A whole lot of cooks

A WHOLE LOT OF COOKS…. About a year before the 2008 presidential election, many on the right decided that what Republicans really needed were membership groups like MoveOn.org. So, groups were formed en masse. Freedom’s Watch, the Coalition for a Conservative Majority, The Vanguard, Victory Caucus, some Gingrich outfit, FreedomWorks, Reagan 21, Move America Forward, and a revitalized Citizens For The Republic all said they could duplicate the bottom-up success on the left (with a top-down model).

They didn’t. None of these groups had any significant impact on the elections, some have since collapsed, and a few struggled to get beyond an initial press release. Republicans’ problems have been systemic and overwhelming, and these organizations were irrelevant.

A half-year after the elections, the right has decided what Republicans really need are a series of new organizations committed to rebranding and renewing the struggling party. David Weigel put together a terrific list of the various groups that intended to get the GOP back on track. Weigel’s analysis is well worth reading, but here’s just the names on the list:

* Rebuild the Party

* The Center for Republican Renewal

* Young Conservatives Coalition

* The Tea Party movement

* Renewing American Leadership

* Resurgent Republic

* The National Council for a New America

Five of the seven have kicked off their efforts since late February. One of the seven, the Republican National Committee’s Center for Republican Renewal, has already disbanded. Six of the seven are reportedly making plans and getting organized, but it’s still very much unclear what they want to do, what they’re going to do, and why anyone should care.

None of the groups seem interested in dragging the party away from the far-right cliff; none have a credible policy agenda; and none have come up with a way to convince party members that their initiative has any practical value.

Getting committed partisans together to consider engineering a GOP comeback makes sense. But if these outfits have any impact at all over the next couple of years, it will be a big surprise.