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The Republicans and Perception

I have a real beef with the Republican Party.  In a media-driven culture, they apparently have no clue about perception.  In a world of instant communication, where cell phones, text messages, and email can be sent globally, the first impression matters.  As I look at this election – and past ones as well – it’s pretty obvious that the Democrats get it.  They’re turning out women, minorities, young people – looking for a well packaged candidate that can connect with the American people.  But Republicans keep sending out the old white guys and expect them to sell ideas like “original,” “innovative,” and “change.”

The truth is, I’m becoming an old white guy, so I’m certainly not against that crowd.  And for the record – the best ideas win – whether they come from the young or old, white, black, or whatever,  and male or female.

But from a very real point of view – perception matters.  I know there are young, vibrant women and minorities in the Republican party – so why aren’t they being groomed for positions of responsibility?

And this frustration runs through the party like a laser beam.  I’ve always admired George Bush for his ability to lead and make a decision.  Particularly after all the Clinton years, when we had a president who let the polls make his decisions for him.  But even great leaders have to respect perception, because if the people they lead aren’t behind their decisions, they’re not leaders at all.  As John Maxwell says, “They’re not leading, they’re just out for a walk.”

That is why President Bush will not be remembered as a great leader.

From our growing monster-sized government, to excessive spending, to the nanny state, to so much more, the Republicans are destroying their legacy, by ignoring their perception.

If the Republican Party hired me to consult with them, the first thing I’d do is give a top-down lecture about perception.  What do the American people think of when they think, “Republican?”  Why does it matter?  What should they do about it?

The answers to those questions should shake them into reality, and force them to make real change happen…

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  1. republican = isolationist, out of touch, rigid, stuck and I could go on.

    If you haven't heard the latest about Obama, you might want to read my blog.  He is linked to Jesus and gay in one video! 

  2. If I was not involved in the media I would have completely agreed with the 'perception' defines the reality of what people think of you. But that is not necessarily true for all things including the media. Truth in first or second glance is never grasped immediately or nice to eyes (Isaiah 53:2-3) but it will eventually rise to the top when all is said and done. Deception is always cloaked in attractiveness and there lies its strength its power of perception – it niceness to the eyes and sweetness to ears – appealing to the senses all the time. But eventually it will fade away and that is the problem. Media is largely governed by the culture of the day which is rooted in self and the views and tastes of those in control of the media. But truth is best portrayed in action and in deeds from the ground level to be effective at the top and hit the bullseye of the heart. Perception can be altered but truth in the heart is rooted. Sometimes God's best treasures are placed in very insignificant places, people and things – and we need Him to open our eyes to see beyond the veil of perception.

  3. I've got my own beef with the Republican Party, and it has nothing to do with perception and everything to do with platform, but that's another subject.

    I think the Republican Party thinks of journalism as a basically hostile and entirely chaotic force in the U.S.  They think journalists are adversaries, and even if journalism were friendly, Republicans would consider journalists to be too unreliable to make trustworthy allies.

    From the Republican perspective, it's better to be silent and thought a fool then to open your mouth and remove all doubt.  Anything they do and say can and absolutely will be used against them.  Thankfully, if they're silent the frustrated journalists will savage Democrats out of sheer boredom and natural blood lust.

    That's what I've seen in the last few election cycles, anyway.   


  4. Phil, more interesting questions would be:

    How well does the Vatican market itself?

    Has the Pope created effective "branding" for himself?

    I think the answers are "very well" and "yes".

    But I've never seen you give any thought to questions like these.

  5. Great question – especially in light of the Pope's recent visit.  Let me cogitate on that one and get back to you…

  6. Hi Phil,

          I almost always agree with you, and I feel that I learn a lot from your site.  However, I think you blew it on this one.  🙂  "Old white guys" like Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Harry Truman were the ones who saw the looming threats of the Nazis, and Communists, and saved our hineys from being obliterated.  Not handsome.  No catchy jingles.  In this age of Islamic terrorists who want to take over this country and behead people like you and me, many of us are looking for leaders who have some substance underneath the packaging.  And in the last two presidential elections, and I believe in this one also, the great packaging of the Democrats, which you admire, was rejected by the majority of voters in this country.  At present, the empty-shirts of the Democratic Party are undergoing their um-teenth extreme make-over, branding themselves as "people of faith," "strong on the military," "fiscal conservatives," "tolerant," and "for the little guy."  Their Lon Chaney-esque "man of a thousand faces" routine has grown tiresome.  When you have no real core values except "who do I have to placate to win this election," repackaging is not only easy, it is mandatory.

         I can say though that I agree with you that the Republicans are not taking advantage of all that is available in the area of packaging and marketing.  Even substance needs a fresh coat of paint every once in awhile.

    Kind Regards,

    Mel Montgomery

    Joplin, MO

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