NewsNation | January 25, 2013
>>> charlotte for ways to expand its appeal in time for the next presidential election . within the last hour, the rnc re-electing priebus to party chairman .
>> we must compete in every state and every region, building relationships with communities we haven't before. at the rnc, we're dropping the red and blue state analysis. we must be a party concerned about every american and every neighborhood.
>> all right. so louisiana's governor jindal addressing members last night and today is making headlines for this very frank assessment.
>> we've got to stop being the stupid party . and i'm serious. it is time for a new republican party that talks like adults. it is time for us to articulate our plans and vision for america in real terms . we had a number of republicans that damaged the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. we have had enough of that.
>> we have real challenges and we did get whipped at the -- in the presidential election and that's not something that we take lightly.
>> meanwhile, the gop catching flack for proposed changes to the electoral college system that would make it easier for them to win presidential elections . republicans in michigan, ohio, pennsylvania and virginia want to award electoral college votes based on congressional districts . these are all gop controlled states that president obama won in the last two election cycles and our first read team writes, the republicans pushing the idea are all but acknowledging that their problems heading in to 2016 so significant they have to change the rules in order to win. in other words, they are throwing in the towel and trying to rig the system. let's talk more about this and bring in our political panel politico's anna palmer, strategist chris kofinis and msnbc contributor michael smerkonish. there's a lot to dive in this afternoon, big news this afternoon that priebus will stay as the head of rnc as they soul search what they want to be as a party moving forward, how to expand the tent doors there. take a listen to how haley barbour responded to the comments of governor jindal of the republicans being the party of stupid.
>> point he made is xlakt exactly right. when you consider what two candidates, indiana and iowa, the comments they made were stupid comments, offensive comments and today's world when a candidate in one state says something, the negative effect of that can spill over to lots of other candidates and bobby jindal was exactly right.
>> is this gop soul searching goes on, it's more about the actions of the party than it is the words. so what kind of deeds will this party put in place to show that they're willing to allow more people in instead of pushing people out?
>> not only, thomas, do they have to change their tone and stop being the party that is too old, too male, too white and too angry, but they need to change the nomination process because what i'm hearing thus far is all about the brand and they're not dealing with the fact that those candidates who play crazy, they win republican primaries . how do they win republican primaries ? because only idealogues take part in the process. they're still going to have them nominate something like christine o'donnell and then lose a general election .
>> looking at the party to look at in terms of their future, a lot of people are looking at their past and what they can learn from that. in "forbes" today they write about the republican idea machine saying it may be hard to remember but republicans were an idea machine and churned out innovative policy ideas for addressing public policy issues. today, not so much. the republicans seem to be a vacuum is the common complaint of friends on the right. is that the biggest thing to learn about the gop is that they're not really churning out the ideas anymore, what they say is no all the time to the big ideas coming up on the hill?
>> i think what we are seeing is on issues like immigration, for instance, a nonstarter, you know, in the past two years, that they're really now taking a -- trying to take a lead because they see this as one of the issues if they don't make inroads with the hispanic voters they will have a hard time winning in a lot of states and the presidency.
>> all right. so when you talk about getting out and expanding this tent, pr saying simple outreach will not suffice. let's stop talking about reaching out and start working on welcoming in. chris , they have an uphill battle coming to that because the damage has been done and this is not something that you can reverse overnight, is it?
>> no. i mean, if you look at the most recent nbc/" wall street journal " poll the favorable of the republicans is low. this is damage that's been building up for years. and what they have con fronted, i think, is this demographic and cultural shift in the country, moving to more progressive and moderate collection in terms of a lot of the social issues that the republican party used to use to divide and win elections. whether that was on abortion, whether that was on play marriage or immigration. the issues don't play very well anymore. they play well in maybe certain particular red states but not nationally and states to win for the senate or the president sane the question is in the months and years ahead, what will they do that's different on policy? no one knows because the reality is they're talking about window dressing and not substantive changes in policy.
>> talking about that, it's not so much the candidate, it's not so much the policy that might get them elected, it could be the rules in general because the other big talker today about the fact that there could be changes coming when -- the makeup of the electoral college system, specifically in virginia . now, we want to show everybody that the states proposing and considering these changes, virginia , ohio, michigan and pennsylvania. now, there is a key republican who opposes the electoral vote change. it's virginia state senator ralph smith telling the " roanoke times " he opposed the changes. calling it a bad idea. michael , is this the wrong approach? if the gop is trying to rebrand itself with big ideas and include people, getting the moniker or the label of being the underhanded people that are going to change the rules is not how they want to start the rebranding.
>> i think the romney campaign suffered in the recent election because there's a perception of many that the minority vote is being suppressed by the rule changes that were being put in to place in states like florida. we saw the long lines and scaled back the hours for voting and if this is perceived like that was, then it's a big net negative for the gop and one other thing, if this is successful in these states , i imagine there will be a move afoot in the country to say, let's just go popular vote everywhere. and that will benefit the democratic party long term because of the shifting demographics in this country.
>> there's a florida house speaker republican that doesn't agree with republican efforts around the country as we talk about these other four states but not agree with the efforts around the country to change up the way that the votes allocated and in the " miami herald ," in a football game , have three quarters because we were winning and beat us in the fourth. i don't think we need to change the rules of the game but get better. priebus just re-elected. chris , he says i think it's something that a lot of states that have been consistently blue that are fully controlled red ought to be looking at. it is not my decision from the rnc. that's for sure. he is the new leader of the rnc and it's -- aren't you looking for leadership? isn't leadership about casting the big vision? if you know this is an underhanded idea to change the rules, don't you look to leadership to say we shouldn't go about doing it this way? we need to win the old-fashioned way?
>> it is not even winning the old-fashioned way but winning elections the way they should be won. so i mean, it's petty politics at its worse. right? you lose an election they thought they were going to win and so let's change the rules so at least it gives us a better chance at winning. again, ignoring the problem. not how the electoral college is distributed. it's the fact that demographically they have major problems with women, with hispanics, the young voters, with key demographic blocs to determine which candidate and which party does well in the future and until they address that reality, they're gong to keep playing the political games that actually ends up alienating the very people they're trying to win over.
>> looking at immigration reform , anna, is that the only area where it's logical right now for republicans to take the lead in terms of owning that issue and trying to provide something that makes common sense , that's a compromised approach with democrats but looks like they're on the forefront of that and leading and not being dragged in to some kind of compromise so that they can get the latino vote and people breasted back in their party ?
>> i think it is one of the key issues that you are going to see. i mean, we have already seen senator rubio try to lead on and this and talk to conservative radio folks and try to get their -- some forward offense there to get cover if they do a grand bargain and heard today governor jindal said it's time to really throw the playbook. he wants to try and really start to rewrite the way on fiscal policy an says, you know, you can't be owned by washington. you will see the 2016 candidates trying to come up with some new ideas different maybe than the standard gop party line .
>> coming out of the gate calling them stupid, michael , the best way to get people to rally behind you like bobby jindal might be in.
>> it probably helps you with the electorate but it doesn't help you with the party apparatus that you need to put together that nomination battle.
>> stupid is as stupid does and makes headlines, that's for sure.
>> it does.
>> thanks so much. i appreciate