CBS Host Bob Schieffer Frets: How Does GOP Prevent Another Goldwater ‘Historic Landslide’ in 2016?

CBS’s Bob Schieffer did his best to play up the supposed divide that exists within the Republican Party following the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA).

During an interview on Sunday, June 15 with Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee, the Face the Nation host wondered “Goldwater lost the [1964] election in a historic landslide. How do you prevent that from happening?” [See video below.] 

The CBS host’s comments came after Priebus insisted that the future of the Republican Party was strong: 

We're heading in to mid-term Bob, we all know this. We can keep discussing the Republican Party. We're going to add seats to the House, so our majority is going to go grow and I think most people out there believe that we've got better than 50-50 chance of winning the U.S. Senate. We're doing about everything you need to do to keep winning. The fact is, we didn't beat incumbent president in 2012. We're winning everywhere else. The future is very solid and I think this year is going to be great year far our party. 

Schieffer then attempted to portray the GOP as being in a state of disarray and proceeded to compare them to the 1964 Republican Party: 

So much of it reminds me of 1964, maybe I'm the oldest person around, and I probably am and maybe only one old enough to remember that. But I remember a Republican Party where you had Republican moderates mostly in the east headed by Nelson Rockefeller and then you had western conservatives headed by Barry Goldwater. Those two factions never came together and Goldwater lost the election in a historic landslide. How do you prevent that from happening?

For his part, the RNC Chairman did not accept Schieffer premise that the GOP is headed towards a “historic landslide” and shot back: 

You do what we're doing at the national level. You become a four-year period. You get in communities nonstop. But the fact is, where are we not winning, Bob? What state governor's races are we not winning? What House races are we not winning?

After the CBS host proclaimed “What you’re not winning is the last presidential election” Priebus concluded by arguing “An incumbent president with a country that said 50-50 right track, wrong track. That is not shocking that an incumbent president did win.”  

See relevant transcript below. 


CBS

Face the Nation

June 15, 2014

BOB SCHIEFFER: If the Republican Party is not divided, then do I take it you're all for immigration reform or you’re all against it? 

REINCE PRIEBUS: The Democrats don’t agree on everything either. 

SCHIEFFER: No, of course not. But I'm asking about your party?

PRIEBUS: Yeah, but no I don't think so. I think that if you look at, if you Google Ted Cruz, if you Google Rand Paul and immigration, what you'll find is that even Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have been out there publicly calling for serious immigration reform. In fact Rand Paul on March 19th went to the Hispanic Chamber said we need comprehensive immigration reform. Those are his words not mine. I think there is consensus that the immigration system is broken, but how to fix it is another issue. And if Harry Reid says it’s my way or the highway, well guess what, it's not going to happen. 

SCHIEFFER: Well, people like Lindsey Graham said there ought to be path to citizenship where the immigrants who are in this country right now. Would most Republicans agree with that?

PRIEBUS: I'm not sure about that. But as chairman of this party I think that what we have to do is more fundamental than just argue about policy. We've been -- we've been talking about this before. You get the policy right all day long but if you don't have conduit in the community, on a long term basis, if you don't have Republicans, and Hispanic and African American, and Asian communities talking about the Republican Party or nominee etc., for four years not just four months, you're not going to improve in national elections. We're heading in to mid-term Bob, we all know this. We can keep discussing the Republican Party. We're going to add seats to the House, so our majority is going to go grow and I think most people out there believe that we've got better than 50-50 chance of winning the U.S. Senate. We're doing about everything you need to do to keep winning. The fact is, we didn't beat incumbent president in 2012. We're winning everywhere else. The future is very solid and I think this year is going to be great year far our party. 

SCHIEFFER: So much of it reminds me of 1964, maybe I'm the oldest person around, and I probably am and maybe only one old enough to remember that. But I remember a Republican Party where you had Republican moderates mostly in the east headed by Nelson Rockefeller and then you had western conservatives headed by Barry Goldwater. Those two factions never came together and Goldwater lost the election in a historic landslide. How do you prevent that from happening?

PRIEBUS: You do what we're doing at the national level. You become a four-year period. You get in communities nonstop. But the fact is, where are we not winning, Bob? What state governor's races are we not winning? What House races are we not winning? 

SCHIEFFER: What you’re not winning is the last presidential election. 

PRIEBUS: Okay, that’s right. An incumbent president with a country that said 50-50 right track, wrong track. That is not shocking that an incumbent president did win. The fact is we're now now running with a lot of great people that have a vision for this country like Bobby Jindal, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and others, my own state of Wisconsin that are very dynamic. And it looks like Hillary Clinton is getting ready. She went from 70% approval rating down to about 58-- 52 in 18 months. 

Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer
Jeffrey Meyer is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center.