The GOP rebranding strategy for 2016

It’s 2014, which means we’re gearing up for the 2016 presidential election. (Yeah, we have the midterm congressional elections coming up, but now is when the messaging for 2016 actually begins.

So which Republicans are among the likely presidential contenders, and what are they doing?

From the Washington Post:

Since giving up on cowboy boots (the arched heels agitated his back) and wearing hipster glasses, [Rick] Perry has a look more bookish than buckaroo — and more in keeping with his attempt at intellectual reinvention.

What was it that Rick Perry did that made him look dumb, anyway?

Yeah, glasses. That’ll fix everything. Because we all know that people who wear glasses are smart. Here’s what the site Eye Candy Optical says:

Scientific research has shown that we do perceive people who wear glasses as more intelligent when compared to those who do not wear glasses (As an aside, we also view people who wear glasses as more competent, and more industrious according to a recent article in Psychology News and Reviews).  Count me in!

Although perception is not a reality, you may give yourself a leg up just by putting on a proper pair of specs.  Let’s face it….it couldn’t hurt! In today’s competitive world anything that gives us a little extra boost (real or perceived) is worth a try.

Rick PerryNow there’s a smart looking man!

And since looking intelligent is part of the strategy for potential Republican presidential candidates, what other ways will they present themselves to the American voter?

Again from the Washington Post:

The last time Republicans began running for president, there was a race to be the most confrontational, the most unbending. Mitt Romney said he was “severely conservative” and got caught mocking the “47 percent.” Rick Perry called the Federal Reserve “treasonous.” Rick Santorum said he was “for income inequality.”

What a difference a disastrous election, two years and terrible polling make. If 2012 was a contest to be the toughest, the 2016 presidential Republican primary is likely to include a competition to appear the most compassionate.

The rebranding effort is taking center stage this week with pleas for more compassion from four potential GOP presidential candidates: Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. The Republicans are working to redefine the GOP as kinder, more connected to the daily economic anxieties of poor Americans — and better able to win national elections.

Remember the last compassionate conservative?

But how do you look compassionate?

image11406142490That’s Paul Ryan on the right at a heroin clinic, looking compassionate. The GOP message had been, “You use heroin, you go to jail.” Now, let’s pull a gem from the past, quoting George Bush (the smarter): “Message: I care.”

We are not dealing in substance anymore. This is all about illusion. Nobody is going to read these guys speeches or cross reference their statements in newspaper articles. This is the first step in the Fox News election strategy.

We know what the message will be, and how they’re going to present it. So what can we do?

What do progressives believe?

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) appeared at Netroots Nation Friday and explained it all to you.

Most true Americans believe these things, not the stuff that the Tea Party terrorists stand for, and …

Wait?! Wasn’t that the Incredible Hulk at the end? If we’re gonna fight, and Hulk smash, we will win.

Man on the moon: July 20, 1969

And here’s a Nova episode on the lunar mission:

I’ve probably said this before, but this was the greatest human achievement in history. So it’s frustrating to think that what I consider the most outstanding event of my lifetime happened 45 years ago.

C’mon, people. We’re now in the 21st century. We can do better. We already did.

Like a girl …

After the Supreme Court ruling on whether women can control their bodies (the five old Catholic guys on the court say no), it’s time to think about the perception of women as weaklings who need a man to tell them what to do.

Which means it’s time to really reassess what people think when someone says, “You do that like a girl.”

 

Happy birthday Jean-Paul Sartre … or nothingness

Jean-Paul Sartre was born 109 years ago today.

Whatever.

If you studied French or philosophy in college, chances are you got hit with the rot of moral decay in “Les Mouches/The Flies” or the “Hell is other people” in “Huis Clos/No Exit.” Sartre was one of the major voices of existentialism, which in historical context could have been just a passing moral philosophy. But then the Nazis came along and concepts of morality, religion and life’s meaning were shattered by the physical and mental destruction they unleashed on humanity. And people wondered: Where do you find meaning in a meaningless world?

Sartre said:

I must be without remorse or regrets as I am without excuse; for from the instant of my upsurge into being, I carry the weight of the world by myself alone without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.

He won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1964. According to the prize committee:

[T]he existentialism Sartre formulated and popularized is profoundly original. Its popularity and that of its author reached a climax in the forties, and Sartre’s theoretical writings as well as his novels and plays constitute one of the main inspirational sources of modern literature. In his philosophical view atheism is taken for granted; the “loss of God” is not mourned. Man is condemned to freedom, a freedom from all authority, which he may seek to evade, distort, and deny but which he will have to face if he is to become a moral being. The meaning of man’s life is not established before his existence. Once the terrible freedom is acknowledged, man has to make this meaning himself, has to commit himself to a role in this world, has to commit his freedom. And this attempt to make oneself is futile without the “solidarity” of others.

But we’re in another age now. How would Sartre be received in a world of social media and Internet access?

Philosophie.fr Bulletin Board - 1936
Sartre died in 1980. Now, you have to carry the weight of the world by yourself alone without help.

I’m busy.

Why you should vaccinate your kids

Apparently, there’s an epidemic of whooping cough on the West Coast, even though there’s a vaccine that can wipe it out. (Via USA Today):

Scientists are searching for clues to the resurgence of whooping cough, a nearly forgotten childhood infection causing outbreaks around the country.

California last week announced a whooping cough epidemic, reporting more than 800 cases in two weeks, along with two deaths in infants. Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports nearly 10,000 cases so far this year of whooping cough, also known as pertussis.

Although whooping cough is cyclical, peaking every three to five years, cases have soared in the past decade, with 48,277 cases in 2012, the largest number in 50 years.

The best defense against whooping cough is vaccination, says Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health.

The reason: There are people in this country who, when faced with getting their medical advice from either a Nobel Prize winner in medicine or a former Playboy centerfold figure the boobmeister has a better grasp on health issues.

I don’t know. I guess that’s God’s way of thinning out the herd.

Anyway, listen to this. It makes sense.

Stop listening to the kooks.