The RNC and the Yankees have a lot in common. They both are teams that rise and fall with their ability to attract good players and fans. They thrive on teamwork and can only be sustained by winning and staying competitive.
George Steinbrenner the once iconic owner of the Yankees knew that in order to attract fans to sit in the stands he had to have a first-class team on the field. The RNC must have that same credo. To attract voters they must have qualified candidates. And, to elect qualified candidates it must draft a robust party of members and workers.
The Yankees have administrators, managers, public relations experts, trainers, scouts, a farm team, deep bench, and starters. The team management knows that its players have a short team life. Professional baseball is an opportunity — not a lifelong career for many.
The RNC would be wise to follow the Steinbrenner model. It needs first-class administrators who will map out a five-year plan and not merely rise and fall with election cycles. It needs managers who attract women, African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Jews, etc. It also needs scouts to recruit new talent to run for office.
A mayor helped today could be a congressman in two years. A state assemblywoman today could be a governor in three years. They need leadership of the RNC to impose term limits on it members to insure upward mobility and opportunity for others to serve as leaders and elected officials. The RNC also needs to attract members willing to work within the party structure to attract and maintain membership.
The RNC should also needs a farm team — a stable if you will — of qualified talent to move up within the ranks to the ‘big leagues.” The best big league players are the ones who have toiled in the fields and learned the lessons of governing or participating in the party process.
The RNC should shorten the presidential primary season and increase the number of delegates to its convention. It should also impose a restriction on serving as a delegate to the national convention. A person should only be allowed to serve as a delegate for two consecutive conventions. This would allow sufficient turnover to allow other party faithful to participate. At the 2012 RNC Convention I had one delegate brag to me that this was his fifth consecutive GOP Convention. Likewise, an entrenched 10-term congressman prevents others from serving and stifles party sustainability and growth.
In the aftermath of the 2012 election cycle the RNC should be focused on the midterm elections of 2014. Here are some additional things the RNC should be doing ASAP:
- Take a full and complete assessment of the staff and their mission;
- Appoint a co-chair for membership, recruitment and retainment. This person’smission would be to attract new members with an emphasis on certain key demographic groups.
- Appoint a finance co-chairman who is respected and has the ability to raise the necessary funds needed to rebuild the party's coffers and amass the funds needed for 2014;
- Appoint to the level of co-chairman a technology guru who can revolutionize the way the RNC uses current and new technologies with an emphasis on registration, fundraising, voter outreach, mining, targeting and information providing. Raising a technologically skilled man or woman to the level of co-chairman will signal how important technology is to the party;
- Hire a top executive headhunter, (scout), who can build an office within the RNC to identify talent from around the country to run for office and be worthy of national support. Just like sports teams who employ talent scouts, the RNC should have a scouting office constantly looking for, attracting and supporting political talent. All state party chairmen should be involved in identifying, fostering and supporting future leaders;
- Undertake a full and complete audit and assessment of the current RNC payroll and budget;
- Hire a well-respected and effective chief operating officer with the mission to run the RNC like a business. The emphasis should be on building a lean, mean and effective entity that is results oriented in every department;
- Create a five-year business plan. The vision of the new chairman must extend beyond his own 2-year tenure. For the RNC to be successful it must be as effective between election cycles as it is during election cycles;
- Announce a 2016 convention team as soon as possible. This will allow the best possible planning, budgeting, fundraising and contracting well in advance of the convention;
- Create a close and integrated relationship with all state party chairs with specific attention placed on "battleground" states;
- Maintain a first-class communications team that will develop, coordinate, and disseminate the RNC message;
- Review all outside consultant contracts;
- Get to work now on a 2014 battle plan. Be sure to take into account a full assessment of what was done in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2012. What worked? What didn't? What needs to be done differently or better?
The RNC would be wise to follow the Yankees' model in retooling itself. Steinbrenner knew that the right talent increases the probability of having a winning season, which in turn puts fans in the seats.
While you can’t win every game, you can always be competitive with the right team on the field.
Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University and a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. Read more reports from Bradley Blakeman — Click Here Now.
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