It’s the Messengers and the Basic MessagePosted: January 17, 2013
You have to wonder if there’s any hope for a political party that has to train its elected officials on what to say about rape and how to talk to women and minorities. They need more than just simple work on their message, their messengers, and their milieu. Is it possible to get personality, conscience, and brain transplants for so many people?
Here’s just an example of the insensitivity and tone deafness: “House Republicans Meet at a Former Slave Plantation to Practice Talking to Black People”.
Besides partaking in discussions about the debt ceiling and gun restrictions, GOP congressmen and women will also be getting schooled in the fine art of how to have “successful communication with minorities and women.”
One might presume that people elected to high office in America have at least a general understanding of how to talk to and about minorities and women without saying unimaginably offensive things, but one would be wrong. Far too many Republicans have a remarkable way of saying the absolutely wrong thing time and again about everything from rape to Kwanzaa. Sadly, a lesson about why it’s wrong to equivocate about a woman being raped or why it’s not a great idea to make all your House committee chairs white men is exactly what the GOP needs.
And what better place to talk about making inroads with oppressed groups than in a room named after a famous Williamsburg plantation, located in the tony Kingsmill Resort, which itself is on the site of another plantation? The GOP has heard your complaints, blacks and Latinos and women, and they’re going to try to suss it out while sitting atop dead slave bones.
The Press hasn’t really had any access but drivel keeps dribbling out of the Williamsburg Back to Recreating Reality and History Fest. I’m not holding out much hope that they’ll come out of their echo chamber with any radical paradigm shifts.
What we do have: The itinerary of the half-week meting. Among the panels:
- Polling Session (“What Happened and Where Are We Now?”), featuring Dave Winston (who produced Boehner’s poll which suggested that cuts-for-a-debt-limit-hike were popular), Kellyanne Conway, and the Tarrance Group’s David Sackett.
- What is the Role of the Republican Majority in the 113th Congress? with Bill Kristol and the influential-among-conservatives WSJ columnist Kim Strassel.
- American Trends — How Is America Changing?, with election prognosticator Charlie Cook.
- Who Speaks for Middle America?, with National Review’s Kate O’Berine and Ramesh Ponnuru, and EPPC’s Jim Capretta
- How to Communicate Principles in Today’s Media Environment, with Ari Fleischer, Frank Luntz, and onetime Bachmann/Romney debate coach Brett O’Donnell.
– Common Ethics Pitfalls, with two attorneys from Wiley Rein LLP.
- Successful Communication with Minorities and Women, with a female moderator (Rachel Campos-Duffy), a female consultant (Ana Navarro), a female congressman (Rep. Jaime Herrera Buetler), and three congressmen who are neithor female nor minorities: Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Scott Rigell, and Rep. Frank Wolf.
I’ve decided that a lot of their problems have to do with the fact that most of them have blind faith and think that’s a good thing. They keep offering up things that have never worked and will not work. Blind faith suggests you should just do it regardless of anything but blind faith. As long as they operate from this frame, they have no hope of ever becoming relevant again.
All you have to do is look at various quotes on evidence from great minds and you’ll get the major difference between a great mind and today’s crop of republicans. This is one of my favorite quotes on the difference between those really seeking the truth and solutions and those that just cling to whatever belief they really, really, really want to believe.
In scientific study, or, as I prefer to phrase it, in creative scholarship, the truth is the single end sought; all yields to that. The truth is supreme, not only in the vague mystical sense in which that expression has come to be a platitude, but in a special, definite, concrete sense. Facts and the immediate and necessary inductions from facts displace all pre-conceptions, all deductions from general principles, all favourite theories. Previous mental constructions are bowled over as childish play-structures by facts as they come rolling into the mind. The dearest doctrines, the most fascinating hypotheses, the most cherished creations of the reason and of the imagination perish from a mind thoroughly inspired with the scientific spirit in the presence of incompatible facts. Previous intellectual affections are crushed without hesitation and without remorse. Facts are placed before reasonings and before ideals, even though the reasonings and the ideals be more beautiful, be seemingly more lofty, be seemingly better, be seemingly truer. The seemingly absurd and the seemingly impossible are sometimes true. The scientific disposition is to accept facts upon evidence, however absurd they may appear to our pre-conceptions.
Republicans have faith in pre-conceptions that-even when proven wrong continuously–they believe just require a little cosmetic messaging makeover so the rest of us will see where they are coming from and embrace their ideology. They don’t seem to understand that those of us that find blind faith to be defined as “embrace of complete ignorance” don’t find anything they say the least bit compelling as a result. They assume they just need to become better dog whistle whisperers and the dogs, the cats, the dolphins, and all manner of animals will come.
Paul Ryan came out of the snakepit long enough to dribble the usual economic memes that completely deny economic theory, evidence, and policy needs. They continue to link the debt ceiling increase–which is necessary because they’ve already spent a lot of money–to spending less money on things they hate which usually gives them hard little willies. They want to punt yet again on the debt thing until they figure out a way to get their way without looking like the jerks the really, truly are.
The House’s Republicans, assembled at a retreat outside Williamsburg, Virginia, are discussing the “virtues” of passing a short-term increase in the federal debt limit.
So says Rep. Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman from Wisconsin.
“We are discussing the possible virtues of a short-term debt-limit extension so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and White House involved in the discussion,” Ryan told reporters outside the private meetings.
Internal GOP polls back the GOP image problem: A mere 11 percent of respondents thought national spending and deficits were the most important issue facing the American public. Thirty-five percent pegged the economy as the top issue. The GOP has had a tough time connecting the two.
Yes, the GOP has a tough time connecting the two because every one knows their austerity pogrammes have nothing to do with creating jobs and economic well-being and everything to to do with their faith based economics which basically keep enriching and empowering their billionaire donor base and corporate overlords. Perhaps, as Tiger Beat on the Potomac suggests, they need to focus on a bigger question?
Times have changed for Republicans. For much of the past decade, they have been rallying around making permanent the Bush-era tax rates. Now, many have voted to let those rates lapse on high-income earners while keeping low middle-class rates. Now tax reform — long a Republican mantra — seems a distant possibility.
The fractured majority, the last bastion of power for Republicans in Washington, faces a more existential question: What does it mean to be a Republican during a second Obama term? How can they exact legislative victories from Obama while driving forward their own agenda in a town where they have just a sliver of control?
And what exactly is a Republican agenda at a time when complicated fiscal issues — on which Republicans used to have a distinct polling advantage — are at the fore?
Let me suggest something here. Republican policies hurt every one but the extremely wealthy. They declare very long wars with very large, unpaid bills for non-US Defense related purposes and none of them die for any of it. They assign women, minorities, and GLBTs to less-than-equal citizen status based on specific religious whims and allow the proliferation of assault weapons while they hide up in gated fortresses. The force us to rely on dirty, climate destroying fossil fuels all the while ignoring the extreme weather around us and the resulting disasters. They give their friends monopoly profit from death, pestilence, and war. None of this makes the majority of Americans happy and the majority of Americans want none of it if you actually poll them honestly. None of this brings economic prosperity. None of this increases US median incomes, quality of life, or public safety, health or security. In short, we continually get the same agendas that have been proven disastrous and costly over and over and over again. We tell them no in elections and polls. They just regroup to find better ways to tell us just have a little more faith. Then, their rich asshole benefactors like Pete Peterson and the Koch Brothers spread money around trying to convince every one in the country that up is really done. We’ve seen this repeatedly since the 1980s. A lot of us have wised up to it.
House Republicans heard it loud and clear Wednesday: They are unpopular, and need to change their ways.Speaker John Boehner’s House Republican Conference is more disliked now than when it took the majority two years ago, lawmakers and aides here found out. After taking a bruising in the 2012 elections, the Republican Party needs an image makeover and the GOP must learn to relate better to voters.
Ya think when polls show that communism in America is more popular than House Republicans that all they need is an image makeover?
David Winston, a top GOP pollster and close adviser to Boehner, unveiled the House Republicans’ most recent favorable rating based on his own analysis: It came in at a barrel-scraping 27 percent.
House Democrats’ numbers are a full 19 points higher at 46 percent. Winston’s analysis: Neither party is popular, but the GOP is less so. The lawmakers heard that the way to turn things around is for the party to pivot squarely to the economy and jobs — the chief concerns of most voters.
After an election dominated by a steady stream of gaffes by the GOP’s presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, and some of its highest-profile candidates, some of the speakers at Wednesday’s retreat counseled the GOP on how to turn things around. Doing so will be paramount as the party enters a period of tense conflict with President Barack Obama over fiscal matters like the nation’s debt ceiling and the sequester.
Domino’s Pizza CEO J. Patrick Doyle explained to House Republicans how he remade his company’s brand.
At the tail end of a panel, Winston and fellow Republican pollsters Kellyanne Conway and Dave Sackett urged the GOP to work hard to relate better to voters. That’s why, the pollsters said in a question-and-answer session, Romney lost his bid for the White House — because no one identified with the aloof-seeming wealthy former venture capitalist whom Democrats painted as way out of touch with the average voter.
Romney may not have been likable but his message–that 47% of us are grifters–was even more unlikable and the voting public resoundingly defeated all of that. I’m still waiting to hear the results from this panel: the National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru, journalist Kate O’Beirne and James Capretta of the American Enterprise Institute will explore “Who speaks for middle America?”. It’s going to be a bit like watching Marlon Perkins describing what it’s like to wrestle a tiger by standing in front of the video showing some one else doing it. Can any one think of three people less likely to get the middle class than those three? Maybe they could’ve gotten George Will, Tom Brokaw, and David Brooks to do it less believably than that. I’m actually thinking Romney could probably do a better job. At least, he never spent most of his days in the Washington DC beltway elite bubble.
I’m still of the opinion that the Republican party needs to go the way of the WHIGS. I can’t see them ever rising above representing any one but the American Equivalent of the Saudi Royal Family and the Taliban ever again. But then, I’m a researcher so I always test my hypotheses against evidence rather than begging you all to just take it on blind faith.