First, I would like to say that I am not defending Michael Steele in this article; I'm pushing for Erick Erickson to be RNC Chair.
Not that we got that out of the way, back to Anuzis. The Victory program, which involved setting up call centers and identifying voters, was a mixed bag in my opinion. Millions of voters were identified via the VIctory program which helped campaigns to funnel resources in the right direction and helped GOTV efforts as well.
However, simply calling voters is not enough. Neither Steele or Anuzis identified the real problem - lack of GOTV efforts by precinct committeemen and county chairmen. Anuzis, in his announcement, does bring up the issue of the GOP "ground game":
I will be a nuts and bolts type of chairman, one who will concentrate on the fundamentals and ensure we properly develop and execute our ground game. It will be my goal to create an unprecedented organizational base, fully funded, to make more phone calls, knock on more doors, mail more material and compete on the airwaves to get our message across.
That's great, but when states like Illinois - which has about 51% of precincts absent - Anuzis' statement means nothing. Of the 49% of precincts that are filled in Illinois, how many of those precinct committeemen actually got out and knocked on doors? Not many I would gamble. And there seems to be no pressure on the county chairmen to fill empty precincts or to weed out the precinct committeemen that don't do anything other than show up at a meeting once a month. Losing some close state races - Bill Brady for Illinois Governor - Anuzis discusses were partially lost due to the lack of an adequate "ground game".
That's Illinois, but I openly wonder if this is a problem across the other states. The Victory program means nothing if there is nobody to knock on the doors and hand out literature. In my home county here in Illinois, which is very Republican friendly and has an active Tea Party, the Republican party walked every precinct within the city limits. Likewise, the Tea Party walked precincts, walked parades, and made phone calls on behalf of a Circuit Court judge. The results? Bill Brady won the county with 75.9% of the vote and the Judge won by over 5,000 votes - the largest margin in his 9 county area with a 58% county turnout.
In Illinois, we had a microcosm of the RINO vs conservative battle that took place in many of the primary races around the nation. We also saw "moderates" sit on their hands as some our conservative candidates lost (Bill Brady in particular) and we now get to see these same "moderates" wringing their hands in glee at the conservative candidates' defeats. I'm sure there are plenty of "moderates" basking in the glory of conservative defeats around the country as well. This turn of events worries me when someone running for RNC Chief states:
I will be a team player and work cooperatively with the NRSC, NRCC and RGA to elect more Republicans across our country. I will not take sides in the presidential primary contest but will be a reliable player that the eventual presidential nominee will be able to depend on, and work with closely and cooperatively through the presidential campaign.
Anuzis may not pick sides, but the NRSC and NRCC has a proven track record of taking sides. The RGA's track record is much better in my opinion. To work "cooperatively" with NRSC and NRCC is nothing more than tacitly agreeing to them picking the winners and losers so that their candidates better fit into the mold of the squish.
We need a conservative as RNC Chair. We need a RNC Chair that is going to put leverage on the state GOP Chairs to fill precincts - especially with committeemen that want to do something. We need a RNC Chair that doesn't just want wins, but quality wins with conservative candidates. We need a RNC Chair that understands that the pendulum has swung back in the direction of conservatism. We need a RNC Chair that will take on the Beltway mentality. We need a RNC Chair who really knows the GOTV effort. Anuzis does have a good point when he says our GOTV efforts are the best way to prevent being "overwhelmed by the efforts of the unions, the Obama campaign and all their allies".
Crossposted from Downstate Illinois Advocate