Tag Archive: 2012 election

Pope Francis vs. the Republicans

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

Pope Francis t-shirt vendors

“The Catholic Church is now more progressive on both science and social issues than the GOP.” That’s the message coming from the humorous meme site lolworthy.com, accompanied by a photo of an astronaut on a spacewalk. Once again, the humorists have it right. The visit of Pope Francis to the United States is most noteworthy in the contrast between the Pope’s hopeful, humanistic message and the negative reaction from many in the Republican party.

Speaking before a joint session of Congress on Thursday, Pope Francis said some things that appeared to go against current Republican dogma:

Republicans pummeled by two hurricanes

President George W. Bush's "Brownie" moment, Sept. 2, 2005

President George W. Bush’s “Brownie” moment, Sept. 2, 2005

The anniversaries of Hurricane Katrina (landfall in Louisiana August 29, 2005) and Hurricane (Superstorm) Sandy (landfall in New Jersey August 29, 2012) represent a perfect storm that continues to damage the Republican Party. Katrina showed President George W. Bush‘s detachment, and the criminally negligent incompetence behind his administration’s hands-off conservative Republican governing philosophy (“Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job.”) Sandy is said to have helped President Barack Obama win and the Democrats do well in the 2012 elections, but that’s only true if one rejects the Republicans’ “government is bad” frame and accepts the Democrats’ “good government” philosophy. Apparently, many Americans have done just that.

Republican presidential primary problems

Ted Cruz, clowniest passenger in the GOP Clown Car?

Ted Cruz, clowniest passenger in the GOP Clown Car?

In the 2012 Presidential primaries, the Republican Clown Car had a crackup. The GOP candidates fell all over each other to kowtow to the narrow, extreme Republican primary base (comprised, for example, in Iowa, of 60 percent Evangelical Christians). Michele Bachmann said that the HPV vaccine causes “mental retardation,” and Herman Cain mocked the very idea of having foreign policy knowledge. Then came Willard Mitt Romney‘s disastrous “Etch-A-Sketch” moment, in which Romney’s Communications Director dumbly asserted that, after lurching to the right in the primaries, Romney could simply “hit a reset button” for the general election, “like an Etch-A-Sketch,” as if no one would hold Romney accountable for the positions he was taking and as if the giant Memory Machine known as the Internet didn’t exist. Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch moment perfectly summed up the Republican Party’s 2012 problem. Romney’s Republican rivals such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum pounced on the Etch-A-Sketch statement as proof that Romney could not be trusted by the GOPs conservative base. Romney ended up being trusted by no part of the electorate. Fast forward to the present day, and it appears that the GOP is poised to repeat these same mistakes of 2012.

Messaging Maxim #6: Keep it Stupidly Simple

President George W. Bush announced his Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in his May 6, 2006 weekly radio address. In implementing Medicare Part D, the Republican Congress was all for extending deadlines for health insurance programs until President Barack Obama extended the March 31, 2014 Affordable Care Act signup deadline. But what was perhaps more striking about Bush’s announcement was its almost childlike simplicity of the language and delivery:

The average premium that seniors pay is a third less than had been expected, just $25 per month instead of $37 per month.

Thanks to this new coverage, America’s seniors are now getting the modern medicine they need at prices they can afford.

During George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats made plenty of fun of Bush’s “Bartles and Jaymes” simplicity of speech. Before that, Democrats mocked the simplicity of presidential candidate and then President Ronald Reagan. But such simplicity often works. Indeed, Reagan became known as “The Great Communicator.” For these reasons, we now list Messaging Maxim #6: Keep it Stupidly Simple.