Can The GOP Revamp Their Brand?

If you know me, you’re aware I’m a little more than casual when it comes to politics. While I’m more familiar with Palmetto State happenings, I’m also a fan of the politics and policy dynamics on our national stage.

As I watched the Republican National Convention tonight, my brain involuntarily started churning about some hits and misses regarding the GOP’s message and brand.

Disclaimer:  This post is not to side with either party, or push any personal political leanings on anyone. Remember, the Democratic National Convention is next week, and I’ll type the same type post during that event.

I know tomorrow is the big night, but given there were a lot of speeches tonight by many GOP leaders, and since we already know where both factions stand, tomorrow night is rather predictable.

Here’s a quick rundown of what the GOP is fighting against its own brand:

-Fiscal Stuff:  The GOP has successfully branded Obama as a socialist and big spender to the “hard right.” I have MANY friends that won’t buy a GM vehicle because they’ve associated Obama with “Government Motors.” Well, there’s this:  “I didn’t want there to be 21 percent unemployment. Sometimes circumstances get in the way of philosophy. I said, ‘No depression.’” – President George W. Bush.

Remember TARP? Same thing. Folks peg this on D’s, but it’s actually GOP executive lore.

The auto bailout and TARP are masterful examples of branding and “defining your opponent, before they define you.”  However, as time has passed, the educated public sees through it, which is a problem for any Republican nominee.

-Fiscal Stuff: The”U.S. Debt” clock in the back of the arena is very nice and brings some drama. Problem is that clock has been ticking up since I was in grade school. That’s 20 years of Republican executive leadership, and 12 Democrat. Clock is still ticking = clock is meaningless, and close to damaging.

-More Fiscal Stuff:  “Conservative” and recent history. Obama takes massive heat from everywhere on issues of taxes and debt ceilings. Well, our iconic President Reagan raised taxes and raised the debt ceiling. President George H.W. Bush raised taxes and President G.W. Bush raised taxes, bailed out the auto industry and the big banks. Governor Romney has to convince us otherwise, even with Rep. Ryan’s vote for the $700 billion bank bailout (before he voted against it). Remember John Kerry’s fatal last line?

-Freedom/Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness (Declaration of Independence)/The First Amendment: As a “one-liner” this is a killer message. This is an example of where perfect/imperfect language meets message and doesn’t check out. Ask anyone that’s for “choice,” or a person attempting to marry another of the same sex, therefore enjoying the benefits of other Americans. This can come off as “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom!”  Hold up, bring it on back… not this much freedom.

-Gas Prices: I don’t pretend to know the complex world of OPEC as it relates to U.S. oil markets. That said, I have to think firing missiles at oil producing regions of the globe for years has something to do with oil prices. Again, not weighing in… just thinking out loud as it pertains to a message.

-Jobs/Jobs/Jobs: “I want to be President, so I can create jobs!”  Well, this is confusing because we’re to think government doesn’t create jobs.  Pipelines, military, infrastructure, tax incentives, welfare reform, workfare, trickle up, trickle down, or whatever… this creates an instant mixed message for the GOP brand.

-Modern American Snapshot: It will be very interesting to see a camera’s snapshot of the GOP’s convention compared to the DNC’s, and how it translates into actual votes. Breaking it down into a state by state, electoral college system of America’s electorate, this has to be a huge hill for Governor Romney to climb.

-“We Built It”:  I completely get the tag line, and that it’s a direct response to Obama’s “…you didn’t build that.”  Nice slogan, to be sure, but for every small business person, mortgage broker, or Realtor (whatever industry) that’s built a business in the Tampa hall tonight, there’s 1,000’s that have actually skillfully connected a widget to another to build something. After all, isn’t that what we’re all yearning for? “Made In America.”

I’m well aware of the difference. Obama was talking about how business folks didn’t build their businesses. As clever as the “We Built It” slogan may be, there simply aren’t enough small business folks out there to out-vote the laborers who actually piece American products together. The convention slogan is good, but can only appeal to so many voters.

I thought of a few other tidbits (ObamaCare/RomneyCare) but it’s getting kinda late.

Don’t get me wrong with some thoughts in this post. The GOP has energy and some good messages. I’m simply picking at some of the challenges Governor Romney faces in the next few weeks. I think he’s a good man, and has what’s best for America at heart. After all, he doesn’t need the job… AT ALL. This could be a good thing.

Further thinking, I wonder if the national mantra is still  “Are you better off now than you were four years ago.” Hmm. Some folks may want to do that math, some may not.

Disclaimer:  See disclaimer above. I’m not taking sides. I’m simply typing a few fleeting thoughts about the challenges any GOP nominee would face given all that’s going on.

I’ll do the same when the DNC hits Charlotte, NC!


  1. Refreshing read!

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