Republicans clearly didn't have the kind of election cycle they wanted or expected, so it seems wise of the party to go through a detailed process to determine what, exactly, went wrong. But while the idea may be sound, the RNC's new "Growth and Opportunity Project" isn't off to a great start.
Republicans raised more than $1 billion for the presidential campaign, blanketed the airwaves with campaign ads, dispatched hundreds of operatives to battleground states, and promised the best get-out-the-vote effort in party history.
Now, more than a month after Mitt Romney's loss in the presidential election, the Republican National Committee has formed a team to determine what went wrong. The RNC is calling its official postmortem the Growth and Opportunity Project, and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has picked five party leaders to head up the effort.
In addition to scrutinizing this year's failures, Priebus has tasked the group with, among other things, crafting a plan for improving campaign mechanics, messaging, fundraising, and outreach. What's more, it's worth noting that the five-person panel includes a Latina woman and an African-American man, and as a result, the "Growth and Opportunity Project" is already more diverse than the Republicans' leadership in Congress.
So, what's the problem? Andrew Kaczynski noticed that two of the group's members -- former Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer and Republican committeeman Henry Barbour -- can fairly be described as 2012 "Poll Truthers." They were, in other words, some of the same folks who insisted that all independent polling had been deliberately skewed to mislead the public, and that Mitt Romney was well on his way to victory on Election Day.
There's nothing wrong with the RNC scrutinizing its missteps -- introspection is wise after a defeat -- but in the wake of its 2012 failures, Fleischer and Barbour are exactly the kind of party officials who have less credibility, not more. Those who whined incessantly and incorrectly about "oversampling" look foolish with the benefit of hindsight, and tasking them with analyzing their party's mistakes suggests the Republican National Committee does not yet understand what it doesn't understand.