Mitchell Reports | March 15, 2013
>>> joining me now it talk about the republican party 's past vgts present and future, is michael gerson , editorial columnist for the wp wp and former bush speechwriter. this is an interesting time and an inflection point for the republican party . because it's a few months after losing and now they're meeting and they seem to be ratifying all of their oldest instincts or previous instincts and not talking about changing for the future.
>> well it's hard to view cpac as indicative of the republican future.
>> what is cpac 's role? how important, is it still relevant is it still determinative?
>> i don't think it's determinative. the last two republican candidates were romney and mccain.
>> they both won the cpac poll in the year before they won the nomination.
>> that's true, but they weren't necessarily people that would have gotten the most cheers at cpac . in a variety of settings, there's a certain realism about the broader republican party about its future that you might not hear, an applause meter at cpac . but there were divergent perspectives, you had rand paul who is very much organized his speech around the fear of government and its attack on civil liberties and you had marco rubio who organized his speech on outreach to middle class people and talked about a family that he knows and how do you reach independent voters. it was a conservative speech but it was an outreach speech. both of them got a lot of applause and that argument is going to continue in the republican context for couple of years in palestinian to the primaries.
>> what about them not inviting chris christie . arguably the most popular republican with a lot of people and has off-the-charts popularity in his home state?
>> i think it was a terrible mistake and if the republican party doesn't have a future that includes people like rubio, who can win in a state like new jersey then the republican party doesn't have --
>> you mean chris christie .
>> so in terms of chris christie , is he too much of an outlier? are more moderate republicans from the northeast, from blue states impossible as potential candidates?
>> i don't i don't think necessarily impossible. we just had one from massachusetts.
>> and look what happened.
>> look what happened. that's what the critics would say. but i don't think that it's regional. obviously republicans have huge regional problems, they're going to have to be a national party or they're not going to be able to compete in national elections. that's true of hispanics and true of lower income white voters and true of other regions of the country where they have get some votes, that's the reality.
>> senator portman's statement about gay marriage , this is an outlier position with the republican party . but it is a 51% approval position within the broader sweep of america according to our polling.
>> it may be an outliar position, but it's a particularly important one. rob portman is one of the most respected republican voices in washington, i worked with him, he's a person of faith, a person of integrity. he's incapable of grandstanding. this is a deep person conviction that he came to. i think that's likely to be very persuasive with many of his colleagues. it's a symbol of what's been happening in large parts of the country as people have come out of the closet. this issue has become more personal, not abstract. it's become more human. and as that happens, tolerance on these issues has become the norm. and there's now you know moving towards gay rights on marriage in many parts of the country.
>> what would you say to cpac and its conveners?
>> well i'm not sure whattoid say to them. what republicans have to do is they have to find ways to persuade in that room. that don't preclude them from per situating outside the room. that's what i think that rubio's remarks were more impressive. he got enthusiasm from that crowd in a variety of ways with a message that you can imagine communicating more broadly. you know rand paul got a lot of applause with a message that i can't imagine communicating more broadly and that's the choice republicans will have.
>> thank you very much michael gerson , good to see you.