“Liberals want big government, Conservatives want small government, Centrists demand smart government. ”
The buzz in American politics right now is the “rebranding” of the Republican Party. After losing the popular vote in five of the last six Presidential elections, Republicans realized it was time to repackage their product, conservatism. The party even produced an “autopsy” report, detailing what went wrong and proposing reforms to improve the party’s image and message. But rebranding shouldn’t be just for Republicans. Moderates should take notice and try to change their image as well.
I remember the most important political lesson of my life. I was 24 when I was awarded a fellowship for a prestigious political seminar. Twelve hours a day for two straight weeks, politicians from across Michigan - that’s where I grew up - would give us neophytes advice and training. It was like a political boot camp; my friends called it nerd camp.
I’m sure this has happened to you before – you’re arguing about politics with a friend and you provide credible and absolutely indisputable evidence proving you are right. But instead of agreeing with you, your friend fights even harder. It seems no matter what you say they will not agree with you.
Well, don’t get too frustrated; it’s not your fault. Nor is your friend the “freaking idiot” you think he or she is. Scientists are discovering that we as humans are hard-wired to reject information that undermines our initial beliefs.
As I recently wrote, entire nations, including the United States, are taking tactics out of the playbooks of big businesses. They are building national brands and creating strategic roles for themselves in the international community.
The Democratic Party and the Republican Party may be polar opposites, but many Democrats argue that they should follow in the footsteps of their political opponents. They point to Republicans’ landslide victory in the 2010 midterms as evidence that promoting an uncompromising ideological agenda and pandering to the base is more effective than catering to the center.
72% of Americans think that the country is on the wrong track. During times of economic angst like these people seek out who to blame. Unfortunately, there is a lot of blame to go around. But who you blame usually depends on your political perspective. Progressives, conservatives, and moderates all have their own scapegoats. We will first look at the progressive perspective.
Grassroots movements are all fun and games until they reach Washington. When they finally do they realize that they don’t have the institutional structure to support them. This is true of the Tea Party and it was true of the “change” movement that swept Obama into office in 2008.
Grassroots movements are good for creating enthusiasm, attracting attention, and winning votes, but they are bad at actually changing policy. The power of grassroots movements usually recedes on the Capitol steps. In Congress, grassroots movements rarely make any waves.
The biggest problem that voters have with moderates is that they seem to be “wishy-washy.” Moderates never seem to have principles. They sit on the fence playing politics instead of promoting the issues. They lack character, decisiveness, and strength.
How are we going to bottle it up and sell it?
That is how most Americans view moderates. We need to change that perception if we moderates are ever going to gain some influence. We need to combat the “wishy-washy” persona and create a new brand for ourselves.
The political consensus among Americans is neither liberal nor conservative. The political mood shared by most Americans today is anti establishment. Conservatives are still infuriated by what happened last time they were in power and by what Obama has accomplished. Progressives are sick of conservatives’ stranglehold on policy and by what Obama has not accomplished. Moderates are just disillusioned with the entire political system. What unites all of these disparate groups together is their desire for political reform.
Jeff Immelt is one of the world’s most successful CEOs at one of history’s most successful companies. He is the Chairman and CEO of GE. He has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s and GE has been named “America’s Most Admired Company” in a poll conducted by Fortune magazine.