With the departure of Arlen Specter and its party identification flat-lining at 20%, the GOP is launching a national rebranding effort. As part of its National Council for a New America, the Party of No will host public forums around the country for its rag-tag band of tea-bagging faithful and anyone who else wants to attend. As it turns out, this is the Republicans' second attempt at reinvention in 12 months.
A year ago, former Virginia Rep. Tom Davis warned that "the Republican brand is in the trash can," adding, "if we were dog food, they would take us off the shelf." In response, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) led a marketing facelift which produced the memorable mantra, "The Change You Deserve." Sadly, that overhaul was soon aborted when Boehner's prescription turned out to be the slogan for the anti-depressant drug, Effexor.
Now with the beaten and battered Republican Party rapidly contracting into a southern, white rump, Boehner is back to take another crack at it. Spurred by Minority Whip Eric Cantor, a panel of the party's leading lights led by John McCain and Jeb Bush will convene this weekend in northern Virginia to perform the political equivalent of CPR. As CNN noted, the group will also include governors Jindal, Barbour and Romney, though not RNC chairman Michael Steele.
It will report to GOP congressional leaders, and among those signing the announcement that will be made public Thursday are:
*House GOP Leader John Boehner
*House GOP Whip Eric Cantor
*House GOP Conference Chairman Mike Pence
*Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell
*The No. 2 Senate Republican, Jon Kyl
*And the Senate GOP Conference Chairman, Lamar Alexander
"However, this is not a Republican-only forum," reads the letter announcing the new effort, a copy of which was obtained by CNN from Republican sources involved in the effort. "While we will be guided by our principles of freedom and security, we will seek to include more than just our ideas.
The announcement letter also notes that the Republican effort at reanimation will "include a wide open policy debate that every American can feel free to participate in." So be sure to contribute your ideas for the GOP's extremist makeover.
(As an aside, here are the results of the 2006 "What Does GOP Stand For?" contest.)