisdom. The stories, forecasts, and endless buzz are no doubt engaging, but they are rooted in neither facts nor precedent.”The GOP is using the 2008 Democratic primary as a rationale for why this carpet-bombing Death Star slugfest of a Republican primary is a good thing. But the Republicans aren't getting any of the benefits that contest produced.
While accurate that these fears proved overblown, one reason Republicans have been less than pleased with the primary is that they don’t seem to be getting the same benefits as the Obama/Clinton fight. Turnout and voter registration shot up in Democratic primary states thanks to the competitive race, but it’s been down in most Republican contests. And, unlike in 2008, frontrunner Mitt Romney is rapidly losing popularity and financial strength as the race goes on rather than gaining as Obama did.Well if it's not the RNC's fault, whose is it?
Spicer also argues that it’s a “myth” that the party is demoralizing Republican voters, despite some polls showing GOP enthusiasm waning. Spicer cites a recent Gallup poll to counter these claims:
According to Gallup, Republicans are more enthusiastic than Democrats, 53 to 45 percent. Republicans in 2012 are more enthusiastic than Republicans in 2008 by 53 to 44 percent. And Republicans have given more thought to the election than Democrats by 70 to 58 percent