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October 20, 2013

How to Fix the GOP, Vol. XXVIIV, Ed. 8 [laceyunderalls]

Chances are high at least half of Ace's readership went back to the cheerleader or whiskey thread after reading that headline. Fair enough. I have those days (which sometimes extend into weeks and months). Perhaps it's the serenity of sitting at my desk overlooking the trees that are just starting to turn with their full set of leaves but I'm having an explicable moment of optimism. It's a rare moment and since Ace graciously gave me keys, in his absence I thought thought I'd share my thoughts as to what we're doing wrong and how we can turn it around.

There's a whole host of reasons why we lost in 2012 but the one most seem to dissect is messaging so I'll toss my hat in that ring. It's easy for Democrats to be unified in their message to the masses. When you're merely pandering to the lowest common denominator of ideas and solutions, it's not challenging or muddled in the least. 'Tax the rich!' and/or 'Pay your fair share!" is a simple way to pander because it rolls right off the tongue and it requires not an ounce of intellectual curiosity.

In the age of 'Damn, the GOP SUCKS at messaging', it's easy to remember why that it is. In addition to the fact that we're not lemmings who can just spew mindless platitudes on cue, we're individuals and not part of some weird circle-jerk collective. Our individuality is both a blessing and a curse in the game of politics. While our common goals can unite us 100% of the time, our strategy on how to achieve those goals can be our own worst enemy.

Since our 2012 losses I've watched as people who agree 95% of the time on issues lunge at one another's throats over strategy:

Defund it. Don't defund it.

We need more outreach. Define outreach -- That sounds like pandering to me!

We need to embrace Teh Culture™!! What the hell exactly is Teh Culture™??

Around and around it goes. It's been one year and we're still doing this. It's maddening. At what point are we going to step back and realize we're really over-complicating all of this and that the infighting is a colossal waste of time. The voting electorate is not following the in's and out's of the day-to-day OUTRAGE™ we seem to partake it on a hourly basis.

My belief? They only way we have a shot at winning national elections on a wide-scale again is to adopt the methods the Democrats use: Keep it simple. Keep hammering Democrats. And keep it united.

The Shutdown was a pile of fail. No way to really spin it any other way in my opinion. But the silver lining there is that this isn't a major election year. The electorate is comprised of people with an attention span akin to a fruit fly. I don't believe this will be an issue (as long as it doesn't happen again next February). I see the Showdown-Shutdown dramarama as a zero sum so we have an opportunity to start fresh.

Here's where my optimism comes into play....

404Care. Yes, that. That can, and if we play our cards right, will be our winning ticket for 2014 and hopefully 2016. The theatrics of the Showdown-Shutdown will be forgotten by next November. But the fact that Marty and Mable Middle Class' premiums have doubled or that their policies were cancelled outright (thanks to Obamacare) will not be. Now is the GOP's opportunity to hit home (and hit hard) the devastating effects this monstrosity is having on ordinary American families and their monthly budgets.

Warning: I'm going partial populist ahead here. It's my firm belief that if the GOP wants an influx of votes it needs to look to courting the middle class. To do that, they're going to really have to be disciplined in their messaging. Regarding 404Care, the rich will have the financial means to find concierge doctors while simultaneously bypassing 404Care's bureacracy. So 404Care won't touch them. The poor, having not been covered before, won't know the difference in sub-standard services. Meanwhile the folks footing the bill - the middle class - have the most to lose. They'll be hurt the most financially and in what they perceive and see as a reduction in the quality of their care. So why aren't we courting them? Why HAVEN'T we been courting them since our losses in 2012?

Obamacare was always our winning strategy and we've been blowing it. The poor were never going to vote for us because all they know is that we're the ones who want to take away their grab-bag of free governmental goodies whether it's 404Care or some other entitlement. Conversely, are we to believe the rich are going to vote for The Pantsuit in 2016 because we decided to focus more on healthcare for one or two elections rather than their tax cuts? Yeah, I'm not seeing that scenario play out.

Back to my formula...

Keep it simple: Seventy-five percent of the US population had workable health care pre-Obamacare. Why did we take a wrecking ball to a workable system at the expense of the remaining few who didn't (mainly of which *chose* not to purchase it)? Feel free to ask your Congressperson that question. You deserve an answer.

Keep hammering Democrats: Are you one of the hundreds of millions in the U.S. who are looking at your 2014 insurance premiums in utter disbelief? Thank a Democrat for that. That's *all* Obamacare as not one single Republican voted for that legislation which is forcing you to pick paying your car payment, your mortgage, or your health care month after month.

Keep it united: Here's where the discipline comes in. Frankly, I'm not hopeful people have it but it's the only way this works. The Establishment™ needs to spend less time doing oppo research on the more conservative members in our caucus. And the Trues™ need to to spend more time hitting DemLibProgs and less time hitting their fellow Republicans.

We're not good at multi-tasking. And when we take on too much, our message becomes muddled or diminished outright. The only path I see for us to pick up votes is to hit the Obamacare/Middle Class angle from now until election day November 2014. To do that will require discipline like our party has never seen. The last year (but the last month especially) is like a scene straight out of Seinfeld with our (very public) airing of grievances. I'm pretty sure I saw one or two feats of strength rituals taking place as well. Do we have that all our our system now? PLEASE??

So... am I wrong in my line of thinking?

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posted by Open Blogger at 04:59 PM

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