At a victory presser Wednesday morning, there was a lot of praise going around for Reince Priebus, the embattled Republican National Chairman who once tried to rationalize his job wasn’t that bad because he wasn’t like “pouring Baileys” in his cereal.
After a stunning victory to hold the House, the Senate and the White House Tuesday night, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) said Wednesday that Priebus “goes down as one of the great RNC chairman in the history of the US and the history of the Republican Party.”
It’s the same Preibus who had to play referee between a Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, the same chairman who was asked to answer for every one of Trump’s rhetorical and electoral foibles. And yet, Wednesday, the mood in the RNC headquarters was energetic, proud and subdued as if the party hadn’t spent two years ignoring the autopsy report it had written for itself after Mitt Romney’s crushing defeat.
Wicker chairs the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee. It was his job to hold the Senate for Republicans. The reality is Republicans won huge victories in the Senate. They held states like Wisconsin, Ohio and Florida – all races that had been considered uphill battles in the early days of 2015.
Republicans lauded Preibus’ direction to build an extensive infrastructure and ground game after 2012. They praised his vision for a digital strategy, which they argued had been severely undercovered. What no one mentioned was just how very unexpected the top of the ticket victory really was as they all stood there Wednesday morning in front of a TV backdrop that read “House 2010, Senate 2014, White House 2016.”