Michael Bowen: GOP "Autopsy" Reads Like It Was Written By Thomas Dewey

tags: Republican Party, National Review, GOP, Michael Bowen, Thomas Dewey



Michael Bowen is the author of The Roots of Modern Conservatism.

The Republican National Committee’s “autopsy” of the 2012 election, the work of the Growth and Opportunity Project, has received a great deal of criticism from conservatives since its release on Monday. Their general take seems to be that, as Brent Bozell put it, establishment Republicans are trying to “out-Democrat” the Democrats.

While it remains to be seen how much buy-in the report will receive from the Right, it is worth noting that the proposed solutions parallel those offered by establishment Republicans immediately after World War II. Since the GOP had been in power when the economy collapsed in 1929, many voters equated it with the poverty and suffering of the Great Depression. Franklin D. Roosevelt did nothing to disabuse the public of this notion while he built the Democratic party into a liberal juggernaut.

With Roosevelt’s death and the end of hostilities in 1945, politics started to normalize, and the Republicans developed a new plan for victory. That year, RNC chairman Herbert Brownell and the 1944 presidential nominee, Thomas Dewey, hired pollster Claude Robinson to assess the party’s image with an eye to the 1948 election....




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