Will the GOP Rebranding Work?

Some Repubs don't buy it

Joe Gandelman / The Week (Mar. 18, 2013)


Don't believe all the talk about a major rebranding of the Republican Party. Because if there's a serious attempt at rebranding, it's off to a barely discernable start.

Today's Republican Party seems like The Coca Cola Company in its failed 1985 attempt to replace Classic Coke with "New Coke." For the last few years, Republicans have offered voters the New GOP, heavily flavored with tea and talk-show-style rhetorical bile. Many voters from growing demographic groups don't like that product. They yearn for Classic GOP, flavored with real, thoughtful, compassionate, traditional conservatism.

Sadly, GOP Classic won't return anytime soon. Despite Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal's plea that the GOP stop being the "stupid party,"  there are few signs that ideological groups such as CPAC, Congressional Republicans, right-wing media, and conservative bloggers want to thoughtfully discuss issues and offer substantive, achievable solutions.

To truly rebrand, the GOP must extricate itself from a talk radio political culture that glorifies and rewards confrontation, brinksmanship, snarkiness, over- the-top verbal demonization and division — and considers consensus oh, so 20th century, and compromise as something akin to treason.

Exit polls showed that in 2012, Obama won moderates by 15 points. A Third Way poll found that Obama won by building a coalition of liberals and moderates. Moderates are called "RINOS" in a GOP populated with RINO-hunting tea partiers. And the crime of Suspicion of Moderation was enough to keep New Jersey Gov. Chris "Mr. Home-State-Approval-Rating-74-Percent" Christie from being invited to CPAC because, as one CPAC member told a reporter, Christie has a "limited future" in the Republican Party.

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