Recognizable Republicans are foraging for a fresh advertising brand. What their party needs first is a genetic credo to guide its programs and campaign slogans.
By searching now for political positions that conservatives can adopt to shake off Democrats’ branding of the GOP as “the party of no,” they have it bass-ackwards. And Barack Obama will use that to beat them like a little tin drum.
Those well-known conservatives, and even the easily forgettable ones, who are collectively and individually scanning their political GPS devices for the Holy Grail that has eluded recent losers at the polls are making the same strategic error of coveting what they assume made Democrats successful in 2006 and 2008, and, they fear, might well do so again in 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016.
Those well-intended Republicans are decent public servants who apparently suffer temporary memory loss of what has always elected conservatives.
It wasn’t porky legislative entitlements or feel-good programs. It was something no more complex and difficult to comprehend than a good, old-fashion, principled political credo (Latin for “I believe”).
So what do those Republicans want to do now that they discover they are under the bus, where they were thrown or helped throw themselves? They want to re-brand their political party so it will sell better on Election Day.
They see the problem as poor public relations. In a way they’re right. The lousy image that contributed to their electoral losses was due to many Republicans’ blind flight away from the core beliefs that once defined the Grand Old Party.
Yet, they cling to the beguiling notion that shrewdly crafted images win or lose elections. The truth is, it’s actual substance that creates images, for good or bad.
They look at the Obama success and covet what it has that they don’t have. They fail to realize the last thing they should want is what Democrats are transiently enjoying in such unmannerly fashion.
Liberals are sucking on the big malted-milk ball that is their present control of the White House and both sides of the Capitol. Conservatives, from their seats in the corner, look on and think, “How sweet that must taste!”
Republicans need to realize the milk-chocolate coating will wear away, and inside the ball is little more than a malt-flavored honey comb of a center that dissolves in a hurry . . . leaving a big nothing in its place.
The tasty outer coating Obama is doling out is one massive socialist program after another. At its vacuous center are what socialism historically boils down to — horrendous future cost, national failure, and loss of personal freedom.
Is that how conservatives want to compete? Our vacuousness beats yours?
The first order of business for conservatives serious about winning back this nation is not to gin up a brand for legislative programs they hope will taste sweeter than the leftists’ malted-milk candy. Rather, it is to rescue America’s founding credo from the oblivion into which it has been allowed to sink.
Both political parties are stumbling around in the same wilderness of lack of core principles as the rest of the country’s social institutions, from education to religion, to the arts, to law, to science, and especially to mass communications.
Those institutions have strayed from their core values, in search of something, anything, that won’t inconvenience or challenge their gulled followers. Thus, the eruption of crippling equivalencies — moral, legal, social, you name it.
This nation’s collective gag reflex is just now beginning to set in, and when it really gets under way, the beneficiaries will not be those candidates who offer the tastiest, malted-milk balls or the catchiest brand names.
What Americans will be seeking is an enduring credo . . . “I believe!” . . . not a flashy new advertising brand name for competing canned goods and soft soap.
Candidates and campaigns that most voters will accept and support stem from an indelible political DNA — call it a credo — not from an advertising brand that wouldn’t recognize a core belief if it jumped in its lap and cried, “Mommy!”
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com. Read John Perry's columns here.
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