Look. There’s no question that Republicans need a serious messaging overhaul, because while courting the same group of rich old white dudes worked for the first forty years of said demographic’s life, the fact of the matter is that these rich old white dudes will certainly become residents of high-rent nursing homes in the near future, where they will droolingly sign off on absentee Democratic ballots filled out by nurses aides and minimum wage workers, while the Democratic party neatly sews up low-information reality television audiences. The future is passing the GOP by.
Which is why, at their annual retreat, they decided to have a special panel on how to reach young, female and minority voters. A noble plight. But perhaps, it was not the best idea to hold said panel in a room named after a famous family of 18th century slaveholders.
After a tough election season and an equally tough lame duck session of Congress, House Republicans are regrouping at an image makeover retreat in Williamsburg, Va. this week.
But it’s not looking so good.
Reporters quickly noted that a session for lawmakers called “Discussion on Successful Communication with Minorities and Women” will actually take place in the “Burwell Plantation” room at the resort where the retreat is being held.
It turns out, according to NBC News, the room “is named after the Burwell Family, a wealthy family that owned many slaves in 18th century Southern Virginia.”
They may not have picked the room, but perhaps, next time, it would serve to research the potential deep ironies that might occur as a result of the themed hotel ballroom names. And, regardless of the excuses that could be made in regards to poor event management, there really is no excuse to be made for including only two women in your discussion group (which also included two nearly identical looking old white dudes), whose names the spokesperson couldn’t even remember. Thankfully, he rectified that oversight by referring to them by their employer and their husband, respectively, as though that would not set off any alarms among rational human beings of modern stature.
Frankly, as someone who is marginally Republican, in the sense that I occasionally have to vote for them to avoid a greater evil, I’m embarrassed we even have to have this discussion, because you know what happened in that room. Or at least, you can picture the resultant improv skit, in which, during the course of one of the more awkward conference room scenarios from The Office, at least one person reminded the rest of the attendees that he, indeed, “has some black friends.”
After all, the ultimate problem with having the GOP address its communication failures, is allowing them to talk about their communications failures. Because the only thing worse than a Republican not talking about women and minorities is probably a Republican talking about women and minorities.