There must have been some interesting water-cooler talk at the RNC when it became time for its much-ballyhooed 2013 Growth and Opportunity Project (better known as the “rebranding” project) to issue its one-year progress report (yeah, they claim it’s an “independent panel,” but we all know whose staff wrote the thing). What would they say about the most-reported recommendations having to do with adjusting the party’s message in a way that would attract hostile but increasingly critical young and minority voters? I mean, after all, Republican House members and conservative activists pretty much gave a two-word response, particularly when it came to immigration reform legislation: “Hell” and “No!”

The “one year check-up,” as it happens, conflates the demographic adjustment with a mechanical effort to deploy field staff, as though the substance of the party message is irrelevant. But for the most part, it dwells on the other stuff: data collection and technology, and changes in the GOP presidential primary process.

It kinda reminds me of that scene in the movie Moonstruck when the character played by Cher is in the confessional, and says: “I took the Lord’s name in vain three times, sleptwithmyfiancee’sbrother, and bounced a check at the liquor store.” The priest replies: “That’s not a sin if it wasn’t deliberate…. What was that middle part again?”

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.