Washington Bureau

03.18.14

Democrats Attack GOP's Rebranding Effort on Its One-Year Anniversary

By using the same rhetoric they've been using since 2012.

The GOP rebrand was a failure because the Republican Party hasn’t adopted Democratic policies, and because obscure Republicans officials say stupid things. That was the gist of the message provided by Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz Tuesday as Democrats commemorated the first anniversary of the Republican “autopsy” undertaken in the aftermath of the 2012 election.

In a press conference held in a dreary windowless room filled with undercaffinated reporters at the National Press Club, Wasserman-Schultz cast doubt on the success of the Republican rebrand, claiming that “the biggest problem for the Republican Party has never been its primary calendar, its campaign tactics, or a lack of training.” Instead, she thought the GOP’s problem was “who they are, what they believe, what they say and how they govern.” She went on to berate the Republican Party for opposing a raise in the minimum wage, pushing voter ID laws and opposing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented aliens. In other words, Republicans were still being Republicans, rather than or supporting the Republican platform.

Wasserman-Schultz included in her laundry list of partisan denunciation a number of deeply obscure Republicans who had made inappropriate remark, including a GOP precinct chair in North Carolina as well as a number of state representatives. This was amplified by a screen displaying offensive quotes in the background from sources including an Alaska state senator and from the Chisago County Republican Party in rural Minnesota.

The DNC chair displayed her utmost confidence in her party’s political fortunes while talking questions from reporters. She proclaiming a number of eternal truths to the assembled press corps, including that Democrats will hold the Senate in 2014, that Florida’s 13th congressional district is deeply Republican and that “we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.”  Well, maybe not that last part.

But it shows that just Wasserman-Schultz was attacking the GOP as “the same old party,” that Democrats hadn’t changed much either in the past year. The party is still relying “the war on women” rhetoric of 2012 and Republican gaffes combined with a strong ground game to carry them to victory. It all sounded familiar, including the qualified defense of Obamacare that focused on individual provisions rather than the overarching bill. It’s clear that while Republicans haven’t really done much to reinvent themselves in the past year, Democrats haven’t either.