How Memphians Reacted to Priebus

Priebus’ remarks got good comments from local Shelby GOP leaders who I am quoting, but not identifying.

One said that when Republicans reach out and message well, we usually win. Another commented that we had “lousy ads from lousy consultants.” We need fresh people with creative ideas.

Another said it wasn’t the turnout that was the problem. It’s our shrinking base. More emphasis on free enterprise was another suggestion; one said “no more cronies and no more Bushes.” Others cited our “pitiful House and Senate leadership” but was upbeat on some of the new leaders there. “No beltway career politicians” was a plea and another begged Republicans to get better at defending their own.

Here are more:
“It’s wild that the folks who continue to fail stay in the game and are rehired to lead again “acting” like they “now” have it figured out. Then they either continue to do the same thing, offer a glass of warm milk or proclaim they have a New COKE. Much more at stake here than a basketball or football game; but in the SEC, NFL or NBA when the hottest coach of the past looses a few key games or has a bad season, the fans are out for blood and the coach is canned in short order. Sports fans act and live like it’s life or death, yet too many of us sit around and watch/allow the greatest Country on earth crumble before our eyes. The income/profits lost in business due to people wasting time during March Madness is probably more than the total lost during the last election season and the results are only valid for a season vs. generations. We need leaders to instill FIRE in people’s belly’s. It’s totally NUTS, Why why why can’t this dang party figure out how to play to WIN? If the upcoming one or two battles are lost, the War may be over. We need Leaders to Wake UP AMERICA!”

“There is No Substitute for Success.”

Then this rebuttal expressed what many feel:
“1. Principles. Reince says that our principles are sound. Fair enough. But no one knows what they are. I don’t even know what they are. We stopped communicating principles after Ronald Reagan. If we were communicating them, every policy recommendation and every vote would have been positioned and explained through the prism of those principles.

2. ­Re-Branding. We shouldn’t be out there talking about how we’re “re-branding ourselves”. When Pepsi, or Hilton, or Target decides to re-brand, they don’t talk about it – they just do it. I’m guessing that all the ballyhoo is an attempt to staunch the run of dispirited donors, but announcing it is self-defeating. (Just ask Blockbuster or Circuit City).

3. Message. The report is SO right about messaging. We haven’t had a message as a party since 1994. (Remember Contract with America?) Individual voters have to know why our principles matter and why it’s in their best interest to vote for us. If we’re for lower taxes, we have to be able to communicate to the individual what that means (give more of your paycheck to the greedy, wasteful government or keep more money in your pocket to send your kid to college, to buy a house, or to take a vacation.)

Communicating a message to voters is just like standing up to speak to an audience. The audience only wants to know two things:
+ So what?
+ What’s in it for me?
We’ve failed as a party to answer either.

4. Emotion v. Logic. We used to think that the brain makes decisions with logic (the frontal lobe) and colors in the rest with emotion (the mid section). Much research and many books written recently reveal the exact opposite. The mind makes the decision with emotion, then colors in the rest with logic. We’re always been the party of logic. We’re playing in a life and death game unarmed against consumers who decide based on emotion and a Democrat Party that has mastered the skill of emotional messaging. They have cleverly positioned themselves as the party of freedom. They’ve created groups of victims and established themselves as the party who can free them from the bigots who don’t want gay marriage, who want you to keep a child you don’t want, who want to deport you, who want to protect the rich at your expense, etc.

We need to line up our own victims. The small business owner who had to go out of business because of crushing taxes & regulations, the worker who was fired before Christmas because of Obamacare, the senior who can’t see a doctor because none will take Medicare patients, the MBA student who can’t get a job because there aren’t any.

5. Go for the jugular. Winning takes guts. We constantly berate ourselves for not being sensitive… inclusive… name-the adverb enough. We cower while the left calls us racists, homophobes, and terrorists – while they accuse us of hating old people and working moms. Not once do we ever call them on their motives. It’s about time we did while speaking the truth. Example: The reason Democrats want to tax more and spend more is to buy votes. Dependent voters are dependable voters. Democrats empower themselves by making you dependent on them.

Not our style, you say? We better get used to talking real-people talk instead of talking abstractions that no one understands. They invent sinister motives and call us on them. Why can’t we call them on their real ones?

6. Reaching Out. I totally reject the premise that we’re not inclusive. The left tags us with that because we don’t support gay marriage, abortion on demand, and amnesty. We have more blacks and Latinos in high positions than the Democrats have ever had. It’s our party that freed the slaves, for crying out loud.

We haven’t lost elections because we haven’t reached out – we’ve lost them because we can’t get our own base out. We won the moderates by a landslide, but millions of our own stayed home. I’m concerned that we’ll expend so much energy reaching out that we won’t have the horsepower for the Republican base to win.

7. Freedom from D.C. Consultants. We must break our addition to the consultant class. Washington GOP consultants peddle moderation – and it loses every time. It’s conservatism, well communicated that wins. D.C. consultants like Mike Murphy and Steve Schmidt convince us that conservative ideas will scare the moderates – they rake in millions whoever wins. And we lose election after election.”

Amen. I’d add that we need more offense. Drop the defense all together. Once you’re in that position you waste a lot of time and never convince anyone. The Dems never apologize. They can have the most disgusting candidate caught in an act and still they fan out to protect him. We leave ours faster than Taylor Swift leaves a boyfriend.

And can’t we get moles in the Democrat races? That surely must have happened to the vaunted Orca project Romney depended on. When it came to election day the thing crashed. Coincidence? I doubt it. I’m not talking about highly illegal stuff, just a little deviousness.

We need to stop depending on the old ways. Take phone banks, for instance. Memphians called people in Iowa for Romney. It was a heroic effort and I applaud the effort. Did it work? No. Many people got so fed up with the phone calls it worked against us.

The Obama team worked more personally via emails and snail mail. Through their data mining they found the issues that appealed most to a potential voter, then continually contacted them to stress how Obama would carry out their wishes. It was the smart, and unfortunately for us, the most effective way.

I hope Priebus and the RNC work outside the vaunted box. If they don’t, we’ll continue to be boxed in by the Democrats and our freedom will be lost forever.

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