A Lot of Cooks in the GOP Kitchen

By Steve Benen, Maddow Blog - February 14, 2013

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Republican consultant Alex Castellanos

We talked recently about House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's (R-Va.) rebranding initiative, which is his fourth such effort in the last four years. Apparently, he's going to have some company.

When Cantor launched his first rebranding effort in 2009, it was through an entity called the National Council for a New America. What's been largely forgotten is that it wasn't alone -- after Republicans' electoral failures in 2008, all kinds of rebranding groups popped up to also help improve the party's image.

Remember organizational powerhouses like Rebuild The Party, the Center for Republican Renewal, Renewing American Leadership, and Resurgent Republic? No? Well, that's because they all came and went fairly quickly, just as the National Council for a New America did.

As it happens, it appears history is repeating itself. In the wake of another national cycle in which the GOP struggled, Cantor has a new rebranding initiative, and once again, he's not the only one. is the brainchild of GOP consultant and CNN pundit Alex Castellanos, whose clients have included Mitt Romney and former President George W. Bush. Castellanos is joining a growing cottage industry of Republicans who are trying to rebrand and rebuild the party as President Obama begins his second term. [...]

The group is not advocating that the GOP abandon its conservative principles; rather that the party figure out how to present them in a more modern and effective way.

How original. Cantor's office, the Heritage Foundation, and now are all pursuing the same goal at the same time, and may yet find more related groups doing the same thing.

All of these efforts have one thing in common: they're predicated on the assumption that the Republican agenda is effective and popular, and the party will thrive once they find the most persuasive words to convince Americans how great the GOP really is.

It is, after all, the whole point of rebranding: a fresh coat of paint on an unchanged product. Republicans aren't losing because they're part of a radicalized party with a failed governing vision and a narrow electoral base; they're losing because they just aren't spinning their awesomeness effectively enough.

Or so the argument goes.

To reiterate a point from a month ago, this really is misguided. Republicans have found themselves on the wrong side of the American mainstream, not because of inadequate talking points, but because most of the country likes Medicare, doesn't hate gay people, thinks the rich can afford to pay a little more in taxes, wants fewer wars, supports taking steps to prevent gun violence, and believes the government should stay out of our bedrooms and doctors' offices, among other things.

The road to electoral success is for Republicans to consider changing their policies, not their sloganeering.

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If you change the box, but there's still an unwanted product inside, the result are going to be the same. No matter if you call it feces or high-grade fertilizer, crap is still crap, and there is no altering that.

So Alex Castellanos is working on a way to help the GOP rebrand, reframe, and improve their often condescending, insulting, or offensive tone in speaking to people or groups they generally see as BENEATH them, but whom they want to induce to vote with them anyway?

Will they be putting that Meet the Press roundtable video on in continuous loop? You know, the one where Castellanos acted as a model of this new behavior by trying to pat Rachel on the head and tell her she was mistaken, while assuming a deeply fact-challenged viewpoint about how women only make $.70 on the dollar that men make?

But you know, Rachel, you're just so passionate in your "opinions." Why don't you go sit in that corner over there and we'll just pat you on the head as we walk past, like the other frozen-faced Stepford wives that are the only women allowed in the GOP, part of this new inclusive, reframed "brand" designed to make you feel "special" for even being allowed to be in the room (so long as you don't get too "uppity" or deign to speak authoritatively to your "betters.").

Isn't that BETTER NOW? I'm sure women and ethnic minorities and LGBT people will all start voting Republican in droves. How can they resist?

Watch Rachel Maddow Own GOP Strategist Alex Castellanos After He Claims that Women Don’t Actually Make Less Than Men

I was wondering if this was the same shipdit that was so patronizing to Rachel that time. I don't see how he is the person that will ever be able to present an attractive face to the repub party line. Someone as repulsive as he is needs to go hide in a closet if he doesn't want to see his organization fall further into disrepute.

Whoops, sorry, looks like that video is no longer playing on Jezebel. Here it is on HuffPo instead.

Let me guess, each and every one of these re-branding efforts will be led by an old white man cleverly disguising old white man policies.

Definition of insanity: repeatedly committing the same act that led to previous failure in anticipation of a different outcome.


Brevity is admired, Grumpy, and yours in this case tells the story of the last too many years in this country Thanks!

Colbert did a hilarious bit on this the other day. That Republicans need to learn how to smile.

What the GOP isn't realizing is that framing will only get you so far. If your policies are an outright attack against large portions of the population, then they ain't gonna vote for you.

Going after unions, women, Latinos, the LGBT community, anyone who isn't an Evangelical, working stiffs, none of them are going to be happy when you're attacking them.

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