Sunday, January 7, 2007

Reviving the Republican Brand

The previous article by Mac Maguire includes a chart that is a clear sign of a brand losing market share and mind-share. Chris Steven's Right on Topic blog analyzes the elections, and links to some comments from RNC committeewoman Denise McNamara, who says:

Yes, the lessons of the past year are simple: When Republicans act like Democrats, they lose power. When Republicans spend like Democrats, they are voted out. When Republicans create new taxes and expand government, they lose elections. When Republicans ignore their base, the base does not work for Republicans. When Republicans stray from our core principles, Republicans pay the price.

Karl Rove joins in and grasps the obvious:
White House political guru Karl Rove is as aggressive as ever in making policy arguments-his main theme being that Republicans lost the congressional elections because they didn't sufficiently live up to their core conservative ideals.

Chris Stevens puts it this way:
People have been voting Republican and have not always gotten what they expected. This is often expressed in a ‘moderates vs. conservative’ context but more often than not it is about how the officials performed once they were elected.

In other words, do what you say you will do, stick to the conservative principles that the base rallies around.

Democrats will help as well to remind us of the real differences at stake, such as
articles that start off like this: "Democrats are not ruling out raising taxes ..." Uh huh. Of course the AP so helpfully shaded the real story here with a headline of "Dems Look at Tax Cuts for Middle Class". So out come new euphemisms for higher taxes: Pelosi called it "initiatives which will bring money into the Treasury," and Rangel was quoted saying, "We have to look at all of the deductions, all of the credits, and to come up with what we think we can do."
Simple rule for the GOP: Don't go along with it. The Democrats tax plans may yet be the tonic that helps sharpen the image of the GOP.

1 comment:

David Whitehead Jr. said...

Patrick, whenever I begin to get arrogant and think I am such a good writer, all I have to do is read your blogs for a good dose of humility. You are sharp as a tack! It is this kind of crystal clear thinking and straightforward writing that you and Carl exhibit that keeps me on my toes!

It is so sad that the Republican Congress screwed up so badly. In 1994, I was a happy man, believing great changes were in store. But like a dancing seductress, Washington lured our sparkling new champions into the mire of politics as usual, and they sold their souls for a false job security, instead of standing fast as statesmen, and doing what had to be done.

Nevertheless, Republican Congressmen are not the only ones to blame. Let us face a hard fact. The voters are both forgetful, and impatient. And you know what Patrick? We will NEVER, EVER, overcome those two facts.


And we must allow this to be a lesson to us from now on.

The War on Terror was and is the right thing to do. But it was sold incorrectly.

We were told over and over again for years to be patient, stay the course, be patient, stay the course, we will prevail.

Yes, and I was with it. But America was not. And as much as I hate to say it, we must learn the lesson from this, and learn to repackage, and resell the message, over and over again.

I know this is Monday Morning Quarterbacking, but I hope we really did learn this valuable lesson. Because Patrick, we truly lost the election because of our failure to KEEP the public sold on the war.

Did you notice how it was slightly reinvigurated by our attacks on Somolia a few days ago? This is indicative on how the public views the war. The public will not long stand by as President Bush repeats , "Stay the Course", for several years. You will. I will. Carl will. The Hardcore base will. But the hard core base is not very big. These days it is a remnant.

Let's face it. Had we known how to "package and sell" the war better, had we known it took repackaging, and selling as if it were new, our fickle and impatient and forgetful public would not have been so quick to go Democrat.

I hope my thoughts here are not misunderstood. By "repackaging" I do not mean that we do as the Democrats, and spin the truth. We should be as truthful and straightforward as ever. But we must learn how to deal with the public's penchance for impatience and forgetfulness.

This war had many turning points which could have been capitalized on in many ways. Remember the Gulf War? Father Bush had the good sense to change the name of the war every step of the way. It began as "Desert Shield" you know. But the moment we moved, it became "Desert Storm." Even Clinton named "his" little Iraq skirmish "Desert Fox." You see. REPACKAGING the war through every step of the way.

Something as simple as renaming the war after the first victory, again after getting Saddam, again after the first voting, again after the first democratic government was put in place - Renaming it alone after each of these small victories could well have made all the difference and might have kept it fresh and new in the minds of the public. It could have begun as "Desert Storm II." And then after the main victory, and the skirmishes began in Baghdad, Bush could have declared "Desert Storm II" a major victory, and then named the ongoing fighting the "Battle for Baghdad". After the first big vote, he could have seized the opportunity to make it a turning point again, and he could have announced that now that the people of Iraq have spoken, this has become a war against terrorist insurgents, and hailed it as the "Fight For Freedom in Iraq". Again, after the new government was in place, he could have renamed it again, this time something that promised an eventual pullout, and would give an idea of eventual downsizing of our presence there like, "Protecting Our Partners in the Middle East." These are just ideas off the top of my head of course, but such restructuring of the presentation would have gone a long way to keeping the fickle public behind it.

It was easy to sell this war standing on the rubble of the twin towers. But we failed to continue to resell it, and we never ever repackaged it. That is why the Dems are now in power.