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?

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