Now recently, the RNC unveiled their 100-page, 219-point plan for winning the youth and saving the party. Count ’em, these are 100 pages, 219 points. Now the RNC Chairman, Reince Priebus, ordered this report, what many are calling an autopsy report, to examine what went wrong last November. Now, he told me at CPAC, don’t call it an autopsy report. Well, Mr. Chairman, if you don’t modify your strategy, it’s gonna be.
Not one point of this 219-point plan mentioned how to better use blogs for messaging. In fact, blog wasn’t mentioned at all, and social media was only mentioned once, and that was only in the context of fundraising, not as a platform for messaging or marketing. These omissions show me that the RNC still doesn’t get it.
And while the Peacock Press routinely trashed our candidates and our ideology all around the web, blogs and social media became the battlefield where narratives were born and where narratives died. It was the denizens of new media who fact-checked the press and made famous those reporters who grew fat and lazy off the scraps of DNC press releases. The best chance at equal treatment for our candidates came from new media. An entire generation changed its news consumption.
Now, there was a discussion on ideological purity and messaging and growing the base within this report, although I kind of get the feeling that the authors of this report, most of whom are former Bush aides, simply just had a one-sided conversation with one another on the definition of purity. In fact, they write in here, I think it’s on page eight, “Our standard should not be universal purity, it should be a more but welcoming conservatism.”
Now, the authors are correct. I’ll give some credit. They are correct in that the GOP needs to personalize policy, but on page eight of this report, they give more attention to the government as a trampoline rather than taking a moment to really light a fire and encourage the private sector to stop outsourcing the stewardship of their fellow man. Now, what a way to personalize policy and change the narrative of safety nets in one fell swoop.
Now, speaking of messaging, in an interview on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, the RNC Chairman gave the impression that he holds the few idiotic remarks during the election cycle as the sole reason for GOP losses. He admitted that the RNC outreach after these remarks was insufficient, which is examined in the earlier pages of that report. Now, again, they just don’t get it.
If the party was a healthy party, if the party wasn’t already rotting away from within due to the decay of moderate constitutionalism, manifest in policies like No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, et cetera, it would’ve been much more difficult to topple the party’s electoral chances based on a few stupid remarks. Now, people can forgive a dumb comment when the offender apologizes, but they can’t forgive the increased nationalization of their education and additional entitlement programs while the offenders behind those programs insist in telling us that it’s compassionate conservatism.
Now, here’s where the report was correct. It noted that the demographic of the country has changed. The electorate has changed. More youth than ever are voting. Romney lost the under-30 vote by more than 5 million; however, the solution isn’t to water down Conservatism, because watered-down Conservatism never works at the polls. When faced between the choice of a Democrat or a Republican trying to be a Democrat, voters are always going to choose a Democrat.
Give voters a choice. Give us a choice, politicians. Don’t cede your principles because your stuffed shirts on K Street can’t figure out how to sell liberty for the six figures you pay ’em. We need to become better marketers. Now, the president has a logo for everything, even his recent trip to Israel. Look, I bet he even has an official Obama logo for when he eats breakfast. I’m not even certain that that isn’t his logo.
Being a Democrat has become a lifestyle brand, much in the same way that people but Apple stickers on their cars or purchase a Harley. Brands are now self-expression. Brands identify people without needing a single conversation. Luxury labels, like Louis Vuitton, hire famous people like Michael Phelps or Angelina Jolie to appear alongside their products with the hope that the stars’ allure will rub off on the product.
Fashion companies send their products to celebrities hoping that paparazzi will capture an image of them with their product, and in turn the public will see this, and it’ll drive up demand. Politics is the exact same way. Democrats hobnob with Hollywood to borrow legitimacy and allure. Sometimes it’s symbiotic. Jay-Z pops some tops with President Obama, Obama looks cool and connected to culture, Jay-Z looks like his influence extends outside of the entertainment industry.
Chris Dodd is on the board of the Motion Pictures Association of America for crying out loud. Hollywood has its own lobbyist in the Senate, and of course we can’t forget First Lady Michelle Obama presented the best picture award at the Oscars this year.
Do you remember the Apple versus PC commercials? This is how the left markets. Guess which one of these guys is perceived as being GOP? The left gets branding; we don’t. They’re so good at marketing and branding that they’re able to sell federal servitude. They have a horrible, horrible product, and that’s half of the battle right there. And on this, we got ’em beat.
We, on the other hand, have a great product, but unfortunately we have a bunch of people in D.C. that have no idea how to sell it, and it’s sad, too, because there are so many conservatives who’ve cut their teeth on marketing and new media and so much more who would just love to help steer the current winnable party into a new direction. Unfortunately, I personally know several instances where younger more connected new media wunderkinds were rejected by politicians in favor of those outdated K Street brokers.
These stuffed shirts run a consulting racket, ORCA, anybody? I mean, the ultimate fail whale, and they create ads that fall into one of two categories, the I love my country ad, and the look at how bad this other guy is ad. Now, the first is devoid of a great pitch, and the second just makes candidates look like whiny, negative Nancys with no solutions. I mean, honestly, who doesn’t love their country and think that the other guy is worse?
Democrats were sprinting away from ObamaCare; yet, I don’t recall a single major Republican ad that used Nancy Pelosi’s famous sound bite:
Nancy Pelosi: But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it away from the fog of the controversy.
Dana Fog – Yes, the Akin sound bite was stupid, but I didn’t see a single GOP rebuttal which asked, what is the real stupidity, a comment with no impact or choosing to not offer rape survivors protection against having the details of their case made public via vote as one former Illinois senator did? I sometimes feel like the RNC has bought into the left’s stereotype of Conservatives and through this perspective tries its outreach.
Now, I don’t agree with Paul Ryan on everything, but when he walked out on stage in Ohio to AC/DC, I almost straight up fell over. And when Marco Rubio personalized his family story and sold voters on the renewed American dream, I saw some hope, real hope. It’s not hard to sell liberty folks, not hard at all. Do you want the mediocrity of slavery or the rich opportunity of freedom? And that, ladies and gents, is the thing on which the RNC should focus.