As the old story goes, when you set out to sell dog food, your first step should be to make food that dogs like.
A pet food company learned that lesson the hard way after losing its shirt peddling a new brand of dog food pooches couldn’t stomach. That’s quite an accomplishment, considering the rancid mysteries dogs have been known to scarf down.
The Republican Party is in a similar position to what those would-be pet food barons endured. It’s peddling a political product large numbers of voters can’t stomach. Young people and minorities particularly find the party’s offerings unappetizing.
Much of the problem stems from the GOP’s image. It’s crying for a serious makeover to bring it up to date, beginning with its logo — an elephant. Deride Democrats as you wish, but they employ logos that send clear, compelling messages. President Obama’s logo, for instance, was a factor in his two presidential victories: you couldn’t step out your door and not encounter it. It kept him and his campaign on voters’ minds all the time.
The Democratic Party’s logo, a bucking donkey, is feisty, with a strong sense of motion and energy. Its message is unmistakable: “Bring that weak stuff on, if you dare,” as the hoof-prints on the shorts of Mitt Romney and John McCain attest.
The message of the GOP elephant logo is difficult to discern. It takes a moment, at first, to figure out just what it is. It could be a warped water tower or a teakettle with a misplaced spout. But no, it’s an elephant, doing what no elephant does in the wild — stand broadside and stationary. The message it sends is “Easy pickings here.”
The logo should have a great deal more oomph and dynamism. An improved logo would rampage, trumpeting a challenge to all comers. It should also have a pair of menacing tusks. Then let that damned donkey come rearing up in its face.
Party faithful might feel that the elephant as it is most popularly portrayed is part of GOP history and shouldn’t be tampered with. Naysayers should keep in mind, though, that once you use the word “history,” you’ve already lost two thirds of your audience. America is a today country, especially among the demographic groups the Republican Party hopes to attract.
After all, Williamsburg, Va. may be a historic and charming destination, but no one has to be dragged to Las Vegas. The most historic building in Sin City was built Monday. And you’d better hurry to see it, because it’s scheduled to be razed Saturday to clear the way for a new casino.
The party’s standard-bearers also need a bit of livening up. McCain and Romney are great American success stories, but both were as exciting and inspiring as store-brand mayonnaise. They simply reeked too much of white-bread, humble, rural America. Which is a polite way of saying they’re boring.
You can bet that in 2016, Democrats will bend over backwards to place a minority on the undercard of their national ticket. It will be someone the party’s media stenographers will adoringly portray as fresh-faced, exotic, and exciting. Does that remind you of anyone? Make book on either Massachusetts Gov. Patrick Deval or Newark Mayor Cory Booker — both youthful, attractive, and best of all (from a Democrat perspective) black.
The GOP must do the same, no matter what candidate heads the top of the ticket. The choice has to have a self-deprecating sense of humor and be authentic and not a token. He or she should drop an ocassional “g” at the end of words and avoid speaking with the same nasal affectation Richard Pryor used when mocking white people.
The candidate also needs proven street cred, such as at some point publicly stating that not every minority youth wearing a hoodie is a hood or wants to be one. He or she should know that a hoodie is urban camouflage for many kids growing up in tough environments. Kids wearing neatly pressed, well-fitting trousers, polo shirt, and penny loafers are begging for a thumping — even in upscale suburbs.
It’s also time for the GOP to sever its strong ties to country music. This especially holds true for Lee Greenwood and his song, “Proud to Be an American,” which the singer is sure to perform ad nauseam at hundreds of GOP campaign events now through Election Day in 2016. (Have your barf bag handy.)
Greenwood’s song is an inspiring, heartfelt little number, but it has grown tiresome and was always a bit cornball. Republicans repel far more than attract by their close embrace of it. The message they send to independents and wavering Democrats is smug, off-putting, and loud and clear: you’re flag-burning, commie-loving turncoats who hate America, and we’re not.
Besides, with the possible exception of polka, no other music is apt to make minorities and the young run with bleeding ears to the nearest rap club for relief and Democrat talking points set to a wicked beat. It’s not even good country music being made these days. You know — with the twang. It’s really bad Southern rock. Lynyrd Skynyrd and The Allman Brothers Band did it much better.
And why they’re at it, the GOP also needs to jettison all the rock ‘n’ roll fossils that have glommed onto it of late. There is something deeply disturbing about seeing your flabby grandparents do the Peppermint Twist to “My Generation” by The Who (average age: 68). Somewhere in this country of 300 million, there just has to be a charismatic, multi-racial rap group that raps on conservative themes. The GOP needs to find them, sponsor them, record them, and put them on tour.
The Drive-By Pundit is the pen name of Perry Drake, author of two recently published e-books, The Book of Racist Democrat Quotes and “Democratic Nigger!“: The Long, Racist, Bloody Account of the Democrat Party’s Hatred for Blacks. Both are available on Amazon.com. Perry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/perry.drake.10, and on Twitter @Perry_Drake.