Wednesday, February 27, 2013

GOP Makeover Seems to Have Hit a Snag

     The WSJ poll has some rather sobering news for the GOP in terms of public opinion: it favors the Democratic approach to most issues.

     "How’s that GOP “makeover” going? Not too well, according to the internals of the new NBC/WSJ poll. If these findings aren’t enough to persuade Republican strategists that the party needs a rethink on the issues — and not just a change in tone and packaging — then it’s hard to imagine what will."

     "The poll finds that Democrats hold a double digit lead over Republicans on many major issues facing the country — and finds solid majority support for key initiatives on Obama’s second term agenda. Dems hold a 22 point advantage on looking out for the middle class; an 18 point advantage on dealing with Medicare; a 16 point advantage on health care; a 15 point advantage on reducing gun violence; a 14 point advantage on Social Security; a 10 point advantage on energy policy; a seven point advantage on immigration; and a three point advantage on the GOP signature issue of taxes. (Republicans prevail on the deficit, spending and national defense; more on this below.)"
     "Meanwhile, Americans support raising the minimum wage by 58-36;  they want gun laws to be made stricter by 61-34; and they support giving undocumented immigrants a path to legal status by 54-42 (in fairness, this question isn’t precise in that the wording doesn’t specify a path to citizenship)."
     "Strikingly, the poll finds that 64 percent say the GOP is “emphasizing a partisan approach in a way that does not unify the country,” versus only 22 percent who say the party is “emphasizing unifying the country.” For Obama those numbers are the other way around — 43-48."
     "This is the political atmosphere within which the battle will unfold over who is to blame for the damage done by the sequester. Now, in fairness, Republicans are favored on the deficit and controlling government spending. But even here, when you drill down deeper, you find that fifty two percent say the automatic across the board cuts to the budget are a bad idea; only 21 percent say they’re a good idea. Republicans will take solace from the finding that a plurality wants the sequester replaced by a plan with “more cuts.” But the poll question doesn’t inform respondents of the option of replacing the sequester cuts in part with eliminating tax breaks enjoyed by the rich and corporations, an oversight that casts doubt on the value of this finding. Many surveys that accurately poll the two parties’ positions on curbing the deficit — cuts only versus a mix of cuts and new revenues — show a solid advantage for the Dem position."
     Of course, a large part of the problem is that the makeover idea itself is the wrong approach. In their big annual January meeting this year, the GOP did not get the big message of a speech by that Domino's Pizza CEO:
    "At the January retreat, a halfway point in the midst of these budget battles, Cantor sounded chastened, or, at least, like a man wanting to appear chastened. “We’ve got to understand that people don’t think Republicans have their back,” he said. “Whether it’s the middle class, whether it’s the Latino or the Asian vote.” It was not “necessarily our policies” but, rather, how “we’ve been portrayed.” He added, “It goes to that axiom about how people don’t really care how much you know until they know you care. So we’ve got to take that to heart and, I think, look to be able to communicate why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
     "Cantor had been struck by one presentation at the retreat. Patrick Doyle, the president and C.E.O. of Domino’s, had given a talk called “Turning It Around,” in which he explained that he revived the failing company after conducting extensive research that led him to conclude that Domino’s pizza was terrible. But Cantor seemed more interested in Doyle’s sales advice than in his point about his product.

    “There was a discussion about features and benefits,” he said. “Marketing 101, right? If you’re selling detergent and you put a new blue dot in a detergent block, that’s a feature. But the benefit is it gets your clothes cleaned.” He paused to let the lesson sink in.

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     So Cantor thinks it's a marketing problem, totally ignoring Doyle's point. That maybe the pizza is not as good as they think isn't even up for consideration. 

     Incidentally, Cantor makes another big admission in this piece: that he was the one who talked Boehner out of the Grand Bargain back in 2011. His reasoning was that it would be better politically for the GOP:

      "Cantor was one of the most influential political forces in Obama’s first term. In June of 2011, the President and the Speaker began working toward a Grand Bargain of major tax increases and spending cuts to address the government’s long-term budget deficits. Until late June, Boehner had managed to keep these talks secret from Cantor. On July 21st, Boehner paused in his discussions with Obama to talk to Cantor and outline the proposed deal. As Obama waited by the phone for a response from the Speaker, Cantor struck. Cantor told me that it was a “fair assessment” that he talked Boehner out of accepting Obama’s deal. He said he told Boehner that it would be better, instead, to take the issues of taxes and spending to the voters and “have it out” with the Democrats in the election. Why give Obama an enormous political victory, and potentially help him win reĆ«lection, when they might be able to negotiate a more favorable deal with a new Republican President? Boehner told Obama there was no deal. Instead of a Grand Bargain, Cantor and the House Republicans made a grand bet."

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     So what he's saying is that he allowed our credit rating to be downgraded-not that I care much about the rating agencies-and put us through that whole ordeal, and left us without a better deal just to benefit the Republican party. He also was dead wrong in his analysis as this actually hurt the GOP much more than Obama. Again, on the idea that it's just marketing is dead wrong, and, again, like in 2011 it seems the party is listening to him. Clearly the numbers show it's working. 

1 comment:

  1. Ahh... my comment got trashed somehow. First time that happened.

    My point was that the GOP is acting like a Bond villain: determined to take Bond down with them rather than change their ways. They've grabbed hold of his leg, and want to take him over the edge as well.