04/08/2013 06:17 pm ET Updated Jun 08, 2013

Washingwood: The Truth Behind the GOP Re-brand

As I write, in April 2013, it is not a particularly good time to be a Republican. The overwhelming victory of President Obama, the strongly Democratic Senate coupled with a fractious House, in addition to a hefty majority of Americans (81 percent) who have come to the conclusion that the GOP project is, at best, silly, has lead to GARR: THE GREAT GOP AUTOPSY, RESSURECTION AND REBRAND. GARR began in 2013 and ended in 2014. Washingwood, where policy is conjured up in Washington and polished and sold in Hollywood, is the perfect Petri dish to examine GARR, and since all citizens of Washingwood have the ability to travel in time, I take you to December 31, 2014 for a precise taste of what happened during those two years of hellish Republican introspection.


As President Obama's wrapped up his second inaugural address, the Republican elite, stock full of enthusiasm and hope, began the rebrand. Given that I and other residents of Washingwood have the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, myself and most Washingwooders agree that GARR did not begin well.

The first strategic mistake made by the Republican Party was doubling-down on the leadership of GOP National Committee Chairman Reinhold "Reince" Priebus (who decided some years back that it would be more advantageous, politically, to drop the "Reinhold," and just stick with the more familiar and chummy "Reince"). In a conference call to major donors and supporters, Reince and the 2012 GOP standard bearer Willard "Mitt" Romney (see above re: name accessibility) explained that the reason President Obama was reelected was that, in essence, more... people ... voted.

More people... that weren't, let's say, supposed to vote. Basically, those people voted. There was some discussion as to how to pressure individual state legislatures, particularly those that were still operating as if it were 1859 and secession was an option, into passing legislation that would keep those NPV's (not projected to vote) voters from not voting, or at the very least, make it so uncomfortable to cast a ballot that citizens would find the act of early voting repugnant enough to consider moving to a Scandinavian country. For example, North Carolina (in late October 2013), passed a bill that required early voters to simultaneously plug their ears, scream and hop to the polls. In any event, on that same conference call, Mr. Romney, still dazed by the election results, comforted his supporters by reassuring them he loved doing his own laundry once again. Minutes after, a second conference call was initiated by Karl Rove, who, not-so-elegantly, asked his supporters for another billion dollars to not elect a new set of candidates that the previous billion dollars he cadged couldn't elect. Though Rove's strategy fell flat, the exercise did illuminate the primary rift in the GOP (the battle for the "soul of the party") between three factions: those candidates who "stayed on the rebrand message," those candidates who didn't know or care if there was a "rebrand message," but had their assistants look up the word "rebrand," just to play it safe. The rift boiled down, in essence, to those Republicans who recognized something, anything had to change and those who were utterly content to let their public policy philosophy and practice be guided by medieval Christian doctrine.

A day after the conference call, Mr. Priebus began a seven-month psychotic babbling rant in which each public sentence he uttered contained the words "Latino," "Hispanic," or "Mexican." Words he used interchangeably... coupled with the word "outreach." At every stop, at every speech, those words were uttered while Mr. Priebus held up poster-sized photographs of Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. By way of analogy, think of a parent who puts a plate of vegetables, a variety, in front of their child and asks that the child eat the vegetables. The child, petulant, eats two small cooked carrots and then triumphantly states, "I ate my vegetables!" Mr. Priebus? The child. Senators Cruz and Rubio? The carrots. In any case, at the end of the seven-month rant, Mr. Priebus was shocked to discover that this strategy did not produce the 15 million voters of Latin American descent he predicted would "ring his doorbell and sign on the línea de puntos."

Around the same time, Sarah Palin produced a video to promote her PAC and suck in more dollars for Mrs. Palin to do what it is she does, which is still unclear. The video (which must be viewed under adult supervision as it frightens young children), consisted of a lot of people talking over one another while a bear violently roared. On the bright side, the video is still being utilized by psychiatry departments at major universities all over the world to test whether a patient's anti-psychotic medication is working properly.

In late summer 2013, House Speaker John Boehner gathered a team of highly trained sociologists, linguists, and political advisors and created what he called "The Apology Hour." The Apology Hour, a five-day-a-week operation, proceeded as such: At 6 p.m. EST, Speaker Boehner reviewed all the racist, sexist, and homophobic public utterances of his caucus made on that day and demanded "immediate apologies." The Apology Hour was essentially a fine-tuning of the Speaker's failed "Admonishment Hour."

Historians will argue as to the precise date that GARR, the rebrand, formally kicked off. I take the position that it began at the 2013 CPAC conference where Mr. Priebus was tasked with finding anyone to speak who wasn't over 50 years of age and Caucasian. Mr. Priebus successfully located brilliant pediatric neurologist Dr. Ben Carson, who, over the next five months, insulted anyone who wasn't brilliant pediatric neurologist Dr. Ben Carson.

In early summer 2014, the project to rebrand the GOP began to fall apart. A poll conducted asked likely voters to use words or phrases to describe their feelings toward and understanding of GARR, the rebrand and the Republican Party in general. The results: Well over 70 percent found the new GOP to be "disturbing," "crazy-making" and "sadistic." Sixty-three percent of those same likely voters could not discuss the new GOP without spontaneously weeping, while a slim majority found the topic so horrifying, they felt the need to flog themselves when reflecting on the rebrand.

The poll set in motion the most GOP confusion since the election of Rutherford B. Hayes. Speaker Boehner sent to the floor for a vote, a piece of legislation he thought might bind the wounds and clear the mental congestion. The Wet Dream Act promised a pathway to assault weapon ownership for gays and lesbians. And while the legislation strictly forbade same-sex marriage and amnesty for undocumented workers it did provide for civil unions between gays/lesbians and their military style assault weapon of choice. At present, the legislation sits in the Supreme Court awaiting oral arguments. How it will turn out is anyone's guess, especially given the Court's October 2014 ruling in Mrs. Angela Moretti v. New York, wherein the court decided, in a 5-4 split, that the 14th Amendment applies only to pizza franchises and Dr. Ben Carson.

We shall see...