top of page

The elephant in the room is wearing lipstick.

Mr. Man-on-Dog misses the real beast in the room: Rick Santorum's 12/18/2008 piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Elephant in the Room: Republicans need a new leader, neatly summarizes the bankruptcy of the Republican Party's ideology. In more than 600 words of technical analysis of the Republican's communication process and tactics during the recent Presidential campaign, Santorum devotes exactly 88 words to the substance of the Republican message.

Santorum's diagnosis of the party's failure "to shape a governing vision and communicate it to the American electorate" includes a breakdown in strategic planning, egos, institutional interests, policy disagreements, indifference, incompetence and failure to use technology as well as the Democrats. He concludes that "our governing philosophy was not rejected in the last two elections; rather we could not plausibly explain how our ideas and actions matched" a philosophy grounded in capitalism, world domination and "the values of our forefathers."

No wonder! Nowhere does he suggest that the party's abuse of our constitutional rights; its massive failure to regulate its cronies in the financial markets; its use of torture; its attempts to create an American theocracy; its invasion of other nations; and its cynical base-building campaign to deny gays and lesbians their equal rights may be sources of the fact that the Republican Party was "taken … to the woodshed for a beating in the past two election cycles." The Republican Party of late has some experience with lipstick and should know by now that it can't put it on a pig. Communication that move hearts and minds, garners support and changes behavior must stand on a foundation of actions that are aligned with public expectations and then — and only then — effective communication about those actions. Santorum believes that the Party can return to the time when it "ran circles around the Democrats." Technology is not enough, he says; the Party needs a new chairman to "winsomely" communicate about its "vision." My dictionary defines winsome as "charming, especially because of a naive, innocent quality." Mr. Santorum, if you think winsome will do it for you, then you're going to lose-some more.

bottom of page