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Bullpucky: The GOP trying to sell itself as the Growth and Opportunity Party in new report!

Like Hillary Clinton’s “Listening Tours,” the Republicans in Charge have engaged in a retrospective look at the GOP and attempted to project a bright and rosy future. Unfortunately, their reality is warped by the need to “appear” new, shiny and attractive to others who are outside of the traditional party. And, unfortunately, I could not agree with some of their conclusions.

The offer …

We encourage every Republican to read the [Growth & Opportunity Project] report and review our findings. Our Party has an incredible opportunity on our hands, but we must seize it enthusiastically. We are confident these recommendations and others shared with the Chairman can lead to many victorious campaigns for our party. We look forward to joining our fellow Republicans in the work ahead.

Onward to Victory,
Henry Barbour
Sally Bradshaw
Ari Fleischer
Zori Fonalledas
Glenn McCall

My viewpoint …  

Introduction to Messaging

The GOP today is a tale of two parties. One of them, the gubernatorial wing, is growing and successful. The other, the federal wing, is increasingly marginalizing itself, and unless changes are made, it will be increasingly difficult for Republicans to win another presidential election in the near future.

This is not how I see the GOP. Yes, it is a tale of three parties – but not comprised of the segments they describe. I see the GOP quite differently.

  1. The party controlled by the grey-beards, the Northeastern liberals who specialize in the concept of a ruling elite, crony capitalism and a propensity to say or do anything – like squander the control over the Congress and Presidency to spend like drunken sailors while speaking about smaller government and fiscal responsibility.
  2. The party that tolerates the up-and-coming youngsters, but imposes party discipline to make sure that they bow, scrape and show undeserved respect to the grey-beards.
  3. The party that lacks discipline and the courage of their convictions, and permits RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) to aisle hop and push the democrat agenda forward without any corresponding benefit to the party itself. One need look at the efforts directed at campaign reform (McCain-Feingold), immigration reform (McCain-Kennedy), and global warming (McCain-Lieberman) to see that each of these legislative initiatives advanced the agenda of the democrats without doing “diddly squat” for the GOP.

Public perception of the Party is at record lows. Young voters are increasingly rolling their eyes at what the Party represents, and many minorities wrongly think that Republicans do not like them or want them in the country. When someone rolls their eyes at us, they are not likely to open their ears to us.

Eye-rolling aside, I – enlightened and as well-read as I am – do not know what the GOP stands for. I see an amorphous, formless mélange, a mixture of disparate components that have no cohesive message to those who might be sympathetic to their cause.

Messaging is problematical if you separate principles from legislative actions. The fact that the needs and wants of younger Americans do not coincide with the needs and wants of older Americans should be self-evident. Especially because the core values of the GOP elders have been time-tested and forged on the hearth of adversity, whereas many younger Americans have had a relatively easy life. As for attracting members of the opposition or independents, let us not forget the significant turmoil of the 60’s, the drug culture and alternative lifestyles which bred a different kind of American. And, the mere fact that the GOP mentions the minorities as a desirable demographic also indicates a willingness to alter the core messaging a pander to a segment of the population – hyphenated-Americans if you will. Why does the GOP refuse to make it clear that legal immigrants have always been welcome, but our future and finances are being severely impacted by the actions of illegal immigrants who bring with them poverty, illiteracy, disease and crime. The GOP pussy-foots around the issue as if all minorities were homogenous and think alike.

At the federal level, much of what Republicans are doing is not working beyond the core constituencies that make up the Party. On the state level, however, it is a different story. Republicans hold governorships in 30 states with 315 electoral votes, the most governors either party has had in 12 years, and four short of the all-time GOP high of 34 governors who served in the 1920s.

Republican governors are America’s reformers in chief. They continue to deliver on conservative promises of reducing the size of government while making people’s lives better. They routinely win a much larger share of the minority vote than GOP presidential candidates, demonstrating an appeal that goes beyond the base of the Party.

It is time for Republicans on the federal level to learn from successful Republicans on the state level. It is time to smartly change course, modernize the Party, and learn once again how to appeal to more people, including those who share some but not all of our conservative principles.

This is the type of balderdash that is misleading. First, the saying that “all politics is local” is a truism because people are more involved with the consequences of living with what is being legislated at the local and state level. Legislative impact at the federal level may be of greater overall impact, but it is not readily apparent except when we are preparing our taxes or trying to run a business. The majority of citizens know their governor, less so their Senators and less so their representatives. Only during election cycles do we hear from our federal representatives – and then it is platitudes, phony surveys asking for money,  and “look what I have done for you” messaging.

At our core, Republicans have comfortably remained the Party of Reagan without figuring out what comes next. Ronald Reagan is a Republican hero and role model who was first elected 33 years ago — meaning no one under the age of 51 today was old enough to vote for Reagan when he first ran for President. Our Party knows how to appeal to older voters, but we have lost our way with younger ones. We sound increasingly out of touch.

As Mike Gerson and Pete Wehner wrote recently, “It is no wonder that Republican policies can seem stale; they are very nearly identical to those offered up by the Party more than 30 years ago. For Republicans to design an agenda that applies to the conditions of 1980 is as if Ronald Reagan designed his agenda for conditions that existed in the Truman years.”

This is more nonsense. George Bush (41) and George Bush (43) were and are  Northeastern liberal elites who were all about crony capitalism and spending on special interests. They were about secrecy and the lack of transparency. They were about gentlemanly behavior that refused to fight the opposition using similar terms and tactics. The only thing Bush (43) raised on his ranch – not horses, not cattle – was sagebrush which he cut for photo-ops, preferring to ride a trail bike or pickup truck rather than a horse. A faux Texas cowboy and certainly a faux Reagan. Regan has core principles – not the situational ethics which seems to be the theme of this section.

The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue. Instead of driving around in circles on an ideological cul-de-sac, we need a Party whose brand of conservatism invites and inspires new people to visit us. We need to remain America’s conservative alternative to big-government, redistribution-to-extremes liberalism, while building a route into our Party that a non-traditional Republican will want to travel. Our standard should not be universal purity; it should be a more welcoming conservatism.

More bullpucky. While the GOP never quit talking to itself, like believing Karl Rove’s election predictions, the fact of the matter is that the GOP had no message of interest to anyone other than the party faithful. Nothing attractive to others because every message that came from headquarters seemed to be prefaced with “it depends.” And, what is this conservatism you speak of. The mainstream GOP is not conservative and the Bushes would be viewed as liberals if the party was honest about its leadership. As for universal purity, there is no such thing. There are core principles and the rest is balderdash. What the hell is “welcoming conservatism” but code words for democrat lite?

Looking at the recommendations …

1. The Grand Old Party should be synonymous with the name “Growth and Opportunity Party.”

2. The Republican Party needs to stop talking to itself. We have become expert in how to provide ideological reinforcement to like-minded people, but devastatingly we have lost the ability to
be persuasive with, or welcoming to, those who do not agree with us on every issue.

3. It is time for Republicans on the federal level to learn from successful Republicans on the state level. It is time to smartly change course, modernize the Party, and learn once again how to appeal to more people, including those who share some but not all of our conservative principles.

4. The perception that the GOP does not care about people is doing great harm to the Party and its candidates on the federal level, especially in presidential years. It is a major deficiency that must be addressed.

5. We need to do a better job connecting people to our policies. Our ideas can sound distant and removed from people’s lives. Instead of connecting with voters’ concerns, we too often sound like bookkeepers.

6. The Republican Party must be the champion of those who seek to climb the economic ladder of life. Low-income Americans are hard-working people who want to become hard-working
middle-income Americans. Middle-income Americans want to become upper-middle-income, and so on. We need to help everyone make it in America.

7. We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years.  

8. If we believe our policies are the best ones to improve the lives of the American people, all the American people, our candidates and office holders need to do a better job talking in normal, people-oriented terms and we need to go to communities where Republicans do not normally go to listen and make our case. We need to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.

Bullpucky …

The problem is not branding or Madison-avenue type hucksterism or the appropriate use of social media or listening tours … the problem is one of core values. What does the GOP stand for?

If you tell me the GOP stands for freedom, explain to me why the GOP insists on discussing abortion, gay rights or social values connected with the traditional evangelical religious right? The truth is that there should be no federal funding of abortion, interference with healthcare or interference with gay marriage. These are state issues not federal issues. There is nothing in the Constitution that confers the power to make social issues the purview of the federal government. How is that for inclusive! So why the hell does the GOP manage to get mired down in these issues at the federal level.? Stupidity comes to mind. As for religion, keep out of the debate. The Constitution provides that the federal government shall not form a state religion nor promote one religion over another. Stick with the Constitution.

Immigration, on the other hand, is a federal issue and the United States must maintain our Constitutional sovereignty. We have allowed illegal immigrants to dilute our American culture, assume political power, drain social resources belonging to citizens. The GOP’s responsibility is to keep illegal immigrants out of our country. If you want the solution to handling illegal immigrants in the country, ask me I have a workable system – as well as a way to enhance our tracking systems.

I do not want to hear this socialist message from the GOP.  “We have to blow the whistle at corporate malfeasance and attack corporate welfare. We should speak out when a company liquidates itself and its executives receive bonuses but rank-and-file workers are left unemployed. We should speak out when CEOs receive tens of millions of dollars in retirement packages but middle-class workers have not had a meaningful raise in years.” This is pure socialist rhetoric that denies the benefits of capitalism and penalizes those who are producers rather than consumers! Companies are run for their investors, not their employees. While it is good business to treat employees and communities well, they do not deserve any privileges other than those provided by law and their own efforts at selling their marketable labor. Drop this rhetoric and concentrate on entrepreneurism and reducing the impediments to global competition.

Want to talk about environmentalism – show the science, show the debate – show the corruption. If you don’t know how, I can ‘splain it to you Lucy.

If the GOP were sincere about messaging, first, we should blow the whistle at government malfeasance and the failure of the federal regulatory agencies to detect and deter pure and simple fraud. Second, we should remove all public employee unions from government as they openly promote corruption. There is no doubt in my mind that “We the People” take a back seat to Washington lobbyists and special interests such as the public employee unions. Want to revitalize the GOP – go for honesty in government. And, third, promote opportunity over outcomes. Remove defined benefit pensions and use defined contribution pensions. Make Congress susceptible to all of the laws they pass – especially those that deal with corruption and insider trading. Propose new House and Senate rules that toughen ethics requirements – put people’s faith back in their government.

Bottom line …

The GOP is so damn stupid that they use a blue-ribbon panel to put out crap like this report. Yes, there are nuggets of truth in the report, just as there are indications indicating a slide towards democratic socialism to win an election.

We don’t need no stinking reform – because that is only improving the currently broken system, we need revolution. And, that revolution comes from stating your core principles, explaining how these principles are advantageous to a majority of the population while still being respectful of the minority (of the population).

You cannot transform a pig into a horse, but you can transform a pig into pork chops and bacon – and it’s still a pig. We have a government that is a pig in a poke – needing ever increasing amounts of taxpayer money that can be used by the politicians to purchase votes or attract campaign funding. Want real reform: propose term limit caps on Representatives and Senators? Want real reform: explain that state rights supersede all but the enumerated powers in the Constitution? Want real reform: audit the money flow from the Federal Reserve to the Banks? Want real reform: eliminate the Federal Reserve and have the Treasury issue our money? Want real reform: get rid of backroom brokers like Karl Rove who is attempting to select the GOP’s candidates with massive interference in the primary election process? Want real reform: select competent candidates over cronies or telegenic empty suits? While I wonder how Barack Obama got elected, I also wonder how George Bush got elected. In fact, other than patriotism and love of country, they are similar in toughness, cronyism, secrecy and power brokering.

The GOP is wounded from a self-inflicted gunshot. Nobody knows what they stand for – or if those values will be operative tomorrow. So instead of sending out a 100-page report, send out a one-page list of core values. Get Newt Gingrich to write it – he is a hell of a writer, not so much a viable candidate. Instead of putting up another Bush, Black, Hispanic or Woman – put up a competent, sincere candidate and back them with the full resources of the party. Don’t let the democrats control the debates, choose the questions or supply the moderators.

And above all – fight back when necessary. You don’t have to be nasty. Just use the incumbents own words against them. Obama won because he was Black and the anti-Bush. We do not need an anti-Obama candidate as much as we need a sincere and believable pro-GOP/core principles candidate. And, by the way, get rid of all the old advisors who got us into this mess. They are a prescription for disaster. Pretty much like the Karl Rove meltdown on prime television – when the anchor physically walked over to the research team and proved Rove to be an uninformed ass.

-- steve

Reference Links …

Republican Growth and Opportunity Report


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