Branding the Elephant

elephant_brandingListening to Republican leaders and TV pundits debate the need of the pending rebranding of the party and their relative philosophical failures for the past eight years* is a grotesque cynical insult to all of us.

To equate branding tactics and philosophical spin as more important than deeds is wrong. Do they not remember “right and wrong”? It seems that the sinners have found Jesus again and promise to sin no more. I say, give me good works. I say their congregations should demand it, too.

auntsamTo suggest that the same people will somehow act differently if just given another chance is akin to letting the wife beater back in the household. It is a sickness and soft words with a broad smile will not hide the hard heart and mean spirit for long. They don’t need new spin, they need to demonstrate they can be trusted.

We have cycles in our political system. There are swings every 10 years or so. It wasn’t long ago that the Dems were so down that Rove and Company were talking of a permanent Republican majority. Where did they go wrong and why so quickly? Just google, “Bush, Cheney, Rove, lies, betrayal, corruption, hypocrisy” and you’ll likely find your answer. Or, just notice that during Bush years, the Dems didn’t try to undermine America, but to make things as good as they could. They built trust by being trustworthy. We can only hope, they will stay that way.

America needs more than one viable political party. Healthy debate washes issues to remove imperfections – at least, some of them. All of us, need the Republicans (the top 1% more than others). But we need them to be more interested in good governance than in power. More interested in what is good for America than what is good for their next election cycle. More interested in the people they represent who aren’t often heard, than those they hang out with in their testosterone-filled caucus. More interested in what is good common sense, than good sound bites for the party faithful. These times are far too dangerous to be working against the common good. What they do matters.

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*In case the elephant does forget and to name just a few, they doubled the national debt and crippled our economy through deficits, outsourcing, cronyism, corruption, incompetence and deregulation; started two wars, tortured and wiretapped; corrupted our judicial system and undermined the constitution; and led America by division, fear and bad faith.

8 thoughts on “Branding the Elephant

  1. Janet Ward

    Rebranding the current Republican Party is the old “lipstick on a pig” thing. Marketing folks, some of whom post here (Hi, Melinda) will tell you that rebranding is pretty much an admission of failure. I am trying to think of rebranding campaigns that actually worked, and I am at a loss, though I am sure there are some. New Coke, the Chevy Nova, Zima — those were all bad brands to begin with. Sometimes, you’ve just got to take your lumps and say, “Well, hell, that didn’t work.”

    The Republican Party has the brand it aspired to, a brand that is not inclusive, not forward-looking; in essence, not workable in this day and age.

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  2. Keith Graham

    In today’s New York Times, Frank Rich rightly describes today’s Republican Party as “a fundamentalist core of aging, rural Dixiecrats and intrusive scolds.” But you are absolutely right that we need more than one viable political party. Over the years, I have had great respect for some Republicans, people who took principled positions on the issues. Generally, they were fiscally conservative and leery of too much government intervention, but they were intelligent and thoughtful and had hearts. Rove, Cheney and their ilk have not only done a disservice to America, as all of us know, but also to their fellow Republicans by driving these “moderates” to the margin of their own party.

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  3. Melinda Ennis

    As Lee said, the very idea that they are more concerned about how they are branded than what they stand for is the issue. I too remember when Republicans would not have abided the religious intolerence and elitism that now permeates the party. When a group begins to stand for only what they are against (taxes, gays, freedom of many religions including Muslim) they become ineffective and even dangerous. I too hope the Republicans look inward (not at branding smoke and mirrors) to become a viable, effective party that is no longer ruled by fear-mongering.

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  4. Cliff Green

    Yes, Melinda, but it’s not only the religious intolerance, it is now the out-and-out racism. Remember when “Rockerfeller Republicans” dominated New England politics? They, not Democrats, elected a black man, Brooke of Mass., to the the U.S. Senate. They voted for the civil rights legislation of the 1960s in far greater numbers than Southern Democrats. Where have those those people gone? Other than the two women from Maine in the Senate, the last Rep was defeated at the polls in November. All that’s left of the GOP is Rush Limbaugh, a leader of men.

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  5. Lee Leslie Post author

    Whoa. The vast majority of Republican voters are decent and honorable. Their leaders, however, have carefully parsed and marketed fear and division as a method to win elections.
    It goes directly back to the 60’s when George Herbert Walker Bush and Phil Gramm in Texas attracted the disaffected former Lyndon Johnson Southern Democrats to win statewide office. Nixon seized the idea (the Southern strategy) and party leaders have been appeasing the former (probably naive) white-sheeters/Dixiecrats men ever since in a desperate attempt to stay viable.
    Certainly they refined their parsing over the years -- paying the corn subsidies to buy the small vowel states; adding Roe v. Wade (to buy some pulpits) and immigrants (to buy hate votes in western states) to what they are against (the already had bought the wealthy with tax breaks; industry with no regulation and union-busting; the military and vets with absurd spending justified by their anti-communist/now anti-terrorist stance).
    The problem now, is the southern version of their party has the power (we have met the enemy and they is us, Southerners).
    It is pretty to think they could be exorcised, but that’s not likely. While Southern Republicans are buying a lot of guns, they are not growing in number of voters. The rank and file will tire of the hate speak overtime and leave, and the decent among the Republican elected will inherit what’s left and try to rebuild. That is, and unless, something happens or things get worse. Then, I would be afraid.

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  6. Michael Garbutt

    Amen to all the above. I, too, believe that our political system needs more than one party but to add to the deafening silence, the present leadership of the GOP is now moving “further” to the right? And it has seemed to become the voice of the aging, intolerant South rather than the small government, deficit reducing voice of inclusivity, which means a big tent. It seems the Dems are much more of a big tent party now in all ways.

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