Strategy & Marketing

Re-Branding The GOP? Might be a good idea…

In the wake of this historic election, I have some hard questions for the Republican Party.  The momentum created by a young, inspiring, African American, Democratic candidate was certainly tough to beat, but the truth is, from my perspective, over and over the Republicans kept shooting themselves in the foot.  Here’s some questions I’d like to ask GOP leaders about their strategy:

1)    Why do we overwhelmingly keep sending out old white guys as candidates?
2)    Where are the young, minority, or female Republicans?
3)    If there are any, are we prepping them right now for the next election?
4)    Where are the new ideas?
5)    What ever happened to the idea of small government?
6)    Why are you so terrible at packaging?
7)    How have you let the GOP’s perception fall to such horrible levels?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.  As John McCain said:  “The Republican Party went to change Washington, but Washington changed them.”  In the next few days I’m going to outline some significant ideas that the GOP should consider from a branding perspective, if they’re going to make a come-back in the next four years.

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  1. America had to endure Jimmy Carter before they were ready to embrace Ronald Reagan.

    No doubt that Obama will do his part–I agree with Phil, we have to do our part to be ready with the right person to run in 2012. 

  2. That's exactly what i have been thinking. What does the republican party even stand for? We need to be grooming people for 2012 and 2016. Find some young, smart, character-filled and charismatic republicans. Obama outspoke every candidate (dem or rep) by far, not to mention his speechwriters were brilliant. The republican party needs to figure out what it is and re-brand itself starting today.

  3. My brother and I have been recently reading old Regan speeches.  It's interesting how much his old speeches are so applicable to the Republicans now.  Go back and look on where my brother has quoted some of his most relevant words. 

     We need another Regan.  It doesn't matter gender or age.  That person has to be a communicator.  The method of communicating might change, but the content can be the same.

  4. Its not ideas that the Republicans lack but its the way they present them is what is wrong. The dems put there money in websites and media that promote their view points, the Republicans don't. I went to the young republicans club website in my home state and it was poorly done and I couldn't find any information. I went to the dems site for young college students and it was really put together nicely. I signed up to help and call people three months before the election for the republican party and got a call the week before the election. My other friend who is in favor of Obama also signed up three months before the election and was given a phone call back within one week. The republican base needs to promote their ideas just like the dems do, especially since the news media is against them.

  5. Paul, I agree with you that it's the way that the ideas are presented, not the ideas themselves.  I was using "ideas" generally:  from the way that things are done, the people that are running the party, etc.

    With regard to your experience, I think that this election cycle saw a lot more use of the internet as a campaign tool/resource by the Democrats and Republicans.  Your point is valid though, the Republicans have to get over the "old guard" feeling and include the younger generations in the decision making.

    Regardless of your feelings for him, Ron Paul was able to attract quite a following and was able to raise a lot of money despite being viewed as an outsider from his own party.

  6. This is one of the reasons why I like/love this website – Phil’s invaluable objectivity, ability to outline areas of change while developing sound implementation/application strategies with a governed but creative media approach – without losing his focus in the process – which (in my opinion) hopefully is to glorify Jesus Christ and make the Church and its causes look, feel, think & walk better in the media world. Well principled outlines. Keep up the good work.

  7. Phil and friends,

    I am all for re-branding the Republican Party but only if it is truly done. I left the Republican Party years ago because I felt the rhetoric didn’t line up with their actions. With the Palin smears that are currently occurring after McCain’s loss, I am more convinced than ever I made the right decision.

    I personally believe that we need to get rid of the “old-timers” and those who are no longer towing the “conservative line.” Perhaps time limits needs to be a point of discussion again so that we assure ourselves that the best of the best are constantly being infused into the party,thus, always challenging the status quo.

    I recently heard someone say that the conservative movement and the Republican Party are no longer the same thing. I totally agree with that assessment.

    Chad – I will be checking out your website link. I have a conservative-political blog and I will be happy to get the word out if we are on the same page. I have to be honest, I am hearing many people (even Michelle Malkin) saying they are tired of “re-building” and would rather see a complete overhaul. The thing is I don’t know what word encapsulates the complete overhaul of the party. Additionally, I am finding many conservatives feel as I do – they no longer trust the party on any level.

    For me personally, McCain’s campaign’s treatment of Palin after he lost is despicable and really highlights what is so very wrong with the party. If you are not one of them – a careerist and party defender – then you can’t join. I saw this first hand with Mike Huckabee and have now witnessed it with Sarah Palin. The only way the party can be “rebuilt” it to rid ourselves of those who are self-centered or party-centered and replace them with the likes of Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Sarah Palin, and individuals like them, etc. I believe they are the new face of the conservative party. Can they be the new face of the Republican Party? I don’t know.

    I think something that many conservatives/republicans are not understanding is that the machinery behind the scenes is quite different than what is being espoused. A great book to read to get a better grasp on how the party works behind the scene is Tom Coburn’s book, Breach of Trust. Even someone like Newt Gingrich whom most American’s think is trust worthy is a danger to the Republican Party because of his past seduction by power and careerism.

    Now Tom Coburn would most definitely get my vote for any job within the RNC because he walks the talk and he did it in the face of betrayal by his own party members.

    That is what we need to change in the party. People of principle who will not go to Washington and be seduced by it. We need people who can withstand the storms that will come against them even from within their own party. I believe that is why Sarah Palin connected so powerfully with the public. We understand that she will change Washington – not the other way around.

    Oh…sorry…I guess I got a little long winded…:-)

    Remaining Steadfast,

  8. Right on.

    The GOP lost this race as much as Obama won it. 

    This election year was as much about marketing as it was politics, maybe even more so. (and I think the church can learn a lot from that as I wrote here )

    It starts with the candidate. They have to believe in their own message before I'm going to believe it. We just learned that politics as usual no longer works. It's time they step outside of Washington and once again become "by the people, for the people." Of course I also believe that we created a mess once we created career politicians.

    They need a facelift…and I'm not talking just a new slick logo…I'm talking their brand, the core of who they are and how they communicate that. Ironically much of the church, who stands close to the GOP, needs the same.

  9. Disclaimer… I'm a Democrat so take this how you like. It will sound pretty inflammatory but I'm only telling you how I feel.  If you don't like it?  Tough.

    Conservatism started as being about one thing…fiscal responsibility.  The idea of trickle-down economics/unmitigated free-trade do not, nor will it ever, appeal to an informed electorate in the numbers required to get them elected in a fair way.  Greed gets in the way of those two concepts working for the good of the middle and lower class citizens. Evidence:  mortgage crisis, Enron, growing income gap, CEO salaries out of control just to name a few.  As derogatory as it sounds, the greedier a person is, the more likely they are a Republican.  Sorry… but Republicans, in my view, have their priorities out of whack.  Fiscal conservatives put maximizing their income and standard of living on top of their list of priorities.  Everythings else goes…  combat deaths, poverty, crime increases… as long as their taxes are a few percentage points lower.  This is no philosophy to have in a decent society.  

    So from an economic and civic standpoint, the Republican party doesn't have a way to appeal to the masses.  (If the elections were decided by corporations, they would never lose.)  So what did they do to get their "Permanent majority" as Rove put it?  They appeal to ignorance, hate and fear.  Examples:  Obama is a Muslim, the color-coded threat level magically going up a level around every election in Bush's first term, Abortion, Gay marriage, Terry Shiavo, Flag burning.  These were things that were front and center in the Republican congress before 2006…all while there were far more important things going on in the country and in the world.  The Republicans needed their "wedge issue" to hold in the Democrats' faces for the next election.  It isn't that most of these things don't matter but to those of us who follow and think about politics, it looked like disgusting demogogary to us.  Period.  …and that's what it was.  Worse yet, it seemed like all of the conservative pundits and members of congress were having breakfast meetings to get their talking points in line.  It was obvious… they phrased talking points that were patently dishonest in an identical way so as to legitimize them.  (Gotta "catapult the progaganda" as Bush put it.)

    Before any of you Republicans (who honestly aren't interested in reforming your broken party) start saying…. "Well this Democrat did this and WHAT ABOUT CLINTON!", let me introduce you to a concept:  False Equivalency.  Fox News and most of the Republican party has been pissing and moaning about "The Liberal Media".  This is bullshit and let me tell you why:  Yes, I will admit that there are a lot of shows that are bent on doing nothing but making fun of or admonishing Republicans –   (the Daily Show, Keith Olbermann, etc.)   My reply to this:  …and they damn well deserve it. If Democrats were shoveling the same volume of bullshit as Republicans, I promise you, John Stewart would be lampooning them every night instead of McCain and Palin.  Republicans seems to be adept at getting elected by any means necessary.  When it comes to governing, they have become a joke.

    The Republican party seems to be the party of Palin… SHE was the one that initially excited the base, not McCain.   This ignorant woman inflamed the worst parts of the Republican base.  In face, the idea that she was picked in the first place is insulting and irrensponsible.  If you want to know how the Republicans should NOT conduct themselves in order to win back a majority, go back and watch a Palin Rally – watch her AND her supporters.  There was no substance in her speeches… just fear-mongering and bullshit.  If you run her in 2012, she'll be crushed… and what kind of country would we be if she wasn't? I read an article the other day about whether Republicans want her to run in 2012 and 64% of Republicans want her to run.  Really?  Are you kidding me?  I don't want to hear about how the press was hard on her either.  Most of the nastiest stuff came from the McCain campaign.  Seriously, that woman is maybe qualified to be a city council member of Wasilla.  She is completely tactless and embraces ignorance.  If this is the type of person who you want to have the most powerful job in the world, then you need to educate yourself…period.  We are turning into an idiocracy here.

    Sorry if I have offended any Republicans but this is how the rest of the country views the average Republican.  

  10. All good points Phil.  The biggest drawback is that the ideas that will bring the most needed change, such as line item vetos, requiring candidates to use only public funds and not allow them to take any donations, will never be put in into place.  Not one candidate has th e courage to push those items.

  11. The GOP is exactly that, the "Grand Ole Party." As a young republican I found that offensive. Why do they label themselves as such. Their first move would be to abolish that statement. No longer let any one call them the "Grand Ole Party."

    If you look at the election and the Obama brand, is was way better than McCain. From his logo, tv adds, and his rallies. All were to make Senator Obama bigger than life.

    They did an excellent job on marketing… 

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