The Republican National Committee learned several lessons from its disastrous losses to President Obama and Democrats in the 2012 election. Chief among them is that the GOP must spend money in a very different way.
The RNC has always stockpiled most of the cash it raises each election cycle until the final 90 days of the campaign, then unleashes it on last-minute attack ads and get-out-the-vote operations. What the GOP learned from Obama and the Democrats, though, was that money spent up front in a campaign can pay bigger dividends at the end.
Republicans now say they'll spend much of their money in the 2014 elections early, using it to build their grassroots networks, strengthen outreach efforts to minorities and beef up both their digital and field operations.
"Things have changed," RNC spokesperson Sean Spicer wrote in a memo outlining the new spending strategy. "That [former] strategy is both outdated and ineffective."
The re-imagined template for the RNC's spending is intended to address a number of party weaknesses revealed in the post-election "autopsy" the party did on its 2012 performance. That study found that Republicans lagged behind Democrats in data and digital strategies and community-level organizing.
"We can’t parachute in a few days before voters head to the polls," Spicer said. "We have do the work now — and we are."
JEB TELLS GOP TO LISTEN
Many Republicans are betting that their opposition to the troubled Obamacare rollout is a ticket to re-election in 2014, but former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush says that's not so.
Instead of focusing only on what they oppose, Republicans must offer solutions for issues voters care about, like immigration reform, education and family values.
"We're a center-right country, but conservatives won't govern again soon unless we ... get outside our comfort zones to listen," Bush said recently at the Jack Kemp Award Dinner in Washington.
Bush, the brother and son of former presidents, is rumored to be weighing his own presidential bid in 2016. And his latest message for his party is right out of the playbook of other former and current Republican governors who harbor presidential ambitions, like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. To shift voters' focus from what they call a "dysfunctional Congress," the governors are stressing policy triumphs and open-mindedness as a way of attracting voters and improving the GOP's national brand.
"We have strayed away from the politics of winning, from the politics of opportunity and from achieving the governing needed to accomplish big things," Bush said.
A FISHY STORY IN WYOMING
The tale of Dick Cheney and Mike Enzi is like any good fish story: There's a nugget of truth in there somewhere.
The two long-time pols from Wyoming are locked in a fierce fight now that Cheney's daughter, Liz, is trying to unseat Enzi, the incumbent Republican senator, in the 2014 Republican primary.
It started when Enzi expressed shock that Cheney was trying to push him out of office. It didn't seem possible, he said, because he and Dick are "fishing buddies." They competed together in a fly fishing tournament on the Snake River, Enzi said.
But Cheney, an avid fly fisherman, denied ever fishing with Enzi, who Cheney suggested had a problem with truth-telling.
“Well, Mike also said he and I are fishing buddies, which is simply not true," Cheney said on ABC's "This Week." "Never happened”
Cheney is lying, said Enzi, who was mayor of Gillette, Wyo., when Cheney was in Congress. "We have a relationship thing," Enzi told Politico.
“I anchored the One Fly Fishing Contest with him one time, and I was asked to speak at his induction in the Fly Fishing Hall of Fame,” Enzi said. “And we’ve talked about fishing when we’ve been together.”