Thursday, May 24, 2007

If I was NRCC/RNC chair......

Sometimes, I wonder what the DC beltway people are thinking. Both parties fall into this trap that "you suck" is a great campaign message. I think it's part of one, but not the whole thing.

The latest from the politico

House Republicans have a fairly simple plan to reclaim the majority: Blame Nancy.

The National Republican Congressional Committee launches its first national advertising blitz Thursday with a drive to tie freshmen Democrats to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

The GOP's cash-strapped campaign arm will launch a mix of radio ads and automated phone calls targeting 18 freshman Democrats for allegedly marching in lockstep with the speaker, a California Democrat who is regularly depicted by Republicans as an out-of-touch liberal.

This modest campaign comes 17 months before the next election and signals the seats that Republicans are targeting in 2008. But it also marks an ambitious decision by the campaign committee to go after the speaker in an effort to unseat her most vulnerable members.

This doesn't sound that much different than the last go around in 06, which is a big mistake. This was my concern ever since the same house leadership was kept after the debacle in 06 instead of going with a new direction with people like Mike Pence, Jeb Henserling, and John Shadegg and the Republican Study Committee. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. There's a reasom Bob Shrum has lost 5 democrat presidential races.

So here's some advice to do something different. If I was running the elections campaign, this is what I was do.

A. Run as leaders. I get tired of candidates who say they are going to follow Candidate X's agenda. That kills us when candidate x (president, governor, etc) is unpopular. We got killed the most in the socially conservative independent areas.

B. Formulate a plan. Something beyond "Vote for me since they suck" This is what worked so well for us at our height. (1994) Yes, Bill Clinton absolutely sucked (although nobody is on Jimmy Carter's level since Franklin Pierce) I've gotten to the point where I refer to myself as a 1994 Republican to differentiate myself from some of the jokers out there with the big spending, big government, and abandonment of the conservative values of the party I've joined. If I wanted big government, I'd vote democrat.

C. Effective communications. The democrats ran on ethics, and gave us the same old crap that they pushed that lead to 1994.

How would I run the show?

1. Every race is contested on the ballot. If someone gets a free ride, they can help other candidates. John Dingell is a master when it comes to helping other candidates. We need to prevent this as much as possible.

2. Target 75-100 candidates in marginal and even long shot seats. They don't have to be big names, but they need to be clean. No Don Sherwood or Mark Foley disasters. By marginal or long shot seats, I refer to any seat that Bush got under 60% in 2000 or 2004. These need to be pushed, and we need to push in not just swing districts, but the tier 2/3 areas as well. Bart Stupak in this state should be targeted. He'd be tough to beat, but longtime incumbents have lost before. Harold Volkmer (sp) and Jack Brooks were upset in 1994.

3. Forget about the president candidate and coattails. Those are not controllable or only controlled to a limited extent by congressional candidates. Run your own race.

4. Plan. How do we get those tier 2 districts in play? Outside of a disaster on the other side, by a good plan. Tier II races won't have a lot of money. That can be overcomed with strong discipline, hard work, and a good message.

A. I'd create a slate with as many of those 75-100 candidates all on the same page. While there will be issue differences among them, run on the 90% issues. Ethics. Responsibility. Balanced Budget (Remember that? - It hasn't been done since Gingrich did it, and got the king of followers Clinton to finally go alone with him).

B. With the money problems, I'd create generic ads for most of those tier 2 races - "Contract 08 ads"

C. I'd emphasis that these candidates aren't the same politicians as the days of old. They wern't in office for the 04-05 disasters. New direction.

D. Issues to run on - if I was running
a1. Fiscal responsibility - balanced budget. Anything less is unacceptable - enact a balanced budget amendment.

a2. Peace with honor - End the war in Iraq, and do it the right way. I think Tommy Thompson had the right idea on it back in the debate.

a3. New energy policy - foget CAFE standards and other heavily regulatory crap. It's time to address our Achillees Heel so we can tell the Middle East and Hugo Chavez to go pound sand. Research and development, hard science. Cold Fusion is one example. Yes, it is not possible now, but neither was a man on the moon. This is the nation of innovation. It can be done.

a4. Border security - Current plan is unacceptable.

a5. Less government - It's time to bring that back.

a6. Low taxes and less regulation - People know what's best, government doesn't know what's best.

I didn't mention guns, abortion, or any of the social issues. Whether they fly or not depend on the district and depends on what's in the news or not at the time.

5. Communication. Again, we have been shown by Abscam Murtha, Pelosi and the rest of the crew the same old song and dance. I would have a communication strategy as follows for any non incumbent.

1. List the democrat promises and their failure to keep them. A variant would be a democrat running his mouth with the mute button on and overdub going "blah blah blah, same ole political bull" after the 2nd statement of the fact that they failed to live up to promised. Don't even name the party however.
2. Voter line - "We were promised this if the other guys were elected, and got the same old song and dance. They lied to us." Refer to the plan.
3. Introduce the new candidate - use any non incumbent for this.

6. Live up to the promises once elected. Do not back down on them, and do not forget where you come from.


keithr said...

You forget that in 1994 the Republicans ran on a very positive agenda, the "Contract with America". Whether people liked it or not, Republicans ran by promising to take action on issues.

I personally consider myself to be a Reagan Republican - smaller government, conservative principles, cut spending and taxes, and strong defense.

One big suggestion I have for the Republican party: it is OK to be on the popular side of an issue every now and then. Over 75% of Americans oppose amnesty for illegals, every unbiased study I've seen says that it is bad for America and the Republican party, so why do John McCain and President Bush support it?

Bachbone said...

It's been getting clearer and clearer (since George Wallace told us there wasn't a "dime's worth of difference" between the "pointy heads" in Washington, D.C.) that many, if not most, politicians in national and state offices see themselves as having more in common with other politicians there than with us voters outside the Beltway. In essence, we have a professional class of politicians now who see themselves as "the elite" who know what is best for the rest of us. The Founding Fathers wanted citizen legislators for a reason. Until term limits are somehow put into place, politicians will remain out of control.

keithr said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
keithr said...

I agree, bachbone.

Here in Michigan we do have term limits for state offices. As I understand it a national constitutional amendment would be needed to implement term limits for national offices.

I've always been a believer in term limits. Before term limits were initiated in Michigan we had a lot of the same problems that we now see in Washington. But I have a lot of younger friends who argue with me, complaining that term limits force people out of the legislature before they have an opportunity to become skilled leaders. IMHO, the problem is Michigan is not the term limit laws, it is that legislators have too much time on their hands. We need a part time legislature to force them to keep focused on critical issues instead of creating more big government socialist programs.

I keep arguing that without term limits most legislative positions become lifetime jobs, since incumbants rarely ever lose an election unless they are involved in a scandal or are forced out by redistricting. After legislators have served a few terms they lose touch with average citizens because they depend too heavily on special interests for money to keep getting reelected. What we are seeing in Washington with Republicans right now is strong proof of what happens when people serve for so long that they lose all contact with normal people.