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Republican reboot’s last gasp was night Rubio dropped out in March 2016. 15-20 years of elegant papers by elite thinkers, scholars and intellectuals, words of editorial boards and Capitol Hill symposiums, positions of 40 years of foreign policy experts–all were complete duds in 2016-Washington Post, Costa, Rucker

July 18, 2016

March 2016 article

“Those very elegant papers it published and conferences it helddidn’t really matter.”…Party leaders concluded the only way to regain the presidency would be to engage the…electorate that President Obama had won.”

(Christmas Morning: What it would be for the GOP if they got a different voting base: “That is the way they’re thinking….All they gotta do is throw away their base. That’s Christmas morning for ’em.Rush Limbaugh, 10/13/2013. GOP “party leaders” have long wished for different voters.)  

3/15/16,Rubio’s demise marks the last gasp of the Republican reboot,Washington Post, Robert Costa, Philip Rucker, West Miami, Fla.

“Those very elegant papers it published and conferences it held may have been good and smart, but they didn’t really matter,” said William J. Bennett, a conservative talk-show host and former education secretary in Ronald Reagan’s administration. Instead, everyone who’s been prominent for the last 15 to 20 years finds themselves getting pushed out.”
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Years of carefully laid plans to repackage the Republican Party’s traditional ideas for a fast-changing country came crashing down here on Tuesday when Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign for the presidency after a crippling defeat in his home-state primary.
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Since Mitt Romney’s devastating loss in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee and leading voices at think tanks, editorial boards and Capitol Hill symposiums have charted a path back to the White House based on inclusive rhetoric and a focus on middle-class issues.
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Nobody embodied that vision better than Rubio, a charismatic standard-bearer for conservative orthodoxy who readily embraced the proposals of the right’s elite thinkers. The senator from Florida spoke urgently and eloquently about raising stagnant wages and eradicating poverty. He had an immigrant’s tale to match the rhetoric. And on foreign affairs, he was a passionate defender of the GOP’s hawkish tilt.
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But Rubio’s once-promising candidacy, as well as the conservative reform movement’s playbook, was spectacularly undone by Donald Trump and his defiant politics of economic and ethnic grievance. The drift toward visceral populism became an all-consuming rush, leaving Rubio and others unable to adjust.
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Rubio’s fall comes weeks after others who advocated for conservative reforms, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, dropped out of the race, and  as the donors and institutions who have long supported hawkish fiscal and foreign policies find themselves scrambling to hold onto the consensus that has shaped the GOP for decades.
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For many of them, Trump represents a threat to the traditional order of the party and its platform. He does not support overhauling Social Security — a key plank for Romney and GOP congressional leaders — and he was a vocal critic of the 2003 invasion of Iraq in its aftermath, setting him apart from much of the party’s high command.
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Rubio, whose ascent was propelled by a network of powerful players for years, was supposed to be the candidate best positioned to stop Trump and prevent a Republican rupture.
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“Rubio was ready and briefed on policy, that’s for sure, but I just think he never connected,” said former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is friendly with Trump. “He sounded like someone who was trying to be a lot for a lot of people. That’s hard to do.”

Following Romney’s defeat in an election many Republicans thought they should have won, party leaders concluded the only way to regain the presidency would be to engage the growing and diverse electorate that President Obama had won over twice. The RNC drafted an “autopsy” that recommended bolstering appeals to women and minority voters, while reform conservatives drafted their own manifesto.”…

[Ed. note: In 2016 it was discovered that 2012 demographic exit poll data heavily relied on as the basis for GOP’s “reboot” was significantly inaccurate, and that exit polls are poor at measuring demographics. NY Times,  6/9/16,There Are More White Voters Than People Think. That’s Good News for Trump.NY Times, Upshot, Nate Cohn. In 2012 there were 10 million more white, non-college, age 45+ voters than exit polls showed. The theory that missing white voters” hurt Romney in 2012 isn’t supported by data: “The white voters who stayed home in 2012 were much more likely to be registered Democrats.” NY Times, 6/9/16.The real pool of missing white voters are those who haven’t participated in any recent election, or aren’t even registered to vote. There are millions of these missing white voters.”]  

(continuing): “Rubio had been building his base among these Republicans since January 2011, when he began his Senate term. He joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and began to speak at think tanks and meet with scholars, most of them former staffers from George W. Bush’s administration. He hired a number of them for his own staff.

During his breaks in the Senate, Rubio would often tell colleagues how he was reading papers sent to him from former Republican officials or how he was about to have lunch with another bold-faced name from the Bush years. On his computer, he kept a “drop box” of related policy files compiled by his advisers.

Meanwhile, a group of writers and intellectuals on the right were frustrated and stewing about the GOP’s lack of outreach to working-class voters during Romney’s campaign. By 2013, they began to call themselves “reform conservatives” and sought to turn the party policy discussion away from its emphasis on small business and toward working men and women, as well as families, who were struggling.

[Ed. note: The “reform” group’s approach to “struggling families” in no way addressed the big picture, rather suggested technical nibbling around edges with programs such asnew child tax credits and revamped federal subsidies (as stated below). Some in the GOP may not be able to see the big picture. For example, National Review author and member of the GOP elite Kevin Williamson says of struggling families: “The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they deserve to die. Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible.” And, that their interests have no place in the “mainstream of American conservatism.” 3/12/16 ]

(continuing):As Rubio took the lead on immigration reform that year — a move that riled the hard right.”..

[Ed. note: How does the author define “hard right”?]

(continuing): “— he continued to bolster his relationships with reform conservatives who were unveiling plans for new child tax credits and revamped federal subsidies. He put out a book, “American Dreams: Restoring Economic Opportunity for Everyone.”

Rubio followed a similar path with foreign-policy hawks as they began to look for a favorite ahead of the 2016 contest: a flurry of meetings and op-ed articles and, most critically, solidarity on the issues as they bubbled up.

Although Rubio entered 2015 hobbled with parts of the GOP base because of immigration, he carried goodwill among those two constituencies that were driving the Republican establishment: 

the reformers and and the hawks.

“The critique was there: The Republican Party was out of touch,” said Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and former George W. Bush speechwriter. “But the breakdown occurred because we got into a cycle where policy didn’t matter at all. Policy was not just secondary, but it was almost not even in the conversation. And when people tried to interject policy — whether it was Rubio or Bush or others — there was just no appetite for it. It didn’t catch on.”

Former House speaker Newt Gingrich said that Rubio campaigned in a way that quickly became obsolete.

“Rubio was prepared, much like Jeb Bush, for a reasonable dialogue in Washington policy language, offering positions that reflect 40 years of national security and foreign-policy experts. All of that disappeared. The market didn’t care, Gingrich said.

Rubio’s hawkish foreign policy footing, thought to be an asset, was challenged. Trump’s claims of being “militaristic” even though he was inclined against intervention muddled how voters perceived the candidates, disassociating American power with the hawkish ideology of Rubio and the Bush orbit. Trump’s denunciations of George W. Bush’s decision to go into Iraq did not make the hawkish cause any easier.

“Trump has sounded hawkish without sounding graceful, and he’s expressed admiration for authoritarians. So it was a weird mix for all of the candidates,” said Kori Schake, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution who has advised Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). “At the same time, Republicans are still wrestling with the legacies from the Bush administration . . . and I don’t think we’ve made peace on that.”

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, having won his home-state primary on Tuesday, could be someone whom Rubio’s coalition turns to next, although his maverick style has turned off some in the establishment. Still, he, too, holds hawkish views and has a compassionate pitch on domestic policy with a call to help people “living in the shadows.”

Stuart Stevens, who served as chief strategist to Romney’s 2012 campaign, chalked up Rubio’s troubles as a sign of a first-time presidential candidate still learning how to run nationally and inspire voters, rather than as a sign of the Republican Party’s cracking apart….

“Rubio had been told that he’s the future of the party. But it’s not enough to say, ‘I have a great future, vote for me,’ ” Stevens said. “You have to do more than use your biography. You’ve got to connect your ideas in a real way to the economy. . . . People ended up walking out of Rubio rallies misty-eyed and out of Trump rallies with blood in their eyes.”

Whit Ayres, Rubio’s pollster, spent the past several years compiling data and published a book showing that Republicans could not afford to alienate minority voters, especially Hispanics, if they ever hope to retake the White House. Watching Rubio’s concession speech on Tuesday night, Ayres was despondent.

“After 2012,” he said, “you thought we’d learned our lesson.”

Ed O’Keefe in Miami contributed to this report.”

[Comment: Who is “we” Rubio’s pollster references?]
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Oct. 2013 Rush Limbaugh transcript:

10/16/2013, “GOP Seeks to Rid Itself of the Tea Party,” Rush Limbaugh transcript

“There will be a fast move in Republican circles to push “comprehensive immigration reform,” to go all-in now.  I can’t tell you what the Republicans think they’re gonna achieve, except this: I really do believe that some of this is oriented toward driving the conservatives out of the party.  I really think some of this is oriented toward the Republicans actually seeking to get rid of their conservative base.

Even if it takes 15 years in the wilderness to rebuild a new base of people who don’t embarrass them, of people who are of the right temperament. Maybe that’s what they’re willing to do. Maybe they’ve got commitments from their donors to keep ’em afloat if they just get rid of some of these wacko right-wing extremists. “We’ll just go all-in here. We’ll try to put together a new base of really responsible moderate, temperate, independent-type American voters.

“We’ll go out, we’ll expand our demographics, we’ll get a lot of Hispanics doing this, by throwing away the Tea Party, and we’ll get a lot of women voters coming back. We’ll throw away our base, and we’ll get the transgender and the lesbian, gay, bisexual groups, we’ll go out and get the Indians that are ticked off at the Redskins. We’ll get them! We’ll come out against that, and pretty soon we’re gonna own the country.”

That is the way they’re thinking, and all they gotta do to bring all that off? All they gotta do is throw away their base. That’s Christmas morning for ’em.  Now, the Democrats never stop whipping up their base. Have you noticed? There’s never any pressure on the Democrats to get rid of their base, and you never hear Democrats ripping in their base. You never hear the Democrats acting embarrassed — and believe me, their base is genuine Looney Tunes. Their base lives and workers in asylums.

But the Democrats never act embarrassed by ’em, never act like they want to get rid of ’em. They never, ever do anything other than whip them up, keep them engaged, and turn them out. Meanwhile, the Republicans are tamping their base down. Why? Cause the Democrats don’t like their (the Republicans’) base, and it’s more important to be liked by the Democrats within the establishment, I guess, than it is to have the current base they’ve got.”…

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GOP elite writer says working class communities “deserve to die,” and their interests have no place in the “mainstream of American conservatism:”

While Williamson blames the people living in run-down white communities for their own woes, he does not apply the same principle to run-down minority communities. In his book and articles on the failures of Detroit, for instance, the National Review writer blames “progressivism” and unions for ruining the predominately African-American city.””

3/12/16, National Review Writer: Working-Class Communities ‘Deserve To Die’,” Daily Caller, Scott Greer

National Review’s Kevin Williamson believes Donald Trump’s appeals to the white working class are “immoral” because that demographic’s way of life deserves to die out.

In a featured article for the prestigious conservative journal entitled “The Father-Fuhrer,” Williamson seeks to rebut criticism that he and other conservatives don’t articulate any policies that would appeal to Trump’s blue collar supporters.

Williamson, a long-time critic of The Donald, essentially agrees that he doesn’t support any policies or rhetoric directly tailored to the working-class — particularly about jobs being taken by outsourcing and immigration — because it would be wrong to do so.

“It is immoral because it perpetuates a lie: that the white working class that finds itself attracted to Trump has been victimized by outside forces,” the NR roving correspondent writes. “[N]obody did this to them. They failed themselves.”

He then goes on to state that all the ills associated with downscale whites are a result of that class’s inherent depravity.

“If you spend time in hardscrabble, white upstate New York, or eastern Kentucky, or my own native West Texas, and you take an honest look at the welfare dependency, the drug and alcohol addiction, the family anarchy—which is to say, the whelping of human children with all the respect and wisdom of a stray dog—you will come to an awful realization. It wasn’t Beijing. It wasn’t even Washington, as bad as Washington can be. It wasn’t immigrants from Mexico, excessive and problematic as our current immigration levels are. It wasn’t any of that,” Williamson state.

He then goes on to make the conclusion that it’s great these communities are dying out because they have a warped morality and are a dead weight on the economy.

“The truth about these dysfunctional, downscale communities is that they ‘deserve to die.’

Economically, they are negative assets. Morally, they are indefensible,” the conservative writer says.

“The white American under-class is in thrall to a vicious, selfish culture whose main products are misery and used heroin needles. Donald Trump’s speeches make them feel good. So does OxyContin. What they need isn’t analgesics, literal or political. They need real opportunity, which means that they need real change, which means that they need U-Haul. If you want to live, get out of Garbutt [a blue-collar town in New York].”

This article isn’t the first time Williamson has harshly criticized trying to appeal to working-class whites. In one February article, he said that this class is made-up of “economically and socially frustrated white men who wish to be economically supported by the federal government without enduring the stigma of welfare dependency.” He also claimed that their interests have no place in the “mainstream of American conservatism” and, in a follow-up post, said that the only message conservatives should give them is get a job.” (RELATED: The Demographic Not Wanted By The Conservative Establishment)

While Williamson blames the people living in run-down white communities for their own woes, he does not apply the same principles to run-down minority communities. In his book and articles on the failures of Detroit, for instance, the National Review writer blames “progressivism” and unions for ruining the predominately African-American city.”

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