Monday, March 25, 2013

The GOP Doesn't Have a Marketing Problem. It Has a Product Problem

Wow, for some reason John McCain looks like someone I could vote for now.



Last week, the Republican National Committee released a major 2013 report entitled "The Growth and Opportunity Project." In the words of its report, the purpose of the project was "to dig deep to provide an honest review of the 2012 election cycle and a path forward for the Republican Party to ensure success in winning more elections."

Here's a shovel. Keep digging.

Using your handy-dandy Cmd+F function, you will be unable to find any of the words from the following list in a report about why the Republicans are losing elections and how to start winning them again:

liberty
freedom
capitalism
constitution
founding fathers
libertarian(s)
tea party
ron paul
civil liberties
federal reserve
national debt
jeff frazee
rand paul 2016
we seriously ****ed up; we submit our resignations

That last quip aside, if the chairman's people didn't dig deep enough to even include these words in their report, then they haven't even started digging. There's no way they have. Because you don't have to dig to get to something that's right in front of your face gnawing on your nose while red and blue lights are flashing wildly and alarm bells are sounding and loudspeakers are proclaiming the obvious path forward for the Republican Party: "Liberty! Freedom! Limited Government! Constitutional Conservatism! Rule of Law! Ron Paul Republicanism! Rand Paul 2016! Rand Paul 2016! Rand Paul 2016!"

If you take the time to read through the entire report-- which is (dear God believe me) a real chore-- you'll get the impression that the Republican Party's problem is primarily a marketing problem. The five-member panel that wrote it basically says:

"Us? No way we're the problem. We're fine just the way we are. We don't need to change. We're just bad at communicating our message without coming off the wrong way. It's not us. It's their perception of us. We just have to change their perception of us. How can we keep saying the same things in a different way that will make them still want to vote for us?"

You can't. You've got to start saying different things.

More importantly, Republicans have got to start taking different actions. Their problem is not an unkempt appearance; it's a severe deficiency in substance, a lack of good faith, an absence of principle, a shortage of backbones-- and discerning minds-- and seeing eyes-- and hearing ears-- and beating hearts of flesh. The problem is not a badly-communicated message; it's a message that is irrational and hypocritical at its worst, and at its best, incoherent and impotent.

Let's not mince words: The Republican Party doesn't have a marketing problem; it's just a fool's errand to market a product as bad as Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John McCain, Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and eight seriously messed-up years of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.

Fewer and fewer people want to buy a product as bad for your health, wealth, and happiness as perpetual global warfare; trillion dollar military invasions that never end; trillion dollar bank bailouts for wealthy corporations; no guarantee of privacy for you, but constant secrecy for them; a sea of rules for you, but no accountability for them; higher taxes for you, but bigger budgets, and subsidies, and credits, and salaries for them; regulations for you, but recklessness for them; less for you, and more for them.

The Republican Party's marketing doesn't suck. Its product does. And trying to suck just a little less than the Democrats is not going to save it at the ballot booth any more. The jig is up. People are sick of being abused. They want something better. They are catching on more quickly than ever that neither party is looking out for them, but for wealthy, well-connected special interests. They want someone who is going to stick up for them.

Growth and Opportunity? That's even more hollow than the Hope and Change that Republicans rightly scorned and lampooned. The fact that it's "cute" because, together with the word "Project," it spells G-O-P makes it just horrible. I've got a growth opportunity for you: instead of trying to make GOP synonymous with Growth and Opportunity, start making it synonymous with Peace and Liberty, the true foundations of genuine conservatism, and the principles that shaped our country's revolution for independence and its unique form of government.

Here's how you grow your party: hire the people that are actually growing your party to write the freaking report instead of the insiders who have helped it to lose so badly for so long that you need to suffer the humiliation of researching and publishing a report explaining why you are losers. Yeah, I'm saying you should be talking to Ron Paul, the guy who's filling stadiums full of college kids who are interested in the Republican Party because of him. I'm saying talk to Jeff Frazee, who's teaching those kids effective political activism-- how to win on principle-- through the fastest growing student political organization in the entire country.

Dear goodness, do NOT hire veteran Republican strategists, because remember? They're losing! Onlookers should interpret the RNC's report as the establishment's signed and sealed Do Not Resuscitate order. The party is failing and instead of making the substantive changes necessary to save it, they want to talk about hiring more directors, consultants, and field staff. They want to futz around with their primary process. They want to convene "quarterly summits." These people would put lipstick on a cancer patient and call it a cure.

They're even talking about trying to put more Hispanic and African American Republicans on TV to speak for the party (seriously, it's in the report-- if you don't see why that's messed up, you're the reason the Republican Party is losing elections). Maybe even put lipstick on the patient and then give her a good hard punch in the ribs... Are these people even sincere when they say they want to stop losing?

Anyone ready to call in a real doctor?