Jeff Deckman’s Five Point Plan for Rebuilding the RI GOP

In Tuesday’s Projo, former Rhode Island GOP Executive Director Jeff Deckman proposed a five-point plan for rebuiliding the Republican Party in Rhode Island (h/t SusanD)…

  • Step One: The governor must take a strong leadership role in the re-organization of the party just as he did in his first two years in office.
  • Step Two: Recruit a chairman who understands the complexities of organizational design and the human dynamics that affect them.
  • Step Three: Build the organization bi-directionally — from the top down and from the grass-roots level up.
  • Step Four: Build coalitions with taxpayer groups and other reform-minded organizations.
  • Step Five: Focus the resources.
Mr. Deckman goes into specifics about each recommendation in his article.

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brassband
brassband
14 years ago

I found it interesting that his plan was basically all “process” and very thin on “ideas.”
When Newt Gingrich built towards the big victory of 1994, he did so by developing a central set of ideas that ultimately became the “Contract With America.”
Candidate Carcieri talked about the “Big Audit,” and it really resonated with the voters.
Here’s what Republicans need to do. Get people thinking about the top ten things that you would do if you controlled the General Assembly. Thinking along those lines forces candidates and leadership to think about governing, not just campaigning.
Is there hunger among the electorate for change? We’ll never know unless we give them some real concrete proposals.

George
George
14 years ago

Notice he avoids the most important point of raising money and finacially supporting candidates. Perhaps because he and others who have run the party in recent history performed so poorly in that area.
Please, if you ran for office in 2006 as a Republican, post here how much money you got (and when you got it) from the RI Republican State Central Committee…

tony
tony
14 years ago

not to throw cold water on mr. deckman’s five-point plan, but if this is the best the former executive director of the party can come up with, then democrats should consider celebrating christmas a few days early
brassband is dead on. the reason that the rigop is so woefully inept is b/c it’s focussed way too much on “The party” and not enough on ideas. here’s a question: what does the rigop stand for? does it have a platform? will it offer anything different than the democrats? why would any reform group attach itself to the sickly dog that is the rigop?
it seems to me that the rigop simply wants to be the ones with their names after the words “majority leader” or “incumbent”; it has no ideas, no inspiring leaders, and therefore no relevance to the average rhode islander. mr. dekman’s “strategy” reflects that.
take “step three”:
build the organization bi-directionally to “build momentum within the party”?! “The Party” is made up of less than 15% of the population. who cares if you build momentum within “The Party”. who cares if you energize the dozen or so log cabin republicans or the 3 young republicans.so what if town committees are activated and given goals? you’re still only dealing with a committee of 10 – 20 people.
i’m not even going to bring up the fact that nowhere in mr. deckman’s article does he bring up the need to reach OUTSIDE of “The Party”. if his insular strategy is followed, the rigop will NOT be competitive in 12 months, 24 months, or 48 months.

Will
14 years ago

I’m not going to bash Jeff, because from my conversations with him, I know he’s well-intentioned, and actually does want to (re)build the party (of course, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but I digress). That being said, all of his recommendations would have been great things to have taken action on while he was actually in the employ of the RIGOP, if the so-called state party leadership had let him. What perhaps isn’t being acknowledged is that the task ahead is going to require that we start from scratch. We are trying to build an iceberg with ice cubes. Our sense of scale is totally wrong. Yes, having some “top/down” apparatus is fine, but up until very recently, any involvement from the “bottom” (i.e. the grassroots), has been — how can I put it — treated like how one might treat a leper. Other than some good people (and also some not so good ones), we have little else to our credit. Even the idea of building a party around common ideals or principles is shunned by far too many in our party. Why else even have a party? Having been a delegate to the RI Republican State Central Committee for the last four years certainly hasn’t made me any more confident about our future prospects. We’ve been treading water and not really getting anywhere. I’ve known more than a few Republicans who’ve simply giving up on the party — and I’d be lying if I said I blame them. I’m still involved with the party because of two things: Ronald Reagan, and what the party might be in the future; not what it is now. I’m hopeful (though not entirely confident yet). I’m going to save any more specific remarks for a letter to the… Read more »

Sean
Sean
14 years ago

Jeff forgot one more. Don’t go on the radio to “leak” information about a private meeting you knew about to expose information that could be damaging ( whether it is true or not ) to a major Republican leader in Rhode Island. There is NOTHING positive that can come of such an ill-conceived stunt.

Ben
Ben
14 years ago

Maybe if the party boss (Da Govna) would go around the state and actually listen to the suggestions of the few working-class (not the lawyers, consultants and corporate big-wigs) Republicans out there, it may give them a feeling that they have a role in the success of the party. As it is, only the select few ever get the chance to be part of the discussions and the select few are the same old guard that are preserving the Party, not serving the state.
There are lots of good ideas among republicans in the state, maybe if the fat cats will stop to listen they will help the grassroots republicans feel like the belong! Most of us are Republicans because of a deep commitment to the philosophy, unfortunately, the leadership appears to have a different agenda.

Anthony
Anthony
14 years ago

I think that Jeff makes several valid points. I would only add: 1. Brassband is right that the RI GOP needs to develop and publish platform. Many people may not recall it, but the whole point of conventions in the past was not only to endorse candidates but to publish a party platform. However, I disagree with brassband on the number of issues. We don’t need to find the top ten issues. I’d limit the issues to three positions that become associated with RI Republicans. It might be difficult to attain consensus on ten issues and might also confuse the voters. Gingrich did 10, but he hd to picked out 10 issues because some were more popular in different regions and he needed a national platform. You want voters to know exactly what they are voting for when the vote for a Republican. And note, I said the positions need to be associated with RI Republicans, not the RI Republican Party. When the RI GOP selects the issues, it must do so with the understanding that the issues must appeal to voters in those districts most likely to vote for a Republican candidate. 2. Now onto the RI GOP and money. The party will always give more money and support to legislative candidates in years when there are no statewide or federal races. Retaining the governorship was more important than electing local Republicans this year. Now let’s look at a typical RI GOP conversation- Person #1: “The RI GOP doesn’t give any money to candidates or support its candidates enough” Person #2: “Well, how much money have you given personally to the RI GOP?” Person #1: “I don’t give anything because they won’t use it in the right ways anyway.” See the problem? As with any organization, input coming from… Read more »

Spencer Maguire
Spencer Maguire
14 years ago

My favorite political science professor in college once told me a story about an interview he did with an uber-lefty New Jersey legislator. The legislator strangely had a nice framed picture of Richard Nixon prominently displayed in his office. When asked about it, he explained to the good professor that many Dem legislators in NJ owed their seats to Richard Nixon. As a GOP candidate who ran this year in one of the most unfortunate districts in the state (our unofficial town historian says the GOP has never held the seat), I have many opinions about what went right and what went wrong this year. This was without doubt the worst year to have an R next to your name since Nixon was around, and while there was more that I could have done (we can always do more), there isn’t much. I raised the money ($30K), knocked on all the doors, wrote the letters to the editor, etc… I topped out at just a shade under 43%, but all things considered it was a good showing and I am ready to run again and win the seat next time. The reason our G.A. candidates lost this time are many: several were not very good candidates to begin with (didn’t raise money & didn’t knock on doors), some were running in really bad districts (there are no-go areas for Rs in this state, like the Al Anbar province is for our military), and some lost close races due to the ticket-pullers. Look at the East Bay. I really thought that we had a chance to pick up a couple of seats but all of us came up short (I got 43%, Hamel 48%, Ottianno 45%, and Robitaille lost by 9 votes). On the other hand, some were let down by… Read more »

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
14 years ago

Hi! The GOP iis its own worse enemy in Rhode Island in many ways.No doubt I will be called part of the problem and not part of the solution. I am not certain that the Republicans at least not in any forseeable future can go toe to toe with the Democrats throughout Rhode Island but improvements can be made. I am not being a pessimist but the political deterioration of the GOP will be difficult to repair in many cases.Local ward,city,and town committees need to be reinvigorated with assistance from the state party..Also rank and file Republicans need to feel they are actually listened to by the state party. In many Rhode Island communities the local GOP committees are institutionally weak. They need to be reinvigorated. We need to avoid going after”trophy” people who may look good on paper unless they have the fire in the belly and have the ability to work with others.Doing this political chore demands the expenditure of time and willing to expend it.We need party leaders who are capable and make the party a priority. I do not like Patricia Morgan but I do see an possible improved future for the Rhode Island GOP just with her exiting as party chair in Rhode Island. I do hope that even though he will be term limited the Governor tries to grow the party. One great starting point for the GOP is Warwick and Cranston.Take Warwick for example.They have had a Republican Mayor for years.Many of their GOP city council candidates did well in 2006 despite the tide.Warwick is a good place to make a serious effort.In Cranston where historically the Mayor is usually Republican is a great place for a Republican resurgence.These two cities need to be focused on as well as other Rhode Island communities.… Read more »

Tom W
Tom W
14 years ago

>>Take Warwick for example.They have had a Republican Mayor for years.
Chafee? Avedisian? I guess it depends upon how you define “Republican.”
>>Cranston where historically the Mayor is usually Republican is a great place for a Republican resurgence.
As to Laffey, a valid comment. As the his “Republican” predecessors, same comment as with Warwick.
Those “RINOpublicans” are the reason why the Party is virtually extinct in this State.

tony
tony
14 years ago

spencer, i really have to disagree with you and again with jeff deckman who as an organizational consultant should recognize that in order for a corporation to be successful, it has to actually know what it’s in business for and/or what it’s selling before you establish any sort of board or invest in any office space. with that in mind, what is the rigop offering? what is it in business for? POWER. that’s it. and that’s not good. hell, i could start my own political party in a week based on deckman’s suggestions on “organization building” step 1. chairman: ok, i nominate my dog. he’s a siberian husky and he’s always been the lead dog. who cares if no one can understand him when he barks since my party doesn’t stand for anything and therefore doesn’t need to communicate anything. step 2. build the organization bi-directionally: no problem. since this is all about organization building, even the most arbitrary commonalities should prove sufficient to build upon, i’ll just start by approaching people who are wearing the same color shirt on the street as me and tell them i don’t stand for anything and that i have a proven track record of failure. hopefully they won’t care because they’ll look beyond that and see that my chairman is a real hard-working selfless type who loves to be pet. step 3. (this shouldn’t be a separate step: i think the author just thought a five step plan was more weighty than a simple four or three point plan) so…repeat step three but instead of approaching random orange-clad pedestrians, i’ll approach small irrelevant groups of people who like me, also have track records of futility and hopefully convince them that if they align themselves with me they’ll more than double their failure rate… Read more »

Shawn Masterson
Shawn Masterson
14 years ago

Huh? The bottom line is that there is no clear image or message from the RIGOP. The Democrats were able to make gains in this cycle because they had a clear message–“Change”
Most of the races were close. Two things to consider 1) this is not a doom and gloom situation 2) next cycle there will be no casino questions, the Pres, race is not a factor in RI and there will be no really contentious race (unless one of two people challenge Rep. Langevin)3) We need to present a clear message–“Do the right thing”
Take a look at Warwick. Already the City Council is fighting about who will lead the council–they, all dems, can’t work together or even communicate once in office. I, as a Republican, always have been and always will be about doing the right thing.
Let’s get a replacement for Ms. Morgan and move on. There are a some very good people out there–Sue Stenhouse for one.
And by the way, I ran for city council in Warwick and received not money from the state party.

Tim
Tim
14 years ago

Sean, is someone a major Republican leader in the state when they can’t even win their own voting precinct in a Republican primary? Ouch!!
More kool-aid for Sean please.
Jeff Deckman has some very good ideas. Sadly the Republican party in Rhode Island will not grow until the end game is about ALL Republicans winning rather than personal agendas and score settling during election season.

leon
leon
14 years ago

heard it all before.where’s the beef? where’s the substance in what jd is proposing? sounds like a bunch of hot air and probably is.

SusanD
SusanD
14 years ago

Spencer and Shawn are correct.
No one has all the answers; no one is claiming to. It’s a team effort. (Newsflash!)

Joe Mahn
Joe Mahn
14 years ago

When a building is in this kind of disrepair there is only one solution. Tear the bloody thing down, burn what remains, level the scorched earth, and then bring in a good architect.
Jeff Deckman is all three monkeys… he’s deaf, dumb and blind, and … he is not an architect.
Anyone can come up with a plan. It just shouldn’t be someone who was part of what screwed things up in the first place. Next they’ll be telling us Karl Rove is coming to RI to “help.” Dooo!!!
J Manh

Scott Bill Hirst
Scott Bill Hirst
14 years ago

Hi!
The mechanical/organizational aspect is important but the Rhode Island State GOP establishment needs to REFLECT AND ACT on why so many grass roots Republicans are disillusioned with them!
Enough said!
Scott

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