Why the G.O.P. will continue to lose elections

Until the G.O.P. learns that the message comes before the messenger, and that the messenger shouldn’t be some career politician whose “turn it is” to be the next candidate for (fill in the blank), the party will continue to lose elections. Here in Florida, that is exactly what the party is doing in the case of the U.S. Senate campaign (anointing Charlie Crist because he’s the boss), and the gubernatorial race (it’s Bill McCollum’s turn).

And the Democrats have nothing to do with it

By Chris Ingram

I just got back from the Tiger Bay Club meeting in Tampa, Florida. The club invites politicians to come and speak, and then gives an award to the club member who asks the toughest question of the day’s guest politicos. The lineup today included three members of the Florida legislature. I won’t bore you with who they were as two of them don’t deserve the attention and the other probably doesn’t want it.

But one of them was a four-term member of the Florida House, who facing term limits, now feels compelled to run for the state senate. He’s a Republican. I’ll call him “Rep. Rambler.” During his opening remarks Rep. Rambler commented about how serving in the legislature is all about building relationships, finding consensus, and working with people. He should have just ‘fessed up and admitted if you want a plum committee assignment you better do what the party bosses tell you.

Rambler went on to say how proud he was that this year the state legislature cut over a billion dollars worth of services that “you won’t even feel” because it was wasteful, and duplicative services that were cut. Kudus to you Rep. Rambler. What I want to know is, why does it take a budget shortfall for you and your fellow cronies to look at the budget and start cutting wasteful and duplicative services?

And if you don’t think Rep. Rambler is “in” with the party bosses, consider this. He spent ten arduous minutes defending the indicted former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Mr. Ray Samson. He even admitted they used to be roommates as though that somehow makes him a good guy. Talk about out of touch…

Anyhow, this clown of a Republican legislator (Rambler that is) and the rest of the Republicans in the Florida legislature as a whole are not unique. Most every legislative body in America suffers from the same problem, and the U.S. Congress is the leader of the pack of wasteful spending Republicans who tell you with a straight face they’re fiscal conservatives. At least the big-government/wasteful spending Democrats are honest about wanting to tax and spend you to death.

As a Republican, I was incensed by Rambler’s attitude that the cuts they made showed the Republicans in Tallahassee were doing a good job. OK. I’ll give him kudos this year. But what have you been doing the last eight years you’ve been in office fat boy?

The problem in Florida is indicative of the Republican Party’s problems around the country. That is: we’re no different than the Democrats – we just look better in a suit.

But what the Democrats lack in looking the part, they have recently made up for with a message. Now I’m not saying it is the right message, or that it is compelling to me, but it certainly appeals to some among us.

Republicans now devoid of a message go looking for a messenger. They tried Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and he fell flat on his face. The “farm team” started and stopped with Jindal, so we’re back to the same bunch of good old boys like Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Boehner. Neither one of them are exactly touchy feely (you know, they’re not exactly the types you’d want to have a beer with or God forbid watch your kids for you on date night with your wife), and outside of their own little cliques of Kool-aid drinking supporters, they have zero appeal among the electorate.

So now we have a party with no message (other than anti-all-things Obama), and no messenger. What is a Grand very Old Party to do? Well build the base of course! So the G.O.P. will spend countless contributor dollars in a hopeless effort to bring in new voters. They’ll do this by investing in new technology, minority outreach (where they’ll send any black guy calling himself a Republican into unfamiliar black communities and expect him to miraculously bring in new black voters to the G.O.P. – you see the party bosses think all black people are the same), as well as “get out the vote” training, and various and sundry other voter contact efforts.

Trouble is, all this money will be wasted because the party doesn’t have a persuasive reason for people to support Republicans.

In looking at why the G.O.P. will continue to fail, all you need to do is understand why the Democrats were so successful last year (and will continue to be successful for years to come). They didn’t win elections because Barack Obama was on Facebook or Twitter. Obama merely took advantage of their interest in him and used new technology to exploit that interest.

Republicans will continue to fail until they realize to win elections you need to recruit interesting candidates. Right now we operate on a philosophy of “give the nomination to whomever’s turn it is/whoever followed the party bosses orders the best” and try to go recruit voters around them. Whereas the Democrats (at least in Obama) found a better candidate, and the voter recruits simply followed. It’s a lot easier doing it the Democrats’ way.

The G.O.P. seems to think if we get on My Space and Twitter people will flock to us. They couldn’t be any more dead wrong. People flocked to Obama because he had a message of hope and change. I don’t agree with his message, but it was effective and it gave people a sense of optimism.

Until the G.O.P. learns that the message comes before the messenger, and that the messenger shouldn’t be some career politician whose “turn it is” to be the next candidate for (fill in the blank), the party will continue to lose elections. Here in Florida, that is exactly what the party is doing in the case of the U.S. Senate campaign (anointing Charlie Crist because he’s the boss), and the gubernatorial race (its Bill McCollum’s turn).

Speaking of the Florida governor, Charlie Crist recently wrote an opinion piece in the Tampa Tribune (which is the finest paper in America for wrapping fish or lining cat pans by the way). In it, he spoke of his desire to “Create a bipartisan task force to restructure government for a new generation of challenges. Eliminate duplicative functions across government. Modernize entitlements. Get health markets right.”

Governor Crist, you’ve hit the nail on the head! What with all those specifics you want to accomplish and the record of providing substantive change you’ve shown as governor, why, you should run for president!

Of course I am joking folks. Charlie Crist is so completely lacking of leadership skills he couldn’t lead a starving Tom cat to a tuna cannery. Charlie’s got one thing though, he’s a great messenger. Trouble for him and the rest of the G.O.P. establishment is: no message.

Chris Ingram is CEO and partner of Strategic Solutions of Florida a political consulting company. He is also the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, Front Page Florida, and National Review online. E-mail him at: Chris@411Communications.net.

7 thoughts on “Why the G.O.P. will continue to lose elections”

  1. by e-mail

    BAAAMMM!! Right between the eyes Chris!

    If I hear one more time the reason why we lost 08 was because we were out Facebooked, MySpaced or Twittered I am going to switch parties! (JUST KIDDING) Sure these are important but you nailed it yet once again and with compelling clarity!…WE DIDN’T HAVE A MESSAGE! Well, we didn’t have many “conservative” candidates with a message that is. Conservative’s have a message and it’s about time Republicans with a backbone deliver it. If they need help I think Dick Cheney is available!

    2010 I pray will be different. That is why I have chosen to not only donate but do whatever I can to send Chucky “Too Tanned” Crist packing and Marco Rubio to the Senate. Rubio is the kind of conservative we need in D.C.


    C Miller


  2. by email

    Right on! But Charlie only typifies the One Party system being bandied about by all those entrenched Republicans, including Jeb B. He would love NO Primary, so the same old back-slapping self-serving career politicos could stay in office.
    We must send Crist, McCollum and Greer packing….get some new blood in office, and pressure them into acting like real Republicans.



  3. by email


    A stunningly good article. Didn’t think anyone else was on the page that said simply, have a message that will inspire people to come to your side. No more legislative ex-lax like the kind Jesus Crist was trying to shovel down our throats in your piece. The most charismatic candidate we have for 2012, Sarah Palin, is being systematically destroyed and this bright woman, I think, would have been ready the next time but will probably not get the chance because of the kind of people you write about.

    I’ve ranted all day today so will retire.

    Anyway, bravo on the piece. Bravo!!



  4. Hey Chris, long time no talk. I’m going to make it very simple for you and not take up much of your time.

    The reason that the Rethuglican Party is headed into the desert for forty years is… are you ready?…are you set?…hold on to your hats… it’s that you guys have no HEART.

    Abe had it..TR had it…Even Goldwater had it… Reagan wasn’t even close and you guys hitched your star to him.

    Reagan was a vacuous, empty headed ideologue, and you guys thought that that was enough. Guess again.

    You gotta have heart! And you guys don’t even know what that means. Even if someone gave you the definition, it wouldn’t do you any good. Someone could teach you how to be a doctor, but if you don’t give a sh*t whether or not the patient dies, it wouldn’t do any good.

    All Rethuglicans are concerned with, is making money. You know it, and I know it, so don’t even bother denying it. That having been said, with that as your primary focus, why would a heart even deserve consideration? Am I right, or am I right? Right? Right!

    So do what you have to do. Support the likes of Cheney, Boehner, Palin, Jindal, Gingrich, and the rest. Do yourselves a favor and go to [http://thesaurus.reference.com/]
    and look at “conservative” and “liberal”, then tell me which none exemplifies anything close to having heart.

    Conservative is NOT an ideology. It’s a modifier to the human progressive mindset.

    Liberal is a state of mind. Conservative is a state of angst.

    Until, and unless, the Rethuglican Party can come to understand the needs of the COMMON man, they are destined to be losers. Forever in the desert.

    With leaders like Limbaugh, McConnell, Palin, Gingrich, Boehner,et al, you guys will never get to where you need to be.

    You keep following Cheney,and the only place you’ll end up is Leavenworth.


  5. by email

    Cris…..I was just telling April the other evening, how much I enjoy your newsletter.
    Thanks for what you do.

    But, I must say……..
    It really doesn’t matter who we elect to represent us, I guarantee by the second term, they will be representing someone else rather than the folks at home who actually voted for their representation.
    THE PROBLEM?>>>>>>>>>MONEY!
    Any time a candidate or their appointees are allow to accept campaign contributions or anything of monetary value from any person or entity who is not a registered voter from within the district they seek to represent, They just sold your representation! It’s clear and easy to understand. A State Senator is paid $25,000 annual salary by his constituents, and $260,000 by his supporters.
    Just follow the money……Campaign finance reports and personal financial disclosures are on file in the elections office. Till that’s fixed everything else is IRREVERENT.



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