Depending on the programs you watch on television – or the media avenue of your choice, it is hard not to have seen the commercials produced by the National Rifle Association (NRA). They are well crafted and thought provoking. In fact, if they didn’t include the final branding of the NRA in their closes, even the liberal Democrats amongst us would be hard pressed to find anything to object about in their messages. Without a doubt, the NRA knows how to communicate to the average American. So, why hasn’t the Republican National Committee (RNC) learned from the NRA’s effort?
One of the most paralyzing deficiencies of the Republican brand is the fact – the fact – that they couldn’t brand their way out a wet paper bag. Never mind their other short-comings – the combating of the Progressives’ individual targeting of voters with another old, crusty get-out-the-vote effort, or insisting on attacking a core constituency of the GOP in the TEA Party, or failing to reach out effectively to the Libertarians – messaging has, and most likely always will be, the GOP’s Achilles heel. When compared to the Progressive messaging apparatus, or the Democrat spin machine, the RNC comes in a distant fourth, behind the Progressives and Democrats, and trailing the public awareness campaign for the retirement home for blind squirrels. I won’t even get into how they fair against the Islamic State.
But the NRA has struck a chord. They have crafted thirteen segments, each addressing an issue that has become problematic in a nation that is supposed to sanctify opportunity, individualism, justice and liberty. In each, they state facts and make an argument, something inside-the-beltway 30-something “strategists” obviously ignored during “spin class” when they navigated their ways through “establishment Republican school.”
The issues include:
▪ Anger: The rage that is infecting our society
▪ Courage: The unethical, the cowardly and the apathetic
▪ The Golden Rule: The self-serving element of our society
▪ Honest Broker: The culture of deception and spin
▪ Media Dishonesty: The failure of the free press
▪ Mom & Dad: The abandonment of parental responsibility
▪ Money: The tyranny of the oligarchic elite
▪ Neighbor: The demise of the neighborhood
▪ Privacy: The encroachment of government on privacy
▪ Safety: The failure of government to protect its citizenry
▪ Selective Law Enforcement: The Balkanization of our society through legislation
▪ Service: The government’s betrayal of the US military and veterans
▪ Speech: The attack on free speech and thought
▪ Work Ethic: The culture malaise of celebrity worship and sloth
After spending just thirteen short minutes viewing these commercials – these indictments, it is hard not to see that our society has devolved into much less than what was bequeathed to us from just the generation before. We are rife with apathy, egotism, entitlement and falsely elevated self-esteem. We are far from the people our Founders and Framers were (and no that’s not a good thing) and closer to the dependent Socialists that the Progressive Movement quests for us to be. We exist on the precipice of the completion of the fundamental transformation that then-Senator Barack Obama spoke of five days before the 2008 General Election.
And who stands between our demise and our road to recovery? What group stands as champion to the freedoms and liberties left to us by our forefathers; paid for with blood and treasure of free men? The modern day Republican Party, a group of beltway insiders who have no talent – and no desire to obtain or exploit those who possess that talent – for communicating to the citizenry.
For almost two generations now, Progressives and Liberal Democrats have understood the power and the necessity for controlling the narrative. The “spin doctor” the “pundit” and the “strategist,” are all byproducts of a quest to control the narrative; to message effectively with the people. Progressives have known from the days of Woodrow Wilson that messaging that targets peoples’ emotions or the individual’s financial wherewithal – whether it’s to promise “a chicken in every pot” or to fear-monger about war and big business – is not only motivating, it is effective in moving the populace to vote a certain way, especially the non-engaged and no- and low-information demographic. The Republicans, but for a very few bright spots in history, have been dismal at learning this lesson and exist as followers when it comes to innovations in communicating.
Is it too much to wish for that the media gurus of the RNC would exhibit some humility in contacting the marketing firm that produced the NRA’s media campaign so as to gather knowledge on how to affect emotion in their messaging ahead of the 2014 and 2016 elections?
The results of the 2012 General election prove that the RNC media team needs some continuing education in Messaging 101. They should have been out in front of this election cycle with an NRA-styled messaging campaign three months ago. But then, we are talking about a small group of people who turned a potent TEA Party revolution, born of the tenets of the original Republican Charter, into an internal confrontation between a small group of elitist inside-the-beltway oligarchs and the rest of the entire Conservative demographic.
To borrow from the NRA campaign:
“Hey, RNC leadership, we are the 55 million members of the Republican Party. If you’re one of the good guys too, then join us.”