Don’t Hold Your Breath

Ken AshfordRepublicansLeave a Comment

The Washington Post/ABC poll found 21% of Americans identify themselves as Republicans. The NYT/CBS poll put the number at 20%. NBC/WSJ also put the GOP number at 20%.

Nate Silver combines these and other polls to show party identification in this telling graph:


That's the backdrop for this news from CNN:

Coming soon to a battleground state near you: a new effort to revive the image of the Republican Party and to counter President Obama's characterization of Republicans as "the party of 'no.'"

CNN has learned that the new initiative, called the National Council for a New America, will be announced Thursday.

It will involve an outreach by an interesting mix of GOP officials, ranging from 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain to Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and the younger brother of the man many Republicans blame for the party's battered brand: former President George W. Bush.

In addition to Sen. McCain and Gov. Bush, GOP sources familiar with the plans tell CNN others involved in the new group's "National Panel Of Experts" will include:

*Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, a former national GOP chairman
*Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
*Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney

Blog_Party_Of_No John McCain, the failed presidential candidate, and Jeb Bush, brother of the disreputed ex-president, are going to help rebrand the GOP?

Into what?  This will be interesting.

I note, however, that the distinguished panel does not include the likes of people like Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee [UPDATE: The Politico reports that although Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) had been invited to the join the National Council for a New America, she has not responded to the request.] [UPDATE SIDEBAR:  Follow Sarah Palin on her new Twitter account!!!!]  I suspect that if the panel does anything concrete (big if, there), it will be to abandon social conservatives and wave goodbye to the GOP's stances against gay marriage, and maybe even abortion.

Though the letter announcing the National Council promised an "open policy debate" with "not a Republican-only forum," Cantor disputed the notion that the initiative is actually a move to shift the party away from far-right ideas. Speaking on CNN last night, Cantor admitted it is "not so much a rebranding effort," but an avenue to "begin to lay out the solutions that Republicans have."

More likely, the new GOP "brand" will be just the old one — emphasizing tax cuts, tax cuts, spending cuts, and tax cuts.

Of further interest: Conspicuously absent from the list of Republican heavyweights participating in the effort is current RNC Chairman Michael Steele. Steele was elected on a platform to rebrand the GOP, promising an "off the hook" public relations campaign. But after a string of missteps, conservatives are now pushing a resolution to revoke the Chairman's power to dole out money.