This morning, the Republican National Committee released its much hyped "scathing self analysis" (as the Wall Street Journal dubbed it) of what is wrong with the GOP and why more Americans aren't supporting the party — it's a fascinating read.
When it comes to outreach with Latinos, Asians and blacks, the following reminder is included in the document for all Republicans to heed:
The Republican Party is one of tolerance and respect, and we need to ensure that the tone of our message is always reflective of these core principles. In the modern media environment, a poorly phrased argument or out-of-context statement can spiral out of control and reflect poorly on the Party as a whole. Thus we must emphasize during candidate trainings, retreats, etc., the importance of a welcoming, inclusive message in particular when discussing issues that relate directly to a minority group. This includes flexibility for allowing candidates to run as Republicans who may break with the Party on certain issues, whether economic or social.
However, as more than one critic has said about what happened at CPAC over the weekend, there's only so much re-branding you can do with the product you have. Here's an excerpt about how the party can improve relationships with young voters:
On messaging, we must change our tone — especially on certain social issues that are turning off young voters. In every session with young voters, social issues were at the forefront of the discussion; many see them as the civil rights issues of our time. We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters.
There are a lot of great points in the document. The question is: When does re-branding begin? Apparently not yet, with GOP senators now attacking President Obama's choice for a labor secretary, Thomas E. Perez. Perez is an assistant attorney general at the Department of Justice, and is of Dominican descent making him the only Latino on Obama's second-term team.
Immediately after he was announced today, Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions called the nomination "unfortunate and needlessly divisive." According to an article on Roll Call by John Gramlich, a particular issue troubled Sessions:
According to Sessions, Perez served as president of the board of Casa de Maryland, which the senator called “a fringe advocacy group that has instructed illegal immigrants on how to escape detection, and also promoted illegal labor sites and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.” As a Montgomery County councilman in 2003, “Mr. Perez advocated for allowing illegal immigrants to be able to use foreign identification, known as matricula cards, in place of a valid U.S.-issued ID to work and receive public services,” Sessions said.
Another issue that the GOP wants to confront Perez about comes from a recent Department of Justice inspector general's report claiming that the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice suffers from "deep ideological polarization." According to the report, the issue started in the George W. Bush administration but continued under Perez's leadership.
Iowa Republican Charles Grassley highlighted one section of the report that states that Perez gave a misleading testimony to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission about the Department of Justice's handling of the New Black Panther case.
On the left, groups are applauding the president's choice for labor secretary.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued a statement that said:
Thomas Perez is a terrific choice for labor secretary. He has a proven track record of support for workers and those who have faced discrimination. A champion of civil rights, he represented the administration and testified before the U.S. Senate in 2009 in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, a bill that would protect employees on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As head of the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department, he challenged state voter suppression efforts and pursued a record number of discrimination or brutality claims against local law enforcement agencies, including the very visible Trayvon Martin racial profiling case.