Skip to comments.Rules for Republicans: Use Obama’s playbook against him.
Posted on 12/28/2011 1:58:51 PM PST by rhema
The two of usa marketing professor and a political analysthave just published a book about the highly successful Obama presidential campaign of 2008. We have distilled a number of lessons from our research. Since the Obama camp already knows these lessons firsthand, we call them rules for Republicans and have presented them to a number of the 2012 Republican presidential campaigns. In summary, here they are:
Rule 1: Define your big idea. What is the overarching theme of your campaign? What is the first thing you want people to think and say about you? What do you stand for? What does your candidacy mean? This is harder than it looks. In answering these questionswhich are really all the same questionyou are creating your brand. In doing so, remember two things. First, a successful brand will reflect what people actually want, not what you think they should want. Your campaign needs to be voter-centric, not candidate-centric. You are a vehicle for responding to the hopes and fears of the American electorate. Second, your brand must connect with voters emotionally, not just rationally. Your campaign must speak to voters personally and create an emotional bond between you and them. Change was a beautiful brand in 2008.
Rule 2: Sell your benefits, not your features. Electoral success is not a reward for past services rendered; it is about promises for the future. Virginia governor Bob McDonnell has correctly said, Its not where you are that matters, its where youre headed. Do not put your biography, however eminent, at the center of your campaign. Your experience is not important in itself; whats important is how your experience can get voters where they want to go. You have to explain the benefits of voting for you, not tediously list your qualifications. Both Hillary Clinton and John McCain found this out the hard way in 2008. If your campaign is centered around your experience or your record or your competence, you are on the road to defeat. Your biography is useful only in a supporting role. You need to put front and center what President Bush 41 dismissed as the vision thing.
Rule 3: Do not dilute your positions to win over middle-of-the-roaders. If that worked, the moderate John McCain would have defeated the very liberal Barack Obama. And Jimmy Carter would have defeated Ronald Reagan. You will never win the presidency by being the lesser of two evils; you have to attract voters to win. Boldness, directness, and honesty will trump subtlety and nuance every time. Just ask Mike Dukakis, George H. W. Bush, Bob Dole, or John Kerry. Stand for something.
Rule 4: Do not let the Obama campaign brand you. Brand him. Your campaign must clearly shape the choices for the American voter. If you do not, the Obama campaign will do it for youto your detriment. You must relentlessly advance your own brand, and you must relentlessly aim to brand President Obama. If you are not on the offensive, you will be on the defensive. You may not like this, but you have no choice about it if you want to win.
Rule 5: Locate your campaign headquarters outside of Washington, D.C. You will be running against Washington. This may seem obviousthough somehow it wasnt to the Clinton or McCain campaign in 2008. Even the ultimate Washington insiderthe president of the United Statesis locating his headquarters far from Washington. Why would you do otherwise?
Rule 6: Develop an electoral strategy with multiple avenues to success. You cant take for granted the states that John McCain carried in 2008, but you can reasonably expect to win them. The 2012 election will be all about the same 16 battleground states it was in 2008. Compete aggressively in all of them. You have good reason to think that the Republican nominee can recapture Indiana, Virginia, and North Carolina. Beyond these three states, you need to pick up only Florida, Ohio, and one other state to prevail with 270 electoral votes. Give yourself multiple ways to reach 270. A corollary: Dont waste your time and resources where you cant win. And dont waste your time with demographic groups you will never win over. Choose the markets that are advantageous to you; it is a mistake to try to convert your clear opponents.
Rule 7: Quickly and categorically reject public financing. Do not be defensive about this. If a longtime champion of public financing like Barack Obama can turn his back on public financing when it suits him, this should be easy for you. Be as cavalier about it as he was in 2008. Raise as much money as you can. Cede no financial advantage to the Obama campaign; theres nothing in it for you to participate in another lopsided financial contest like 2008. Focus especially on the Internet to raise fundsit is the quickest and easiest way to do so.
Rule 8: Run a good ground game. Nothing beats your or your surrogates direct contact with the voters. Take a page from Obama campaign manager David Plouffes 2008 playbook: Do not treat your staff and volunteers as pawns, but as valued customers and colleagues. Provide them with tangible and intangible rewards throughout the campaign. This is the path to creating an army of committed volunteers, a legion of Internet supporters, and, by the way, vastly expanded Internet fundraising.
Rule 9: Consider someone like Marco Rubio as your running mate. You need to bring energy and freshness to your campaign. Choosing Sarah Palin was not wrong in 2008; letting her twist in the wind in the face of media attacks was. A positive, Reaganesque running mate like Marco Rubio will help you. The fact that he is Hispanic will help even more. And the fact that he is from Florida makes choosing him a trifecta. A bit of the cool factor will be a big help, especially with younger voters who will not be as monolithically for Obama the second time around. Choose someone obviously fit to succeed you as president if necessary, and neither the Obama campaign nor the press will get traction in suggesting otherwise.
Rule 10: Go all in. The vast majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. A sizable number believe the countrys very future is at stake in this election. Act like it. Do not pull your punches, especially in a vain and benighted effort to curry favor with the media. The days of neutral media, if they ever existed, are over. The media are partisan, as in the early days of the republic; they have chosen sides. You mustor at least your campaign and surrogates musttake on Barack Obama directly. When you are criticized for doing so, know that you are having an effect. Double down on it. Your media critics are not your friendsthey are on the other team. Be absolutely insensitive, even impervious, to any and all media criticism. Your market is the electorate, not the media. And one more thought: The most devastatingly effective form of negative campaigning is ridicule. This is liberalisms tool against Republicans, and the left hates it when it is turned against them. Thats why the Paris Hilton celeb video was the most effective ad of the McCain campaign. Ridicule exposes how joyless, humorless, and brittle is todays political left.
Didn't I read on FR not long ago that Rubio is Constitutionally ineligible for POTUS/VPOTUS?
I don’t see any of our candidates doing any of these things this year.
According to some FReepers, nobody’s eligible unless they can trace their ancestry to the Mayflower.
Very good...#4 is essential. The left always defines the arguement/issue and sets the tone and the GOP lets it happen every time. They have to be on top of things and be proactive. We’ll see
The Alinskyite on the republican side in Romney and he is using Obamas methods against any conservative that might threaten him. His people did a total Alinsky number on Palin and now he is applying it to Newt.
Love your tag line...so true!
It’s really past time for the bulk of American society to recognize that the democrat party is for the eventual destruction of the civil society. To those not yet informed, it will appear insidious... even diabolical. They can continue with their heads in the sands, but unless enough of them join the other patriots in the know, that recognize the destructiveness of progressive big-government socialism/marxism/obamunism, the society WILL fail. And, if enough of those folks do indeed join the patriots in the know, and become knowing themselves... the society may (or may not) be saved, but at least it will have a fighting, albeit limping, chance.
Rule 4: Do not let the Obama campaign brand you. Brand him.
Newt will do this. Every day, on the attack. Aside from Bachmann, the others will cringe in fear of criticism from the Compost and Slimes.
Pulling of punches is the one talent the Republican candidates seem to share in abundance. We KNOW for absolutely sure, that Mitt Romney will always take the “gentlemanly” course, and that way, lies certain defeat. As shabby and ramshackle as the record of the current regime in the White House is now, they should be target-rich, with all the vulnerabilities they now carry. They should be swept away like the coastal regions of Japan in the 2011 tsunami, leaving only an uninhabitable desert that may not be productive again for years.
But NOOOO. Where Republicans could press an advantage, they seem to prefer to haggle over small points, like finally caving on this “reduction” in payroll FICA tax for - TWO MONTHS!? - only to have to fight this all over again in February.
Hammer the Senate, and Harry Reid, day and night, to pass the 2012 Federal Budget, already passed long ago by the House, and in a timely fashion. Get out there every day, demanding that Harry Reid ACT, or respond to the clamor of the American public tht SOMETHING positive come out of the Senate.
In fact, while they are at it, keep pounding away at the Senate Democrat leadership on ALL fronts, emphasizing their total lack of action, and make that the focus of this campaign - if the resistance crumbles there (and the potential exists), the floodgates open up, and the struggle of the majority of Americans to be heard will at last begin to pay off, big time. Without the Senate Democrats running interference for him, the facade that is the regime in the White House would melt away like a quiche in a crocodile’s mouth.
We should nominate whomever can do that best.
I’m sick of these pofs politicians’ VISIONS!
These psychos mneed to do one thing and one thing only - follow the US Const. All of these pieces of garbage from GHWB on through Obama have done so much damage to this nation - we can’t afford any more damn visions from this psycopaths.
This is my greatest fear.
‘consider someone like Marco Rubio as your running mate’
Like obumo, Marco Rubio is NOT a natural born citizen because his father was not a US citizen at time of his birth.
We are trying to remove the usurper and you are advising the candidates to violate the constitutional requirement for VP?
Rubio knows it and avoids the issue.
If Rubio is upright, courageous and a constitutionalist, he can say: thank you for your confidence, but, like obama, I am not constitutionally eligible because I am not an article 2 natural born citizen.