House Republicans elected a woman to their top leadership team Wednesday after losing support of the majority of female voters in the November elections.
U.S. automakers of a past generation were known for sticking a new grill on an old car and calling it a new model.
While the vehicle may have looked slightly different, the changes were only superficial. The parts that made the car stop and go didn’t change much. Neither did performance and quality.
Republicans would do well to consider the transformation of the domestic auto industry as they set about to reinvent themselves for the next set of national elections. Patronizing women and minorities through superficial pandering won’t change the fundamental problem with voters. The GOP needs to go back to the drafting table and redraw many of its policies.
Whether party leaders have the will to make fundamental changes, however, remains to be seen. Many House members have shown little in the way of compromise.
On Wednesday, House Republicans elected Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., to their No. 4 leadership position. Their choice of Rodgers over conservative favorite Tom Price, of Georgia, should come as no surprise after the Nov. 6 election.
That is not to say that Rodgers will not make a positive impact or that more diverse leadership is not needed. But if Republicans are to have a strong future, change cannot stop with Rodgers’ appointment.
In the presidential race, Democrats held an 11-point margin over Republicans. Despite great optimism before the elections, the GOP lost two seats in the Senate and gave up as many as eight seats in the House, with the results of some races still uncertain.
The sight of a sea of white males at the Republican National Convention contrasted sharply to the diversity witnessed at the Democrats’ gathering. In the end, President Obama outpaced Republican Mitt Romney 332-206 in electoral votes.
Drawing female and minority voters will require more than window dressing. It will require more than just selecting a few token representatives, sticking them in front of the cameras and saying, “Come see the new and improved GOP!”
Republicans will have to make policy changes that address issues facing a broader audience of voters, including women and minorities. Republicans will have to do more than slap a new grill on an old car and call it a new model.