Thursday, May 7, 2009

The New Coke

I want to shed a little "lyte" on reinvention.  Last weekend, a few Republican leaders:  Mitt Rommney, Jeb Bush, and Eric Cantor, had a little get together at a Virginia pizza parlor.  Calling themselves The National Council for a New America, these gentlemen sought to kick start a rebranding effort for the Republican party.

I love the term rebranding.  It really sums up the Republican ideology.  It is all about perception, not substance.  Ignore those inconvenient facts and that annoying thing called reality, let's focus on how we feel and how we seem.  You rebrand a product, not a political party.  A party is supposed to represent the ideas of their people, not a dogma in a new package.

But already this rebranding effort is in trouble.  The sad, junkie clown, Rush Limbaugh took issue with the idea of a listening tour.  He said that the Republicans need to run an education tour, not a listening tour.  Now, wasn't there an election last fall?  Wasn't McCain's campaign a form of educating the public as to what the Republicans had to offer America?  Remind me, how did that turn out?  Oh right, they got their butts kicked.  America said, "No thanks, had enough" to the Republican holy grail of tax cuts and divisive politics.  After the emperor deemed listening wrong, Eric Cantor quickly backed off the term "listening tour". 

The Family Research Council was also scathing in its rebuke of the council.  They took issue with the council's agenda of the economy, education, healthcare, energy and national security.  They wanted to know where the "values" were.  Like creating jobs, improving education, providing healthcare, building a sustainable future, and keeping us safe is devoid of values.  They pointed to a Pew Research poll showing that support for abortion has dropped by 8%.  They used that to say that social conservatism is on the rise.  They hailed Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin as the future of the Republican party.  Wasn't Huckabee rejected as a presidential candidate by his own party?  And again, didn't America get a chance to vote for Sarah Palin?  

Once again, I am going to date myself.  Does anyone remember the "new" Coke campaign?  Coke changed its formula and everybody hated it.  So a whopping 79 days later, Coke came out with Coca Cola Classic and quietly pulled the new Coke off the shelves.  Maybe that's what the Republicans are doing.  Rolling out a "new" Republicanism, test marketing it, failing and then going back to classic Republicanism.  Change in appearance only, seeming to change, but not.  Yep, that's classic. 

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