Last Updated:November 28 @ 07:44 am

Rudov: How Republicans Can Rebrand

By Marc Rudov

While listening to conservative pundits lamenting Mitt Romney’s defeat, incredulous that three million Republicans didn’t vote -- ostensibly because the GOP (Grand Old Party) had failed to get out the vote -- the real problem hit me: cultural infantilism. Liberalism, and its pillars entitlement and dependency, is now so pervasive, corrosive, and infectious that many of America’s adults have regressed.

The GOP shouldn’t have to “get out the vote,” in any election. Responsible adults know that voting is a civic duty, a responsibility, an obligation, a self-directed act. We tell children to fulfill their obligations, right? Barack Obama exhorted his sycophantic base to vote, even instructing them that voting is the best revenge. Although he won, Obama received 10 million fewer votes in 2012 than he did in 2008.

Adults, conversely, get themselves out to vote. They take responsibility for their lives, make difficult choices and sacrifices, fight to limit government, and control their own destinies. Adults respect the laws of finance and accounting, resent wealth confiscation and redistribution, and loathe unpayable debt.

Alas, there are few adults in socialistic America; that’s why Barack Obama, the Candy Man, appeals so much to Candylanders, who childishly accept free candy in exchange for their own freedom. President Obama understands the infantilism of his base and, accordingly, crafted a simple reelection strategy: promise and deliver them free candy; they will overlook my failures and vote for me with messianic zeal. It worked.

Infantile Electorate

What freedoms has America lost? Two recent examples: 1) in the past 90 days, Obama’s administration has posted 6,125 regulations and notices, averaging 68 per day; 2) a record-high number of Americans, 47.1M, are now using food stamps, shackled by dependence on government. When citizens depend on government and eagerly live according to its overbearing rules, they exemplify infantilism.

As a branding consultant, I know that the GOP has many problems, that Romney was too reticent to counter Barack Obama’s mistruths, both in intensity and frequency, in the brawl for the White House. Obama brought a gun to a knife fight; Romney brought a water pistol but needed a cannon. Mitt Romney chose dignity and class against his unpresidential opponent, a strategy that only adults appreciated.

Despite Romney’s mistakes, he’s clearly a talented, experienced, proven executive who could have led America back to prosperity. Yet, Obama, who has no management experience and whose record reeks of failure and deception, won all “the groups”: single women, Hispanics, gays, Jews, blacks, the under-30s, Muslims, Mormons, and Catholics.” So much for America, land of the individual. Romney won white men and white married couples over 30, now irrelevant in America. Amazingly, he didn’t even win all the Republicans, as indicates!

So, if the three million stay-at-home, so-called Republicans decided to “punish” Romney for not being conservative enough or Christian enough or libertarian enough or whatever enough, they lost: the last laugh is on them -- and the rest of us: America is now fiscally unfixable, freedom is at an all-time low, and government is more powerful and oppressive than ever. Purposely ruining America, by voting or not voting, is pure infantilism. Refusing to acknowledge the now-fractured union is pure infantilism.

Comprehending Candyland

Even though Mitt Romney correctly characterized Candylanders in his “47% speech,” which he delivered to what he thought was a private audience behind closed doors, explaining that half the country is entitled and will vote for Obama, no matter what, he later apologized for making these remarks. By retreating, by changing his story, by selling out, Romney missed a golden opportunity to display boldness, uniqueness. He was right: Obama did win these Candylanders. Romney had nothing to lose and everything to gain by being honest: respect, votes from the remaining 53% of America, and a seat in the Oval Office.

The Republican Party, and its pollsters, failed to comprehend Candyland. It failed to grasp the source of Candyland: America’s union-controlled schools. Children, who know more about global warming than free enterprise, are indoctrinated with socialism and Obama. College students, voting for the first time, are alarmingly socialistic and ignorant about government and current events. It’s no coincidence that our youth reflexively flock to politicians sounding just like their left-leaning teachers.

Some are calling for reform and moderation, for Republicans to become more like Democrats. Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, said on Fox News: “It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.” Anyone with a brain, and a calculator, knows this is nonsense: the top 10 percent of earners already pay 70 percent of the income taxes. Only a redistributor, who cares nothing about the sanctity of private property, wants more from the productive members of society. Retreat in defeat? Why not just become a one-party tyranny? This is not how to restore America.

Returning to Basics

If the GOP is to reoccupy 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it must return to basics. In Article 4, Section 4 of the US Constitution, we find: The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government. When did you last hear this in a union-controlled school or a university?

America was founded as a state-centric union, a constitutional republic whose citizens (not groups) wield power through their elected representatives. The republican form of government is predicated on a nation of well-informed, proactive adults – individuals -- who eschew freedom-killing power concentrated in one place, one branch, one person, or any union.

In 1790, Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to William Hunter, the mayor of Alexandria, Virginia: “The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at open or secret war with the rights of mankind.” Think of Jefferson’s truth the next time you try to buy a 100-watt lightbulb or a big soda in a New York City movie theater.

Become “Republicans”

The GOP is now at a crossroads. Obama’s Candyland will fail, because socialism always fails, but those hooked on Candy will beg for more. Republicans must, therefore, lay the groundwork now to reemerge with strength. If, instead, they wallow in self-pity and let critical time pass, they will lose again in 2016. They must present a refreshed face to the country.

The GOP can rebrand as the GNP, the Grand New Party, to end Candyland. End it, once and for all. How? Republicans must become republicans, those who faithfully defend the republic and honor the individual. Grand New Party and gross national product (also GNP) must become synonymous!

Continuing to make adult speeches about small government to infantile voters, hoping to get their votes, is futile. The GNP must teach “children of all ages” about the US Constitution, republican basics, free enterprise, failed socialism, and adulthood responsibilities. Change the narrative, massively.

Or, the GOP can cowardly close its doors, in retreat, to join the Democrat Party. What Republicans cannot do, if they want to survive and thrive, is forget why they’re not Democrats.


Marc Rudov is a branding expert, author, speaker, and radio/TV personality. Find him at

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  1. teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
    November 14, 2012 @ 6:12 am

    The Republican party is about to jump off the cliff with amnesty. Once that happens, they, and we, are done.

    I don’t understand the strategy of surrender. What happened to “Give me liberty or give me death”?

    I think the McCain nomination four years ago did more damage to the party than anyone realized. I voted for him, but literally felt sick doing it. After the election , I was determined to never vote for another Republican garbage candidate again, but Romney won me over with his choice of Ryan as VP. Apparently many others remained steadfast in refusing to follow lockstep with the Republican leadership and their insistence on “moderate” candidates.

    Perhaps it is just as simple as the democrats understand their base and the Republicans do not.

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      November 14, 2012 @ 8:19 am

      The Repukelicans need to change a whole bunch if they expect to gain the White House ever again! They are way out of touch with the entire country. There are not enough hard lined conservatives left in this country to elect another hard lined conservative. They need to get off the Pro- religious, anti abortion and anti homosexual bandwagons and learn to talk and communicate with ALL people or they are finished! You draw more bees with honey than you do with water!

      What this country need and I am afraid it is going to happen sooner than later is a long period of very tough times. When the unemployment rate is at 15-20% and gas is $8.00 a gallon and you have to wait up to one year to see a primary doctor for care, then maybe they will wonder what they did and what happened? Then things may begin to change!

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      November 14, 2012 @ 10:07 am

      The republicans need to get out of religion and all the moral stuff. When Rick Santorum hinted he would make one of his goals over turn Roe V Wade. He was finished dead in his tracks! The world and the country’s people and ideas have changed. I believe there are still a lot of fiscally conservative people out there that are republicans but they dont want the government telling them they cant be a homo or get an abortion or be an athiest! That is their freedom to live life as they see fit but the republican party has lost them. I am a believer and pro-life but I also believe that everyone has the FREEDOM TO CHOOSE!

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    • mstrong1Comment by mstrong1
      November 14, 2012 @ 10:35 am

      nickster99 is dead on. I agree with them 100% What do I care if people are gay, marry each other, marry sheep, trees or rocks.. at least they have someone to care for them other than the tax payer. Abortion is very sad, but I think the decisions are up to those involved, certainly I don’t feel they are up to me, BUT I don’t view this as a governmantal responsibility, nor should government reward pumping out more kids with receiving more benefits. Fix the holes in the roads, do ONLY what ONLY government can do and stay out of my way at minimal cost.

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      November 14, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

      Something else I forgot to say. We need to get out of policing the world! Americans are so sick of war! We need the strongest possible defense that is DEFENSE! That is if we were attacked by a another entity or country they should pay dearly as a result of those actions! We should encourage countries to trade with us and show them that freedom and human rights are the only way to be successful in the world. But to attack another country just because we “THINK” they have weapons of mass destruction that they “MIGHT” use is craziness! And I dont agree when athiests try to change our laws to remove religious statues, emblems and writings because they dont believe in a God. It is wrong. The vast majority of us DO BELIEVE IN A GOD! Majority rules!

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    • stshepherdComment by stshepherd
      November 14, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

      nickster 99- no, people won’t change their vote no matter what happens with the economy because they are voting for their perceived self-interest and the lines have been drawn relatively permanently at this point. Your comments about moralism are completely wrong. Republicans have every right, and a duty really, to state their moral beliefs as it relates to public policy and potential law. The left does this constnatly- holding up killing your baby as “the right to choose,” forcible redistribution and confiscation of wealth as “We should be doing….” (giving money to someone- themselves!)ad nauseum. Anyone who is pro-choice is an evil person- it’s that simple- because you’re advocating murder and that’s exactly what abortion is. Evil destroys. It destroys and has destroyed a good people. This is never going to change. “America” was made for good people. We are far from a “good people” today, in so many ways, and for THIS reason “America” is most definitely doomed, because “America” is not only an “idea”- it is a people, and, thanks to the left and the moral relativists like YOU- our people stink!

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  2. mstrong1Comment by mstrong1
    November 14, 2012 @ 6:45 am

    “Rebrand”? I often hold my nose and vote Republican because communisim doesn’t appeal to me.

    I HATE the Republican attachment to “moral issues” and it is what makes me hold my nose. Leave people alone to do as they wish as long as they aren’t infringing on others doing as they wish. Respect the 10th amendment

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    • nickster99Comment by nickster99
      November 14, 2012 @ 8:21 am

      I agree 100% We need a 3rd party!

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    • SnowyComment by Lena
      November 14, 2012 @ 9:01 am

      It seems to me that most of you are missing the point of this article which points to the failure of the voter as much as it points to the failure of the party.

      mstrong1 hates moral issues, but fails to realize that many of our fiscal problems are caused by moral failures.

      It’s entitlement programs that are driving us deeper into debt. It’s the failure of individuals to assume responsibility for themselves that create the need for many of those programs.

      Because we have abandoned morals we think it’s ok that nearly half the babies born in this country are born to single mothers. But single mothers or single fathers cannot adequately raise a child. We pay to raise those children and we pay for the abortions of those who prefer killing their child in the womb. Once these children are raised then we pay for their poor upbringing by building more and larger prisons.

      We fail to provide adequately for our old age, depending instead on the younger worker to fund our retirement just as our SS taxes funded those of others when we were young workers. This too is a moral issue.

      Isn’t going through life with your hand out a moral failure? That’s how half the people in this country live their lives now.

      I could go on and on, but it is impossible to separate the costs of an immoral people from the fiscal problems of that same people. They go hand in glove and one creates the other.

      How would a third party help, Nickster? People are the problem with the current party. Wouldn’t a new party also be made up of people, some of whom would have different ideas than you do about how to run a party?

      What would it accomplish other than splitting the remaining vote even further?

      I don’t believe there is an easy or a quick answer, because the only answer is returning to personal responsibility and a moral lifestyle. It’s much easier for a people to lose their morality and personal responsibility than it is to gain it back. There are rough times ahead.

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    • mstrong1Comment by mstrong1
      November 14, 2012 @ 9:01 am

      I agree, we need a real 3rd choice, like Libertarians. When the debates were hijacked away from the League of Women Voters, we got a 2 party debate instead of multiple choices, also watching interviews with Dem voters, none seem able to articulate ANYTHING Obama is for, or ANYTHING about the economy, current events, or much of anything. It’s quite depressing and after years of being very active and donating a lot of cash and time, I’ve had it. I’m burned out and don’t see how it’s usefull to be involved anymore.

      As far as “morals” my comment was directed at my sense of R’s being bible beaters and D’s being commies. I completely agree about personal responsibility and hard work, the irresponsible NEED to be left behind, I certainly don’t want to pay a dime for them, although the truly needy (through no fault of their own), I have no problem taking care of.

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    • SnowyComment by Lena
      November 14, 2012 @ 9:24 am

      What you said about the debates simply isn’t so. Ron Paul stood on that stage with every other candidate for every debate. Just as in 2008, he did not win a single state primary, not even one.

      When he ran honestly for president as the Libertarian he is, he garnered less than 1% of the national vote.

      Libertarianism sells to the very young and the very immature. When the Libertarian candidate fails to get the nomination, Libertarians tend to vote for the most liberal candidate. They are not conservatives and actually have only limited fiscal policies in common with conservatives.

      In social policy and foreign policy Libertarians have far more in common with Democrats.

      Your comments about Bible beaters are what conservatives have come to expect from the liberals and libertarians who troll conservative websites.

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    • mstrong1Comment by mstrong1
      November 14, 2012 @ 9:43 am

      I am no liberal. I am one of the guys that convinced Perot to run and ran his campaign in my state. I have donated to Pat Buchanan, followed Wm F Buckly, given away at least 100 National Review subscriptions, belong to CATO, Heritage, etc., and have donated thousands to Freedom Works and more to I am extremely conservative, yet not a religious believer. It is not a contradiction.

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    • SnowyComment by Lena
      November 14, 2012 @ 10:54 am

      Thanks for convincing Perot to run and giving us Bill Clinton. Pat Buchanan is also a libertarian and a third party advocate. He almost cost George Bush the election in Florida in 2004. Looks like you’re still doing the same things today and hoping for a different result. It isn’t going to happen. The GOP didn’t win with almost half of the electorate and you aren’t going to win by splitting the vote even further.

      National Review leans more to the RINO side of things than the conservative, but your choices are fascinating.

      Winning is about building coalitions, not about driving a major portion of a party’s support out of the party.

      Like it or not, Republicans cannot win without the religious vote, anymore than they can win without the limited government vote or the foreign policy vote.

      The Democrats already have the Godless vote sewn up. I don’t see much room for third parties or Libertarian candidates. After all, drugs are becoming legal under Obama. Druggies on food stamps and welfare don’t need the Libertarian party anymore.

      Like it or not we are all paying taxes for the lack of morality and character in our citizens and in the politicians they elect. It is a lack of moral values and character that creates a Barack Obama, as well as the voters who installed him in office.

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    • mstrong1Comment by mstrong1
      November 14, 2012 @ 11:10 am

      Yeah, like I’m personally responsible for all that. More like it’s the far right that hijacked the Republican party. We are shown to be, time after time, a center right country. I won’t ever go left of center, but I’m sick of going far, far right. Thought Mitt was about right and voted for him. Well I’d love to stay and chat about how it is possible to be an atheist conservative with excellent moral values and character, but I have to go fire some democrats to get below the 50 employee obamacare threshold and buy more gold before the dollar dumping is obvious to everyone

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    • SnowyComment by Lena
      November 14, 2012 @ 11:37 am

      You supported it and you’re still bragging about it. So yes, we all have some responsibility for the choices we make.

      I have a question for you if you care to answer it. You say you want a party without moral values voters. Don’t you already have that in the Libertarian Party? It’s a registered political party and has been for many years. It claims to stand for strong fiscal values, no legislated morality and has a non-interventionist stand on foreign policy.

      The Libertarian Party has run many candidates for national office with no success at all.

      So why would making the GOP more libertarian work when the real thing has failed?

      Btw, you say you supported Mitt and he is the most stringent example of a moral values candidate that this country has ever had. So, what’s wrong with having religious moral values voters in the GOP who also supported him? He lost by less than half a million votes but without religious voters he would have lost by many millions of votes.

      Why do you think making the GOP into a copy of the Libertarian Party would be successful at the polls when the Libertarian Party has never been?

      Btw, correcting a previous error that I made. I should have said that Buchanan almost cost Bush the election in 2000, not 2004.

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    • mstrong1Comment by mstrong1
      November 14, 2012 @ 12:12 pm

      OK, Lena, I shall try to answer. Morals ARE important to me. I did not say I want a party “without moral values voters”. I voted for Mitt because regardless of his views, I respect him and thought he was our best bet to regain the America of hard work, sacrifice, boot straps and the things that made us exceptional, including compassion for those that really need help.

      I do not agree with Libertarians on many things and think they have staked out some positions just as extreme as some of the furthest right Republicans and do not wish the Rupublicans to emulate them. I’d like them to meet in the middle, solidly between the exact middle and the far right. I’m for maximum freedom, individual responsibilty, small government, no currency destruction, free markets, strong military and minimal interference in personal choices. If 0 is far left and 100 is far right, I’m interested in somewhere between 70-80 and so are most people I know.

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  3. rrg51Comment by rrg51
    November 14, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    I believe that Lena has the workable, moral, and winning recipe.

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