Boehner’s ‘New’ GOP Strategy: Same Policies, ‘Refurbished’ Message

Last week, an ABC News poll found that 82 percent of the public thinks the country is on the “wrong track.” Conservative candidates have lost three special congressional races in recent weeks, some in conservative districts. The Republican response? Better messaging.

The Washington Times reports today that House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said that “his party does not need to change its core principles,” but instead will bank on a “refurbished” message. “It’s a change election,” Boehner admitted, and according to him, only the Republican “brand” needs changing:

It’s not that the party’s going to change, it’s what we talk about and how we talk about it,” he said. “You look at the Republican brand name being where it is, let’s be frank about it. Iraq has been very unpopular, right? It’s associated with Republicans. The president’s job approval is somewhere down around 30. Those are the two big issues that hurt the brand.

In order to “counter the Democratic push for change,” GOP leaders adopted “The Change You Deserve” for their new slogan. Boehner tried out his new slogan on Fox News today. Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/05/boehnerchange.320.240.flv]

But “the change you deserve” is also the advertising slogan of Effexor XR, a drug used to treat depression. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said today, “‘Change you deserve’ is of course a trademark of a an antidepressant. It does have side effects…it can make you sick. 82% of Americans have indicated that they are sick and tired of the policies that have been pursued by the Bush/Boehner Administration and they want a change.”

While the brand is hurting, conservative policies are causing even more pain. As Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) explained, conservative policies have resulted in “$3 trillion in new debt, millions more Americans without health insurance, energy and gas prices skyrocketing and incomes stagnant.” Only 30 percent of the public supports the Iraq war, an all time low, and economic anxiety is at its “highest level on record since 1981.”