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Opinion: Columnists

A memo for RNC Chairman Reince Preibus

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Photo - Chairman of the Rebpulican National Convention Reice Preibus gavels the second session of the Republican National Convention to order in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Chairman of the Rebpulican National Convention Reice Preibus gavels the second session of the Republican National Convention to order in Tampa, Fla., on Tuesday, Aug. 28, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Congratulations, Mr. Chairman, on a successful, though of course disappointing, first term as leader of the Republican National Committee. The result wasn't what any of us wanted, but the RNC did its job of raising money, staging a convention and mobilizing volunteers across the country. The deep disappointment over Mitt Romney's loss has staggered many, but they will bounce back within weeks, and you will have an enormous number of decisions to make.

The first decision -- whether you would run again to be chairman -- has been made, and serious Republicans are very pleased that you are willing. At age 41, you can handle at least two more years of the constant abuse that comes from the many sectors of the party that find reasons to be perpetually unhappy.

I'd like to make four suggestions that, if adopted, would go far to cheer the troops as they get ready for a long four years of principled resistance to, and occasional decent compromise with, the president and his party.

First, designate a special counsel to review every allegation of voter fraud and to opine on whether it raised serious questions or simply represented a far more effective get-out-the-vote effort on the part of the Obama campaign. I am deluged with allegations about which I can do nothing, and of course the worst parts of the Left will attribute it all to conservatives' paranoia, etc. To answer questions and to prep for 2014, 2016 and beyond, a report to the chairman on allegations of fraud would be a very useful thing if it arrived, say, by the end of March 2013.

Next, lead an autopsy on the GOP get-out-the-vote effort and those of the super-PACs. What worked? What failed? Did ORCA beach early, and if so, why? Were the various groups in the field -- and there were many -- effective at organizing their targeted groups? Quality control for the new cycle depends on quality assessment of the one just complete. That is your job.

Third, please designate the 2016 primary debate calendar sometime in 2013 -- yes, that early -- and announce that you will be selecting the panelists for the GOP primary debates. Looking back over 2012, we see that George Stephanopoulos' Jan. 8, 2012, question on contraception at a GOP primary debate was the opening of the Democratic campaign. Stephanopoulos is a fine television host, but he was and remains a Democratic partisan as I am a GOP partisan. I don't expect to host Democratic primary debates, but I do expect a seat at the table when Republicans gather, as should some of my friends on the radio dial, at NationalReview.com, Powerlineblog.com, Townhall.com etc. Fair-minded MSMers should be welcome, of course, but please, no more riding blind into box canyons organized by, for and through Manhattan-Beltway media elites interested in wounding the GOP nominee. You and the RNC should schedule the debates and make them available to networks, and you should decide when and where they will be held.

These early debates frame the entire race and help or hurt our nominee. We have to start recognizing the reality of this as opposed to pretending that the MSM is remotely fair.

Finally, please designate Cleveland as site of the August 2016 convention and get on with planning it. This will bring the GOP to the key state just as the Cavs are coming off their second championship, the Tribe is headed for a repeat appearance in the playoffs and the Browns, owned by the brother of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and likely big player in 2016 -- are opening their defense of a Super Bowl title. There might be some thunderstorms and even an occasional tornado, but no hurricanes blow in off Lake Erie.

Welcome back. Your willingness to serve again is a bright spot in a dreary month, and good things are ahead.

Examiner Columnist Hugh Hewitt is a professor at Chapman University Law School and a nationally syndicated radio talk show host who blogs daily at HughHewitt.com.

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