Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The GOP Has Some Re-Branding to Do

A couple of significant stories in today’s Wall Street Journal point to a very pessimistic outlook for Republicans in 2008.

On page one we have “GOP Is Losing Grip on Core Business Vote.” This all goes back to the lack of budget discipline in the last Republican Congress. Alan Greenspan is out front here, berating Republicans for overspending and fattening the deficit. However, he also has said that Democrats are now moving in the wrong direction with their higher spending, higher taxing, and trade protectionism. (Sounds like the Maestro is returning to the fold.)

But the White House and the Republican National Committee have got some re-branding to do. They need Bush’s veto pen, a strong message, and a true communications strategy. Specifically they need to contrast their newfound pro-growth fiscal religion against the anti-growth Democrats on the campaign trail who are all for fiscal profligacy and higher taxes.

President Bush, our newly self-proclaimed supply-sider-in-chief, is trying to lead this charge. But The Hill reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) and some other GOPers are voting in favor of overspending appropriation bills. Huh? All of this can be corrected for a GOP ’08 comeback, but the leaders and troops in the grassroots must work hard on it.

Meanwhile, Rich Nadler’s WSJ op-ed explains why a deportation, criminalization, and “enforcement first” policy is a huge electoral loser for the GOP. I mentioned this last week. Why can’t the message on immigration be a balanced one? Border security plus earned-legalization — as well as English-only in the schools? If the Republicans drop New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, Florida, Iowa, and maybe even Arizona, they will get creamed next year.

Plunging GOP hopes for the Hispanic vote? Republicans losing their grip on the business vote? This is very pessimistic stuff. Sure, these problems can be turned around —all of this is salvageable. But the GOP needs to make the case.

Intrade, the pay-to-play prediction market, shows a 60 percent to 36 percent chance of a Democratic victory next year, alongside a 12 percent chance of a GOP House and a 6.6 percent probability of a GOP Senate. Is anybody in the Republican leadership looking at this poll?

The stakes are high. A Democratic sweep in ’08 will decimate the stock market boom.