Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Second most damaged brand? The NRA.

I have no intention of making this a political blog, but I couldn't resist. America's second-most damaged brand has got to be the National Rifle Association.

Why? Let's begin with their response to the Newtown, CT tragedy. Simply put, their proposal was more guns. And they seemed completely unwilling to consider anything that did not involve - you guessed it - more guns.

Here's another question - why doesn't the NRA take up a position similar to that of the alcoholic beverage industries after groups like MADD were critical of them? The brewers and distillers have done a pretty good job of promoting responsibility - asking their consumers to enjoy responsibly and getting behind efforts to prevent or reduce the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors.

This leaves all but those who make a living selling guns without background checks wondering - why doesn't the NRA come out and say, "Yes, we hear you. The recent shootings in Connecticut, and in Colorado, etc.  were tragedies, and we want to do our part to be sure that people buying and owning guns are doing so legally and responsibly. We support background checks, always, whether you buy the gun at a big box retailer, a small gun shop or a gun show at the county fairgrounds, to protect our law-abiding citizens, our kids, our future." In other words, to be the adults in the room.

Why not? Perhaps because to do so would be to resist pandering to the radical right - those who believe we must have guns to protect ourselves against the government. No doubt this is the same crowd who believe President Obama wasn't born in the U.S., or call him lazy or an elitist.

It goes further. Last night, on the eve of the White House gun policy announcement, the NRA doubled down on its hard-right stand and released a new TV ad that calls President Obama an elitist and a hypocrite for being skeptical about placing armed guards in schools while his own children are protected by the (armed) Secret Service. Really? Did they really go there?

This brand is digging a very deep hole for itself.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Most damaged brand in the land - the G.O.P.

Considering their performance over the past 18 months or so, it seems to me the Republican party should be making some New years resolutions - like to reinvent itself. Not since the "New Coke" launch of 1985 has there been so much self-inflicted damage to a brand.

Just finished reading the Michael Shear/Jim Rutenberg NY Times piece, Republicans weigh where to give ground. From the hostage-taking during the last debt ceiling debate, to Mitt Romney's train wreck of a campaign, to the recent tax fight, and all the political theater they've created along the way, these guys have a lot of rebuilding to do.

What do they stand for? Who do they care about? When will it become clear to them their "draw a line in the sand" brand of politics is unsustainable, appealing only to the most cynical among our citizens. The Republicans have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Can you say "out of touch?"

Did they really think they wouldn't pay the ultimate price for allowing their party to be taken hostage by the radical right? For trading their loyalty to the people for a pledge to the likes of Grover Norquist? As the NY Times piece pointed out, it has often seemed like the established Republicans and the new Tea Party nut-job newcomers were speaking as if they were from two completely different parties.

Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, is perfectly justified in his outrage with the republican congress' failure to approve a timely relief budget for DSandy relief. He said he thinks anybody from the tri-state area devastated by Sandy who donates a dime to a republic should have his/her head examined. Under intense pressure from New York and New Jersey, Congress finally on Friday adopted legislation that would provide $9.7 billion to cover insurance claims filed by individuals whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. But this comes more than 60 days after the storm. For those who've lost their homes. that's an eternity. And it's a crime that it's taken this long.

I'm in complete agreement with Rep. King. And I think he should consider switching party affiliation. He and Governor Christie should both jump off the sinking ship of the Republican Party and become Democrats.

What encourages me for 2013? The fact that in 2012, in spite of all the nonsense from the radical right...

We did not go back to the social policies of the 1950's.
We did not turn our backs on regular people - you know, the ones who don't have generational wealth or friends in high places.

We have a long way to go, and during the 113th congress, we'll probably see the GOP train wreck get even worse as these phonies, and the puppet masters who control them, are revealed.

I can't wait. It's gonna be a great year.