Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Howard Kurtz on GOP Re-Branding

Howard Kurtz weighs in on the packaging vs. policy debate in the Republican party on The Daily Beast.

What’s missing from this equation is hard evidence that the GOP, having lost twice to Barack Obama, is changing its policies. Not a single legislative compromise has taken shape, especially on the big-ticket issues like the budget and taxes.  But perception matters in politics.

Fox is an interesting bellwether. It rode the Tea Party wave in 2009 with such prominent voices as Palin and Glenn Beck, along with such candidates-in-waiting as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum. But the cheerleading from folks like Morris, who predicted Mitt Romney would win in an electoral landslide, left many Fox viewers unprepared for Obama’s big win.
If Fox hires (Scott) Brown, the former (Massachusetts) senator who often worked with Democrats, Roger Ailes will be signaling more of a big-tent approach to Republican politics. And Fox, needless to say, is highly influential with the GOP base.

Kurtz seems to be arguing that while the GOP's policies have not changed, messaging (and messengers, particularly on influential conservative platforms like Fox News) may push policy in a more moderate direction.  This notion has a certain logic: if right-wing media led the party to move further right after the 2008 election it can also lead a move back toward the center after another loss in 2012.

We'll see.

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