After the worse than expected results of the 2012 elections, the Republican National Committee did an autopsy to find out where it was failing. While the answers to these questions were anything but surprising, the RNC has been working to rebrand the Republican Party as a kinder, more inclusive organization.
The report suggested that the GOP's rebranding efforts need to focus on finding ways to connect with young voters, women and minorities. The degree of success they have had is certainly debatable; however, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is sticking to the rebranding strategy and has used his stature as head of the image reclamation project to castigate MSNBC when its Twitter account painted Republicans as being against interracial marriage.
Based on that comment and what Mr. Priebus suggests is a systemic issue at the network, the RNC banned all staff from appearing on MSNBC and asked "Republican surrogates and officials" to do the same.
Not too long ago, a member of Duck Dynasty made some disparaging remarks that resulted in his suspension from the show by A&E. The outcry from the right was immediate. Conservative luminaries such as Sarah Palin, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal suggested free speech was under attack while Fox News claimed in a headline "A&E declares war on 'Duck Dynasty's' Christian values."
Fast forward a few months and apparently free speech only applies to those with conservative values. The Fox News headline now reads "Reince Priebus stands up to MSNBC's offensive tweet."
Of course the reality is that all Americans are free to express the opinions whenever and where ever they want and organizations like the RNC and A&E are free to respond however they see fit.
Having said that, the problem that Republicans face runs deeper than how a biased news organization perceives their party. For example, only 40 percent of Mississippi Republicans believe interracial marriage should be legal. Reince Priebus can be offended all he wants, but perhaps rather than going after MSNBC for furthering a stereotype the RNC would be better off informing their own party on how antiquated these views are and that they will not be tolerated.
The real problem here is that Republicans were so desperate to win elections they allowed fringe elements of the Republican Party a voice because they needed voter enthusiasm to combat a shrinking base. Unfortunately, by doing this, they enfranchised a group of bigots who believe their beliefs have been validated.
So when Coke aired a Super Bowl advertisement that had "American the Beautiful" sung in multiple languages, conservative sites like Breitbart.com felt compelled to convince readers that such an act is un-American -- or, as former Congressman Allen West said about the ad, "This was a truly disturbing commercial for me." What was the RNC response to this?
Donald Trump made being a birther one of the main tenants of his short presidential bid playing to the majority of Republicans who believe President Barack Obama was born outside of the US. John McCain had the intestinal fortitude to tell his supporters that Barack Obama "is a decent family man -- citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with." The RNC on the other hand was leading from behind on this issue stating "Trump and the candidates can talk about it all they want."
Representative Vance McAllister invited a member of the Duck Dynasty clan to the State of the Union because he wanted to bring "some diversity to our nation's capitol." Yes, in a party that is represented by rich white guys, being a rich white guy with a beard apparently now represents diversity.
Reince Priebus can cut off contact with liberal media outlets to protest claims that he feels are unjust; however, if he is truly dedicated to reestablishing the Republican Party, he could start by looking in the mirror first because as these examples show there is nothing the liberal media can say that will make Republicans look worse than their own actions do.