According to the Wall Street Journal, Republican Party leaders recently gathered for the first time since taking a stomping in the November elections. They met under the banner “Renew, Grow, Win”, which sounds like a marketing slogan for The Hair Club For Men.
The goal of the gathering was for the GOP to find a way to re-brand itself, thereby fooling people into believing that the party now thinks in 21st century terms. Among the luminaries attending was Bobby Jindal (Governor of Louisiana). You might remember Bobby – he was the dark-skinned-but-not-too-much guy who delivered the Republican rebuttal to Obama’s 2009 State Of The Union speech. It was an awkward affair in which millions of Americans stared at an unknown and asked “Why is the guy who sells me Lotto tickets giving a speech on national TV?”
Anyways, Jindal was there as the RNC did some deep soul-searching on how to change. The party of limited government and spending (think Defense) came up with Big Tent ideas like launching a website, shortening the primary calendar (ie harm reduction), and shifting from TV ads to ground operations. Talk of genuine tolerance and inclusion was studiously avoided – the focus was on attracting new voter/customers to the GOP brand, much in the way a cigarette company debates how to get youth in Asia hooked on their product. Basically, the meeting was the political equivalent of your alcoholic uncle switching from vodka to wine.
But Bobby Jindal stole the show because he’s a dynamic, bold-ideas man. In his home state he’s proposing to nix the personal income tax and the corporate income tax and shift the burden onto beefed up sales taxes. If this passes, the most common phrase in Louisiana will soon be “Get in the van, kids, we’re driving to Mississippi to shop.”
At the meeting Jindal warned that the GOP must avoid austerity and become known as the “growth party”. Which really isn’t anything new; it’s continuity presented as change. Why? Because last year millions of Americans watched old white guys say things like “Rape is a gift from God” and “47 percent of American are moochers” and then thought to themselves “Jesus, these guys must have a growth on their brain stems.” So Bobby Jindal is just telling us what we already knew.
The article didn’t comment on the level of attendance at the seminar teaching party members how to convert bed sheets into hoods. That’s what I was really interested it, but no matter. I, for one, am really excited about the “new” GOP. It should be just as embarrassing as the old one.