Thursday, August 6, 2009

Hey, GOP, How’s That “Rebranding” Working Out?

RNC Chair Michael Steele is trying to distance himself and the party from the astroturfing disruptions that are popping up as scheduled around the country.

I had nothing to do with that, I did not encourage that. And we’re not encouraging people to be angry I mean to the point of being nasty and brutish and ugly. That’s not what this is about. There’s no upside for the Republican Party or the people involved to do that. Now some people, you know, that’s how they express their frustration, that’s how they express their frustration. But that’s not something deliberately coordinated by me or any one state party.

I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and take him at his word that he had nothing to do with them. But he’d better check with some of his friends in Congress like Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) who have been promoting the attacks.

The Democrats seem to be getting what passes for their semblance of getting their act together to counter the organized chaos, but in this area they’ve got a lot of ground to catch up on the Republicans, who are always better at coming up with ways to disrupt and distract than actually come up with, y’know, a counter-proposal.

There are a few signs that the GOP is reaping what it sowed. On thing they can’t seem to control is the extremes that some of their minions will go to, including making death threats to members of Congress. TPM cites an editorial in the conservative Napa Valley Register that tut-tuts hooliganism at a recent town hall meeting:

The display was unwelcome — and unsuccessful if it was meant to move health care reform supporters toward considering the concerns of the critics. Several callers to the Register on Tuesday reported they were repulsed by the aggressive tactics of some members of the crowd.

To the degree the catcalls, chants and shouts were organized — and it appears from events around the country that they were — we strongly suggest that the organizers find more constructive ways to get their message out.

Remember all that talk last spring about the Republicans trying to “re-brand” themselves after their massive losses in two straight elections? They were going to try to get back to a majority status by making themselves the party of “new ideas” and a wider appeal. So far, between Rush Limbaugh, the tea-baggers and the birthers, they may want to re-think their efforts on that score.