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White House Cheat Sheet: Republicans Redouble Re-Branding Efforts



Is Eric Cantor the man to revive the Republican Party? Photo by Ricky Carioti of the Washington Post.

National Republican leaders gathered in Northern Virginia over the weekend for the first in a series of town halls designed to begin the long process of re-making the GOP's badly tattered image.

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor and former governors Jeb Bush (Fla.) and Mitt Romney (Mass.) -- along with more than 100 attendees -- crowded in a pizza joint in Arlington on Saturday to make the case that the party is down but not out.

"It is about time to be an inclusive as we can," said Cantor recently of the town halls, which are being organized by a new group -- that he is leading -- known as the National Council for a New America. "What we are aiming to do it to join together in hopes of beginning a conversation with the American people."

The formation of the National Council comes within days of another upstart GOP group -- known as Resurgent Republic -- comprised of a number of top elected officials and consultants within the party that is designed to provide data via polling and focus groups to guide a series of policy pronouncements.

"This is a matter of trying to pull some of the finest minds in the country together to craft a creative and energetic new message," explained pollster Whit Ayres, one of the co-founders of the group. "The idea is to think forward not backward."

These twin developments are a recognition by the establishment wing of the party that the Republican brand is in absolutely dire shape and could relegate the GOP to permanent minority status unless change comes -- and comes quickly.

Self-identifying Republicans are at their lowest ebb in decades -- just 21 percent of Americans called themselves Republicans in the most recent Washington Post/ABC survey -- and independents continue to be more inclined to support Democrats.

That same poll showed that social issues -- like gay marriage -- are of declining potency in a political context. Forty-nine percent of the sample said they supported the idea of gay people being allowed to marry while 46 percent opposed it, a drastic shift from a 2006 Post/ABC poll where opposition (58 percent) to gay marriage far outstripped support (36 percent) for the idea.

Can a series of town halls or focus groups launch Republicans from their minority status politically? Absolutely not. And, in truth, much depends on how President Obama performs over the coming years. If Obama is perceived to be succeeding in leading the country out of the recession then it's hard to imagine the country clamoring for alternative solutions.

But the formation of the National Council and Resurgent Republic suggests that some within the party believe they know what ails it and are beginning to take steps to solve the problems that have plagued the GOP over the past several elections.

The critical question is whether the base of the Republican Party -- its most vocal and conservative element -- will follow along with these new efforts or reject them as an attempt to moderate the message to appeal to independents.

The answer to that question will likely determine the success or failure not just of these two groups but also of the GOP as a whole in the 2010 and 2012 election.

What To Watch For:

Monday Fix Picks: We pick 'em so you don't have to.

1. President Obama explains -- in detail -- his economic philosophy.
2. Senators offer advice on picking the next Supreme Court justice.
3. Jack Kemp, RIP.
4. Terry McAuliffe mixes business and politics.
5. "Mine That Bird" may not run in second leg of Triple Crown.

Reid is Ready: Senate Majority Harry Reid (Nev.) acknowledged that national Republicans "say they are going to take care of me like they did Tom Daschle" but insisted he is ready for a tough race in 2010 during an interview late last week with the Fix. Reid argued that the Daschle parallel is inexact -- noting that the former South Dakota senator (and Democratic leader) was running in a strongly Republican state at the height -- 2004 -- of President George W. Bush's popularity. Reid, on the other hand, describes Nevada as a "blue state" and noted that it is Democratic president not a Republican one who is ascendant at the moment. That's not to say Reid isn't preparing for a political war; he boasted that he raised $1 million during the two-week congressional Easter break alone and ended March with more than $5 million on hand. That's a hefty sum given that Republicans continue to struggle to find a candidate; if Rep. Dean Heller takes a pass, the GOP bench in the state is surprisingly thin. "I know that anyone can be beaten," Reid said. "I also know that to beat me is not going to be all that easy."

Ohio Landscape: Former Rep. John Kasich (R) took the first major step toward challenging Gov. Ted Strickland (D), formally filing papers last week incorporating his gubernatorial committee and naming Columbus attorney Brad Sinnott as its treasurer. Kasich's candidacy has long been expected by Ohio Republicans who are likely to quickly line up behind him although former senator Mike Dewine (among others) is still looking at the contest. Kasich spent nearly two decades in the House, emerging as one of the leading party voices on budget matters. Following his short-lived candidacy for president in 2000, Kasich spent much of the last decade as a commentator on Fox News Channel but was always expected to run for office again. After passing on the open seat race in 2006, Kasich has spent the last several years positioning to challenge Strickland who soundly defeated former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell three years ago. Strickland's job approval numbers remain strong although the contentious budget fight in the state could rally Republicans and fiscally conservative independent to Kasich's cause. Given Ohio's primacy at the presidential level, national strategists will keep a close eye on this contest for hints about the Buckeye State's tendencies in 2012.

House Republicans Land Recruit: In a sign that their fortunes may be turning a bit, House Republican strategists have convinced Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta (R) to challenge Rep. Carol Shea Porter (D) in 2010 -- a top-tier recruit in a highly targeted seat. Guinta, who is regarded as a rising star within the New Hampshire Republican Party, had been considered runs for governor and Senate before deciding on a challenge to Shea Porter. "[Giunta] embodies everything we are looking for in a candidate and we expect more qualified individuals like him to be stepping forward in congressional districts across the country in the coming weeks and months," said National Republican Congressional Committee communications director Ken Spain. Shea Porter was a surprise winner four years ago and sits in a district that went relatively narrowly -- 53 percent -- for President Obama last November. Expect this to be one of the marquee House races in the country next fall.

Trouble for Vitter?: For all his problems over the last several years, Louisiana Sen. David Vitter appeared to be putting all the pieces in place for a somewhat pedestrian reelection. He had raised money furiously -- $2.5 million on hand at the end of March -- and successfully convinced those pondering a primary against him to step aside. But, now comes new polling that shows Louisiana voters are not entirely sold on the Republican incumbent. The survey, which was conducted by Southern Media & Opinion Research, showed that three in ten Louisiana voters said they definitely planned to vote for Vitter in November 2010 while 28 percent said they would be voting for someone else and 35 percent said they would at least consider pulling the lever for a different candidate. Those numbers are mitigated somewhat by the fact the nearly six in ten voters believe Vitter is doing a good job -- a very solid showing for an incumbent who has weathered as much bad press as Vitter. And, the old adage that you can't beat someone with no one is particularly true in Louisiana at the moment for Democrats. No single candidate has stepped up yet although federal races in Louisiana do tend to take a while to percolate.

Best iPhone Apps: Three more (as recommended by the Fix Twosse) -- Kindle, Bloom and Frenzic.

Say What?: "I'm going to call Barack Obama every day!" -- Former Democratic National Committee chair Terry McAuliffe touting his ties to national leaders while stumping for governor of Virginia.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 4, 2009; 8:42 AM ET
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Comments

Chris i think Edwards will be back. Elizabeth will be on Oprah on Thursday. I feel sorry for her but i think he is reparing his image for a 2016 run. He has plenty of time. Edwards and Hillary have 8 long years to drum up support for the 2016 Presidential Democratic nomination. Also people will forget about the Edwards affair by then hopefully Elizabeth will cut off his weener by then. It's really about running the country not about who he is sleeping with. Edwards what ever you may think of him as a husband, is a good politician. I think he will be back in 2016

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | May 5, 2009 10:52 PM | Report abuse

Classic.

They hold a Town Hall -- in one of the most liberal neighborhoods in Virginia, inside the beltway. I guarantee the audience were not from the neighborhood, or they'd be hearing a lot of new ideas, alright. Like "Hate is Not a Family Value!" and "Torturers!" and "Get a Real Job, Losers!"

This "town hall" was just a bunch of Republican activists who work in DC crossing the river for a feel-good party at a yuppie pizza shop inside the beltway. Full of new ideas, I'm sure.

All hat, these guys.

Posted by: nodebris | May 4, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

"The Dixie Chicks get death threats"

Oh Mr.Bill !!!!

Posted by: leapin | May 4, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans should drop their extremist hater position and embrace the progressive solution to all problems which is to sign pieces of paper into law without review and debate and print trillions of dollars that have no worth.

Posted by: leapin | May 4, 2009 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Republicans should go right, now center to left. American's like people with convictions who stick with those convictions: Ronald Reagan & George W. Bush. Now, people can say they hate both these men...but they voted for them to serve 8 years in the WH. So that speaks to itself. Obama is now sticking to his liberal guns, so he also has conviction. George H. W. Bush won 1 term, and lost another due to his switch on the Iraq war & taxes. He didn't stick to his guns, showing lack of conviction. Bill Clinton did win 2 terms, but he won both of those terms with a plurality of the vote and never won a solid majority. Reagan, Bush & Obama all won with over 50% of the vote, and all stand on Conservative (Reagan & Bush) or liberal (Obama) conviction. We ran McCain, a wishy washy moderate vs. a strong liberal. They went with the strong liberal. In 2004, Bush as a strong conservative creamed Kerry, a strong liberal. A strong conservative can beat anyone...think about it Republican party.

Posted by: reason5 | May 4, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

"Today many conservative politicians and media outlets seem to miss this. (Ex: McCain reaching out to the center to win his primary, and then reaching far right during the general.... my friends, that's BACKWARDS) Until they come back to the middle with their soapbox, they will have difficulty wrangling votes from the center."

McCain actually did the opposite. He spent the past few years trying burnish his conservative credentials including his now infamous clip on how he votes with Bush some 90something percent of the time. Once he had the primaries locked up, his intention was to play up his bipartisan cred. However, it is hard to do that when you are on record with base pandering. Obama did the same thing, but the Democratic base is a LOT closer to mainstream American than the Republican base, so the shift wasn't as apparent. Besides, base enthusiasm was waning for McCain. This wasn't a problem for Obama.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 4, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Poor POTUS... Terry McA......e is going to phone him everyday.. President.. don't give him the blackberry number.. he'll drive you nuts..

.. I don't think anyone should have to live at that kind of threat level.. having him vow to call you is like being a bank and the feds tell you they are going to stress test you everyday...

Posted by: newbeeboy | May 4, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

What ails the GOP?

1. Archaic and outdated social issues combined with obsessive quasi-constitutional pandering to fanatical fundamentalist groups.

2. Pushing for "fiscally conservative policy" without having a real track record of such.

3. The inability to assimilate new (scientific, social, etc.) information into their platform or exhibit willingness to hear/observe/contemplate information that is at odds with preconceived notions.

4. The fact that their latest power grab ended up as disastrously as it did, alienating not only self-identified republicans but the independents who decide every election.

5. A militant base that who's position is defined by #'s 1-4.

The question has always been for any party in decline: How do you retain the support of the fringe crazies who blindly vote for you without actually writing policy for them and simultaneously reaching out to the middle of the electorate where elections are won?

Today many conservative politicians and media outlets seem to miss this. (Ex: McCain reaching out to the center to win his primary, and then reaching far right during the general.... my friends, that's BACKWARDS) Until they come back to the middle with their soapbox, they will have difficulty wrangling votes from the center.

Its a numbers game. It always has been. 30% of the vote doesn't win elections. Exclusivity, unbending philosophy and hate mongering keeps you there. Good luck.

Posted by: trident420 | May 4, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

What ails the GOP?

1. Archaic and outdated social issues combined with obsessive quasi-constitutional pandering to fanatical fundamentalist groups.

2. Pushing for "fiscally conservative policy" without having a real track record of such.

3. The inability to assimilate new (scientific, social, etc.) information into their platform or exhibit willingness to hear/observe/contemplate information that is at odds with preconceived notions.

4. The fact that their latest power grab ended up as disastrously as it did, alienating not only self-identified republicans but the independents who decide every election.

5. A militant base that who's position is defined by #'s 1-4.

The question has always been for any party in decline: How do you retain the support of the fringe crazies who blindly vote for you without actually writing policy for them and simultaneously reaching out to the middle of the electorate where elections are won?

Today many conservative politicians and media outlets seem to miss this. (Ex: McCain reaching out to the center to win his primary, and then reaching far right during the general.... my friends, that's BACKWARDS) Until they come back to the middle with their soapbox, they will have difficulty wrangling votes from the center.

Its a numbers game. It always has been. 30% of the vote doesn't win elections. Exclusivity, unbending philosophy and hate mongering keeps you there. Good luck.

Posted by: trident420 | May 4, 2009 2:08 PM | Report abuse

LOL--Republicans are so deranged it's startng to be very funny- here's INhofe waxing lunatic:

"There is no evidence more visible that the American people are already rebelling against the far-left agenda than Senator Arlen Specter switching parties to become a Democrat [sic]. He did this for one reason, and that is his advisers told him he couldn't retain his Senate seat as a Republican. In other words, the same people who supported Senator Specter six years ago have soundly rejected him today"

Posted by: drindl | May 4, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse


"The critical question is whether the base of the Republican Party -- its most vocal and conservative element -- will follow along with these new efforts or reject them as an attempt to moderate the message to appeal to independents."

and the obvious answer, Chris? A resounding NO... straight from the lips of the basest of the base, right here on your website -- a born angry, whining hater who will never change. ThAT is the base and they will guarantee that the party never wins a natioinal election again.


"We Republicans didn't lose congress two years ago, and the WH because we didn't kow-tow to every special interest group, like gays and gay marriage, and giving citizenship to every illegal that can sneak into our country. "

Posted by: drindl | May 4, 2009 1:48 PM | Report abuse

how many republicans does it take to change a light bulb?

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 4, 2009 1:22 PM | Report abuse

armpeg--
what are those American principles that the GOP believe in?
run them down to me please.

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 4, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"Really, the Republican Party shouldn't change a thing. Not one thing. Just keep up the good work."

They remind me of an episode of Seinfeld where George Costanza decides to always do the exact opposite of what his instincts tell him to do and has great results. Perhaps the Republicans ought to give that a shot.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 4, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

The high court on Monday directed the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to consider reinstating the $550,000 fine that the Federal Communications Commission imposed on CBS over Jackson's breast-baring performance at the 2004 Super Bowl.

With that in mind, I suggest the muddled conservative ideological support structure of the repubican party needs a good hard whacking. On the one hand, the repubes want nothing to do with government, but in the same breath, they want to tell us that Jackson's breast is their domain to control. Which is it, Limbaugh worshippers? Your hypocrisy is making me dizzy!

Posted by: swatkins1 | May 4, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse


See?

I know for certain you'll get me to cross party lines nd vote Republican while accusing me of supporting a "Marxist."

Elections are won by getting over 50% of the vote. Not by insulting less than 50% of the vote. Democrats have been telling Republicans how to win elections for years. But since we're so "discredited" the advice hasn't been heard. Ha ha ha.

Hey, I have an idea. Why not just call me "un-American" and get it over with?

See how I'll vote then.

Really, the Republican Party shouldn't change a thing. Not one thing. Just keep up the good work.

God Bless America.


Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | May 4, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"It's not something you can turn on and off like a light switch, and if Republicans think they can do it, that's a good sign they have no idea what they are doing."

For all their faults, I don't think even the Republicans believe this can happen overnight.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 4, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse

We Republicans didn't lose congress two years ago, and the WH because we didn't kow-tow to every special interest group, like gays and gay marriage, and giving citizenship to every illegal that can sneak into our country. We Republicans lost when we tried to be more like Democrats with a candidate, John McCain, that had a history of bucking our parties initatives and President Bush's policies (this was the reason the Democratic Party--controlled Main Stream Media loved McCain, and called on him whenever they needed a Republican to interview). We won when we had a true conservative Republican, as we did with President Ronald Reagan. We lost both houses of Congress when we tried to imitate the Democrats way of governing, by spending like drunken sailors.
To get back, our party needs to stand on American principals and values that won us elections--and with Obama's Socialist and Marxist policies comming to fruition in a couple of years, that won't be long. It's ironic that Communist China is becomming ever more Capitalist, while the USA is getting more and more Socialist and Marxist with the policies of Barack Obama, and what used to be called the Democratic Party, which has morphed into a Socialist Marxist party that wants to redistribute all wealth for the common good, as was the policies of the former USSR.

Posted by: armpeg | May 4, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The Republican Party is in great shape.

I wouldn't change a thing.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | May 4, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

bondosan:
i disagree--"Theoretically, the Republican Party believes in low taxes and small government"
i've been in this game over 20 years.

republicans theoretically are good at foreign affairs.
dems at domestic...
however, more importantly......Republican Part never believed in low taxes and small government.
Repulsives are the ones that are MASTERS
at tweaking the USCODE to put more red tape and bureaucracy on top of everything.
You have to jump through 10 more hoops to get a grant.
You have to jump through 3 rulings in the CODE under a repulsive.
You have to "have connections"
You have to take a bunch of (&*)*(^ by good old boys and good girly networks that are in "the circle" and get all the perks.
You have to fill government forms out in triplicate so to speak.
You have to go through 5 departments to get anything done. And then the workers treat you like you are a disease when you try to get something done.
Repulsives PILE ON the government Regulations and Code.
Mis-represent what that ORIGINAL law that we passed in congress means.

And for example.

7 to 8 years ago, this economic debacle happened.
Why?
No one was monitoring USCODE and regulatory requirements.
That is what repulsives are great at.
Pile it on and let the "common man" see if he can "sift through".

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 4, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

okay REPS...you want to re-brand yourself.

first question on the list....

how do you feel about Vermont and Iowa passing same sex marriage?

(((is that a sin under, what is called, THE LAW or just your "belief"))))???

and will you try to INSTILL in us that it is???

second question on the list---
how do you feel about Roe vs Wade?

(((is the a sin under, what is called, THE LAW or just your "belief"))))?
and will you try to INSTILL in us that it is????

re-brand THIS reps!!!!

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 4, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

The Republican party is just OLD WHITE MEN for the most part and their time has passed!!

They are NOW the party of ill relevance and of times gone past!!!

The DEATH of the Republican party is at hand and the Rise of the Independent party has come.

Republicans have forgotten that WORK for the people not the other way around.

NEVER, NEVER, EVER AGAIN TRUST A REPUBLICAN!!

THEY ARE NOTHING BUT A BUNCH OF OLD WHITE GUY'S WHO JUST HATE TOO MUCH. THEY STILL THINK THEY ARE THE ONLY MORAL JUDGMENT AMERICA HAS.

TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY.....JUST GO AWAY YOU ARE WORTHLESS, UNNEEDED AND UNWELCOME IN TODAY'S WORLD. YOUR BRAND OF HATE IS AS OLD AS YOUR LEADERS ARE AND THE PEOPLE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF YOU!!!!

THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE TAKING BACK OUR NATION AND YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE ANYMORE!!

TAKE YOUR FALSE GODS AND YOUR POLITICAL LIES WITH YOU!!!!

Posted by: imZandor | May 4, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Theoretically, the Republican Party believes in low taxes and small government. I say "theoretically" because they completely ignored their own purported philosophy during the Bush years.

Nonetheless, the notion of low taxes and small government will never entirely lose its appeal.

However, the problem for the Republicans is that their philosophy is completely inappropriate for the times that we live in. And no amount of re-branding or image polishing is going to change that.

It makes me think of a man who's always extremely careful with his money: he pays his bills on time, rarely uses a credit card, and carries no debt. It's an admirable way to live one's life.

Then, his infant child is diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease. His insurance will cover some of the costs but not all. In order to cover the rest, he has to take on a lot of debt. But it's worth it, because his child's life is at stake.

This is where the country finds itself. We're borrowing and spending because we have to: the future of our country is at stake.

Once the country is doing well again, people will forget what got us into this mess, and the Republicans will be able to get some folks elected again.

Posted by: Bondosan | May 4, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

criminey...
Eric "do I look like Steven Tyler" Cantor is all over the press waves today.

"It is about time to be an inclusive as we can," said Cantor....
--YES, you must pass 40 questions on conservatism and "family values"
"What we are aiming to do it to join together in hopes of beginning a conversation with the American people."
--HELLO ERIC ! We don't want to talk to close-minded "our way or the highway", can't live this way, must live OUR WAY..
conservatism.

Didn't you get the memo Eric?
Conservatism is dead.
New America you say......HELLO AGAIN ERIC-
we are already beginning the New America and you aren't included....(neener neener)

Posted by: TheBabeNemo | May 4, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

This should be called Operation Polish the Turd.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | May 4, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

On the eve of the Palin-Biden debate, CSPAN was showing the past 20 years of Vice Presidential debates including the debate in 1996 between Jack Kemp and Al Gore. Out of the debates I saw, it was the most civilized. Furthermore, it was the wonkiest performance I had seen a Republican give. Al Gore might not have been the nerdier half of the debate that night.

Posted by: DDAWD | May 4, 2009 11:42 AM | Report abuse

As someone who has spent 30+ years in advertising and p.r., what I find most disturbing is that Republicans talk about "rebranding" themselves as if political philosophy were a dishwashing detergent or compact car. To be fair, both parties use this language now, but it's kind of frightening, given that it reduces their thinking to "How do we tell folks we are new *and* improved," instead of focusing efforts on deciding precisely what the Republican Party stands for.

Before "branding" became a buzz word, brands were precisely those products whose quality and reliability convinced a critical mass of consumers, over time, that the products were good value. Think Coca-Cola, or Arm& Hammer baking soda or Toyota.

It's not something you can turn on and off like a light switch, and if Republicans think they can do it, that's a good sign they have no idea what they are doing.

Posted by: jhpurdy | May 4, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

VT: We do not have 3d party, and since I am a pragmatic at heart, wayward republicans are still better than most dems abour fiscal responsililty. I am much closer to Pat Toomey than I am of Tom Ridge. But I would like to see Toomey clear the decks for Ridge, why? because Toomey might win, but Ridge will win if he runs against Specter or Sestak.

Posted by: vbhoomes | May 4, 2009 11:16 AM | Report abuse

Is Eric Cantor the man to revive the Republican Party? I don't know. Where is his flag lapel pin that Rush Limbaugh ordered the conservatives to wear at all times? Where are the Freedom Fries? Where is Tom DeLay hunting down the Texas Democrats? Where is Dick Cheney lying repeatedly about Iraq's involvement in 9-11? Where is shrub's little boy disinterest in any of this?

Posted by: swatkins1 | May 4, 2009 10:57 AM | Report abuse

You look like a COMPLETE IDIOT on the video ! !

Doesn't help to have one believe or take serious what you say.


.

Posted by: swanieaz | May 4, 2009 10:55 AM | Report abuse

i see the republican "hatriots" are out in full force. "call them a name and say they're to blame"......"hate and berate and allow no debate".......

here's a new slogan for you....."republicans - we all hate the same things".......

give it a break and offer some solutions

Posted by: disillisioned | May 4, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

"Conservatism is still healty, what happens is some of our so call republican friends go to Washington and act like tax and spend liberals, no worse, just spend."

All so called "constervative" politicians do this. They've been doing it for the last 8 years. They did it when St. Reagan was in office.

This always happens: When democrats are in power, republicans some in and say the government is too big, the government is too powerful, the government doesn't respect civil liberties, the government spends too much...

The people go "yeah," and elect them. Then they just start doing all the things they have been complaining about. Eventually, they lose power, and go right back into the same old schtick.

You know who's to blame? You are. You keep falling for it! You REFUSE to hold your GOP leaders accountable. You elect them into power, they start acting like Democrats, and you go "Well, at least they're not libs!"

They do it over, and over, and over. It's not a "re-branding" if it's the same old song and dance.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 4, 2009 10:42 AM | Report abuse

Maybe the GOP should return to Reagan's MO, which is to talk social issues while actually ignoring them, all the while doing your best to make life easy for corporate America. Under Reagan, the GOP hucksters suckered millions of blue-collar Americans to vote in GOP politicians who promptly passed laws against the financial interests of the very people who elected them. They made it easier to move businesses off-shore while getting tax breaks, made unemployment benefits taxable and cut the taxes of the wealthiest, especially by reducing capital gains taxes. George W. carried on this hucksterism. They need a new PT Barnum to bring back the blue collar voter by using the wedge social issues, vote in more free marketers, so they can return to making life comfortable for the CEO at the expense of the working man. Social issues? They don't need to actually do anything on them. What did they do in 6 years of controlling Congress and the White House? Social issues are simply the draw. You don't want to mess that up by doing something about them. What would get the rubes worked up then?

Posted by: mischanova | May 4, 2009 10:40 AM | Report abuse

It is good to see that they recognize that they have some problems. But they don't seem to really get what the problem is. It isn't so much about policy differences, it's about arrogance, exclusivity, bigotry, divisiveness, all in Karl Rove's handbook. The far right wing anger that has wrought, other than enviro terroists, every domestic terroist act since the 70's. It's the arrogant, ignorant, and yes viewed by millions as racist, act of releasing the Barack the Magic Negro CD. It's the angry tea parties that call the President everything but President. The Dixie Chicks get death threats and all Chip Saltzman got was not winning the GOP chairman race. Pres. Bush's rhetoric at the RNC about the angry left, as his picture was beamed out over the sea of all white people. Ridiculous intelligence insulting ads like this recent one about do you feel safer after 100 days. Even some of the conservative pundits booed this one. It is insulting to millions of voters who see this as the GOP not accepting the wishes of the people, and that the GOP lost. The arrogance that they know what the people want better than themselves. I have seen many good conservative governments, but none of them have the sense of entitlement and arrogance of the Republican Party. Wake up and smell the coffee, deflate your over inflated egos, get real, get remorseful, and get some respect for your fellow citizens, no matter their party affiliation or skin colour.

Posted by: katem1 | May 4, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Chris,

What does it say about the RNC that there are two "rebranding" efforts starting up?

Posted by: aflee | May 4, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

I know no one wants to hear this, but...

Reagan's push for 'social conservatism' is in my opinion what is hurting the repubs today. A whole generation of women have grown up never even considering voting for a repub given that they have indicated that they would want to overturn Roe v. Wade (don't get me started that those for RvW SHOULD have been working state by state to create actual LAWS rather than relying on the supreme court to create them...so now they get everyone up in arms each time there's a new justice).

Until the Repubs declare that they've lost on those issues (gay marriage...years ago the 'conservatives' were complaining that gay people have too much sex, now they don't want them to settle down and get married...and be able to legally have a 'family' - what do they WANT???, abortion, etc), they aren't going to get anywhere. (and, seriously, there's a difference between thinking something is IMMORAL and thinking it should be ILLEGAL - they should put THAT debate out there).

AND they need to REALLY be conservative. Balance the budget, get rid of earmarks, simplify tax code (www.fairtax.com) - get rid of the big bloated government that we have. Of course, they are as enamored with themselves as the dems are, and think they are better than all at doing stuff...when it is clear that govt has no checks and balances (except us, and we haven't been doing a very good job).

Posted by: atlmom1234 | May 4, 2009 10:22 AM | Report abuse

Conservatism is still healty, what happens is some of our so call republican friends go to Washington and act like tax and spend liberals, no worse, just spend. Olmpia Snow says we need to get back to fiscal conservatism as a Party after she just was one of three(now 2) republicans who went along with blowing a trillion dollars. What an I missing here Madam Snow?

Posted by: vbhoomes | May 4, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

What I can't understand is this. With all the hoop la they republicans are now starting to spew about their wonderful wonderful approach to this country's business. How come if they were and are so darn wonderful, the country is in the mess it is in now. Everything falling apart, allowing all the jobs to go overseas, letting Wall Street go our of control with no restraints, AND PUTTING THE COUNTRY IN 8 TRILLION DOLLARS DEBT, WITHOUT COUNTING WHAT BUSHY BABY SPENT IN IRAQ. That's not included in the 8 trillion. Dang de dang the spin meisters of the republican ilk are at it again. This time Real America doesn't believe a darn word they are saying.

Posted by: msealock | May 4, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Chris, Thanks for the link to Leonhardt's interview with the Prez.

I was a big fan of Jack Kemp, and I have never been to Buffalo other than to the airport, passing through. My condolences go to his loved ones. I think the nation has lost a good one. For those who are too young to remember, Kemp and Bill Bradley were the leaders in the movement to simplify the tax laws in the '70s. They wrote books about their plans, which competed, but which had several elements in common. Their ideas made it into law eventually. Then RWR's first HUDSec turned out to be a crook and Kemp came in and turned that department around. He actually left it a successful agency.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | May 4, 2009 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Listening to the mainstream media, cable news shows, Democrats and the Left all practice “racial profiling” and “identity politics” to the highest degree in their debate over who should replace Justice David H. Souter on the Supreme Court – while conveniently avoiding that pesky term “qualifications” – I am convinced that President Obama’s choice is obvious. “Daffy Duck” should replace Justice Souter.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | May 4, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

tenets of the “Obama Doctrine” as follows:
(1) We’re to blame,
(2) Problems can be negotiated away,
(3) Problems that can’t be talked out can be bought off,
(4) Islamist terrorism doesn’t exist,
(5) It’s all our fault,
(6) Israel’s the obstacle to Middle East peace,
(7) Our nukes threaten world peace and we need to get rid of them,
(8) Our military is dangerous,
(9) Our intelligence services are even more dangerous than our military,
(10) It’s only torture if we do it, and
(11) Blame President George W. Bush.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | May 4, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

Another bastion of Liberal wackery goes under. the Boston globe could not compete in the market and sell its stupidity to any buyers. Pretty much the way the NYTimes is headed overall and ultimately, Obambi socialism.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | May 4, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

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