Hearing so much chatter about “change” in the Republican Party, the innocent voter might believe that the Republicans had learned important lessons from their stinging electoral defeat. On closer examination, however, the likelihood of real change appears nil, because the party’s leaders and thinkers can cite so many excuses to remain utterly the same.
At the Republican Governors Association conference last week, for instance, the favored explanation for the voting public’s emphatic rejection of Mitt Romney had nothing to do with issues or ideology, but only with more effective Democratic Party organizing and communicating. According to Wade Goodwyn, the National Public Radio reporter who covered the GOP governors’ meeting, their post-election mood was not one of shock, but complacency.
“It was widely agreed that nothing needed to be changed except perhaps the tone,” he found. “For example, the idea that more than 70 percent of Hispanics voted for the president because of Republican positions on illegal immigration was rejected by the Republican governors.”
That would be hard to believe if Goodwyn were not such an excellent and experienced journalist, because it is so stupid, so insulting, and makes so little sense. Could it really be true that the nation’s Republican governors — one of whom is quite likely to be the party’s next presidential nominee — are so obtuse and so obstinate that they would reject change even on immigration?
Republican leaders also seem inclined to ignore voter sentiment on the issue of taxes, despite majorities of 70 percent or better that agree the rich should pay more (including many voters who identify with the GOP). Rep. Mike Pence, who will become the governor of Indiana next January, told the Republican governors that he remains firmly opposed to any tax increase, especially on “those in the best position to put hurting Americans back to work,” which is GOP code for mega-millionaires and above.
Clearly the Republicans in Congress too feel free to ignore public opinion on this question, since Speaker John Boehner and his caucus have offered a “compromise” on fiscal policy that represents no change whatsoever from their earlier positions and the Romney platform. Government can accrue fresh revenues from growth, they say; nothing new or even meaningful there. And government can close unspecified loopholes and deductions to increase revenues, too. Where have we heard that before?
Meanwhile, the consulting geniuses who predicted a Romney victory — a landslide, even! — are peddling alibis about why their party lost despite billions spent. Fox News expert Dick Morris says it is because their voter machinery failed, the Romney campaign didn’t fight back, and Hurricane Sandy persuaded all of the undecided voters to back Barack Obama.
By the way, Morris now predicts that the economy will suffer a ruinous decline over the coming year or two, so Republicans can just sit back and watch the Democrats sink with it. Which is another way of saying no need for change on any front. Given his record as an oracle, both Democrats and Americans more generally now have great reasons for optimism.
Karl Rove, who squandered vast sums of his generous donors’ money, has lots of explaining to do. But he always has lots of explanations. This time, having reluctantly acknowledged electoral reality, Rove agrees with Morris that the Romney campaign’s failures were mostly to blame. He is full of advice for the party leaders, urging them to change the date of the convention, try to avoid “sounding judgmental and callous” on social issues, and “do better — much better” with Hispanics, younger voters, women, and middle-class families.
How should Republicans “do better” with those voter groups? On that question, Rove resorts to clichés about “reframing” messages and “re-engineering” voter turnout efforts, as though issues and policies have nothing to do with motivating actual voters.
Finally, Rove insists that his donors will continue to pour good money after bad into the coffers of American Crossroads, his SuperPAC. His current bleating sounds nothing like his confident bluster a decade ago, when he looked forward to a Republican realignment and unchecked power for decades to come.
Reality has changed, but Republicans won’t. They insist on creating their own reality, like Rove and his friends at Fox News always did — but fewer and fewer Americans will still pretend to live there.
By: Joe Conason, The National Memo, November 18, 2012
During a meeting of the Republican Governors Association in Orlando this week, Frank Luntz, one of the most well known political communications strategist in the country, talked to GOPers about how they could do a better job talking about the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Yahoo News’ Chris Moody reports that “Luntz offered tips on how Republicans could discuss the grievances of the Occupiers, and help the governors better handle all these new questions from constituents about ‘income inequality’ and ‘paying your fair share.’”
“I’m so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I’m frightened to death,” said Luntz, a Republican strategist and one of the nation’s foremost experts on crafting the perfect political message. “They’re having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism.”
According to Moody, this was Luntz’s advice:
1. Don’t say ‘capitalism.’
“I’m trying to get that word removed and we’re replacing it with either ‘economic freedom’ or ‘free market,’ ” Luntz said. “The public . . . still prefers capitalism to socialism, but they think capitalism is immoral. And if we’re seen as defenders of quote, Wall Street, end quote, we’ve got a problem.”
2. Don’t say that the government ‘taxes the rich.’ Instead, tell them that the government ‘takes from the rich.’
“If you talk about raising taxes on the rich,” the public responds favorably, Luntz cautioned. But ”if you talk about government taking the money from hardworking Americans, the public says no. Taxing, the public will say yes.”
3. Republicans should forget about winning the battle over the ‘middle class.’ Call them ‘hardworking taxpayers.’
“They cannot win if the fight is on hardworking taxpayers. We can say we defend the ‘middle class’ and the public will say, I’m not sure about that. But defending ‘hardworking taxpayers’ and Republicans have the advantage.”
4. Don’t talk about ‘jobs.’ Talk about ‘careers.’
“Everyone in this room talks about ‘jobs,’” Luntz said. “Watch this.”
He then asked everyone to raise their hand if they want a “job.” Few hands went up. Then he asked who wants a “career.” Almost every hand was raised.
“So why are we talking about jobs?”
5. Don’t say ‘government spending.’ Call it ‘waste.’
“It’s not about ‘government spending.’ It’s about ‘waste.’ That’s what makes people angry.”
6. Don’t ever say you’re willing to ‘compromise.’
“If you talk about ‘compromise,’ they’ll say you’re selling out. Your side doesn’t want you to ‘compromise.’ What you use in that to replace it with is ‘cooperation.’ It means the same thing. But cooperation means you stick to your principles but still get the job done. Compromise says that you’re selling out those principles.”
7. The three most important words you can say to an Occupier: ‘I get it.’
“First off, here are three words for you all: ‘I get it.’ . . . ‘I get that you’re. I get that you’ve seen inequality. I get that you want to fix the system.”
Then, he instructed, offer Republican solutions to the problem.
8. Out: ‘Entrepreneur.’ In: ‘Job creator.’
Use the phrases “small business owners” and “job creators” instead of “entrepreneurs” and “innovators.”
9. Don’t ever ask anyone you want them to ‘sacrifice.’
“There isn’t an America today in November of 2011 who doesn’t think they’ve already sacrificed. If you tell them you want them to ‘sacrifice,’ they’re going to be be pretty angry at you. You talk about how ‘we’re all in this together.’ We either succeed together or we fail together.”
10. Always blame Washington.
Tell them, “You shouldn’t be occupying Wall Street, you should be occupying Washington. You should occupy the White House because it’s the policies over the past few years that have created this problem.”
The Occupy movement has scored a number of small victories since September, when the Occupy Wall Street protesters first assembled in downtown New York. Bank of America announced it would not be charging debit card fees, one of the many triggers that sparked the protests, and a congressman introduced an amendment called the OCCUPIED Amendment that would reform campaign finance laws. Campaign finance rules that favor corporate power are a chief Occupy Wall Street target.
By: The Washington Independent, Admin, December 1, 2011