Rebranding

REBRANDING…. It seems several leading Republicans have effectively given up hope that the GOP is the “party of ideas,” and want to start over.

Looking to rebrand a struggling Republican Party, a group of party heavyweights including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) are launching a new group that will hold town halls around the country and look to produce GOP ideas on issues like education and health care.

Republicans will announce today the creation of the “National Council for a New America,” a group led by congressional party leaders that includes Bush, McCain, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal as its “national panel of experts.”

I see. The “rebranding” effort will be led in part by conservative Republicans with the last names Bush and McCain. What could possibly go wrong?

Or, as Josh Marshall put it, “You know things are really humming along when your ‘rebranding’ effort is led by your recently crushed presidential nominee and your discredited party leader’s brother.”

In a letter announcing the formation of the NCNA, the group’s leaders explain, “We do this not just to offer an alternative point of view or to be disagreeable. Instead, we want to ask the American people what their hopes and dreams are. Since January, the President and the Democratic Majority in Congress have — rightfully so — put forward their plan for the future, now we must listen, learn and lead through an honest, open conversation with the American people that will result in building policy proposals that will yield the best results for our nation’s long-term success.”

That’s an interesting paragraph. It subtly concedes that the party has a reputation for knee-jerk partisanship (“disagreeable”); it makes a tacit effort at respect (they used the word “Democratic”!); and it acknowledges that the Republican Party simply doesn’t know what to do anymore, so it’s going to ask voters for a few tips.

That said, who wants to wager that, after the NCNA completes its forums, Republicans will discover what they really need to do is push for more tax cuts and spending cuts?

It’s also worth noting who got left off the invitation list for the group’s “panel of experts.” Bush, McCain, Romney, and Jindal made the cut, as did Haley Barbour and John Thune. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) reportedly helped pull the initiate together.

Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Michael Steele, Mark Sanford, and Tim Pawlenty apparently didn’t make the cut. I wonder why.

Regardless, the Republican establishment is looking to itself to determine how to improve the party brand they destroyed. The first NCNA event is this weekend. Stay tuned.

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