Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The GOP does not do introspection and reflection. Its answer to "What went wrong in 2012?" is not to question its policies that the public has rejected -- because that would be heresy on the right -- but rather to question its messaging and marketing strategies.
So the GOP turns to the "Madmen" of Madison Avenue to create an ad campaign based upon a "New and Improved!" packaging for its product, but with the same poisonous product.
RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said, "It's not the platform of the party that's the issue. In many cases, it's how we communicate about it. It is a couple dumb things that people have said."
Similarly Jim DeMint, the former senator and now head of the Heritage Foundation, believes his party simply needs better communication skills -- and nothing else.
And then there was Louisiana Governor bobby Jindal: “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican Party that talks like adults,” he said. “We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. I’m here to say we’ve had enough of that.”
(Of course, the King of Stupid in the GOP took exception because he resembled those remarks. Donald Trump: 'Stupid' for Bobby Jindal to warn GOP to 'stop being the stupid party'.)
Republicans are absolutely convinced that the only thing standing between the party and electoral success is better rhetoric -- the public would love the far-right agenda, if only GOP officials presented it in a more compelling fashion. Eric Cantor, plus ca change:
With this in mind, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is taking this theory for a test drive this afternoon, speaking at a conservative think tank about why he thinks his governing vision should be more popular. I obviously can't critique a speech that hasn't been delivered, but the Wall Street Journal and Politico have published lengthy pieces on Cantor's message and rebranding strategy -- and the phrase "plus ca change" keeps coming to mind.
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So, Eric Cantor's idea for GOP rebranding is rehashing old ideas -- with similar rhetoric -- that he thinks voters may have forgotten about. That some of the ideas -- including giving public funds to private schools through vouchers -- are wildly unpopular doesn't seem to faze him.
Indeed, the Majority Leader's team isn't even trying to maintain the pretense of fresh and creative thought. Politico added that "much of what Cantor will say Tuesday is a rehash of what he's advocated over the past few years," and some of the ideas he presents "will not be introduced" as legislation.
This is shaping up to be a poll-tested sham, and a fairly weak one at that.
But to a very real extent, Cantor's new pitch reinforces larger concerns about the state of contemporary conservatism and the future of the GOP.
First, for all the talk about improving and reforming the party after yet another election cycle in which Republican struggled, Cantor's big idea is presenting old ideas in slightly different packaging -- and that speaks to the party's intellectual stagnation. As Kevin Drum noted yesterday . . . Cantor is making a big show of telling Republicans to talk differently without suggesting even the tiniest change in the substance of how they act. Good luck with that.
Second, Cantor's speech is ostensibly about all of the benefits middle-class families can expect to find in the Republican agenda, but that's an awfully tough sell.
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And third, Cantor's preoccupation with GOP rebranding is getting a little out of hand. Long-time readers may recall that this is a subject I've followed with some interest in recent years, and the pattern is hard to miss: every time Republicans suffer an electoral setback, there's Eric Cantor launching yet another rebranding initiative. From the "National Council for a New America" to the "Young Guns" to "Cut and Grow," the Virginia Republican's sole focus in recent years is the value of his party's sales pitches.
As I said, the GOP does not do introspection and reflection. "There's nothing wrong with me, baby, it must be you!" It's time for the nation to divorce the GOP and to kick it to the curb.