Ray Haynes

Ray Haynes served in the California legislature from 1992 through 2006.

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Quality, not Rebranding, is what Republicans Need


by Ray Haynes - State Capitol (bio) (email)(print)

5-18-2008 11:30 am
Now that I am in the private sector, I have learned an important lesson.  Last month, I was in Costa Rica on behalf of a company that I have been doing some work for.  We found that one of our distributors had been taking our product and diluting it.  It still worked, just not as well, and our customers were blaming us.  To protect the brand, and the quality of our product, we got rid of the distributor.  The company had spent a lot of time and money developing the brand, and had developed a market share based on that brand.  This distributor was trying to take that brand, and sell an inferior product, trying to make a short term profit at the expense of long term confidence in the quality of the product.  Our distributor still claims he was making the product better.  We thought he was sacrificing quality.  We just couldn't let that happen.

You don't need to rebrand a successful brand, but you do need to ensure the quality of that brand.  The most successful brand of Republicanism in the last 50 years has been the Reagan, "conservative" brand of Republicanism.  Even Schwarzenegger took advantage of that brand in 2003, running  as a conservative in the recall, vowing to "sweep up" the Democrats in Sacramento.  He then abandoned that brand, became a big spender, and still tried to sell himself as part of the Republican, claiming he just changed it to "make it better."  People rightly blame Scharzenegger for our current budget debacle, but the problem was created because Schwarzenegger abandoned the Republican brand, and then villified those of us who were concerned about the quality of the product.

We had the same problem in Washington.  We didn't lose control of Congress because we weren't spending enough money; we lost it because we spent too much.  We watered down the brand that Reagan, Gingrich and countless others had developed over the years.  Those who delivered the majority too us, our customers, got upset, and decided not to buy our product in 2006.  Congressional Republicans diluted the quality of the product, hoping for a short term profit at the expense of long term confidence in the product.  We lost market share, and for good reason.  We didn't deliver on the promises we made.

There are two parts of politics.  The first is convincing people that the agenda you advocate is the right agenda for people you are asking to vote for you.  The second is, once you have convinced them to vote for you based on that agenda, you need to deliver on that agenda.  People don't expect change over night, but they also do not expect you to renege on your commitment to quality.  They will properly reject you if you break your word to them.

Those who advocate "rebranding" realize, quite correctly, that the Republican Party has a problem.  People do not have confidence in us.  The reason for that however is not because they think we are wrong.  They just think we will do and say anything to get elected, and that once elected, we will act just like Democrats.  History has shown that to be true.

We don't ned to rebrand, we just need to ensure the quality of our brand.  When we do that, we will start winning again.
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You are right on the mark, Ray!

Voters are angry and punishing Republicans for abandoning conservative governance and moving towards the democrat agenda (outrageous over-spending, crackpot global warming, rewarding illegal behavior with amnesty etc.)and not adopting our own agenda!

If we want to reach across the aisle, the idea is to reach across and pull them over to our side - win them over to our ideas, not to act like a lite version of them! That IS appeasement and it gets you (your party) killed every time!

COuldn't agree more. In the article in SFGATE, it is mentioned that the "various legs on which the Republican platform rests have been kicked away" because of various scandals and over-spending. So the solution is to change our core values?

NO. The new legs of the party need to be responsible and honest politicians (yes!) who are not afraid to return or keep to these core values. We can't hope or dream to rebuild our state party until we clean our own house.

Yes, there is plenty of room in our party for debate about other issues that have peripheral importance. But our roots, the Reagan roots, are smaller government and lower taxes. Period. Add in honesty and integrity (duh?) and you have a winnable candidate in any race.

You are quite correct, Ray. The problem is this, two of the most prominent representatives of our GOP "brand", Bush and Scwarzenegger, are the guys watering down our quality!

And John McCain is going to rescue us??

The sentiments are correct but some self-realization is needed for certain Republican strata.

California Republicans are suffering more from self-inflicted wounds than from any taint from national party or national stances.

We've seen the decline for over the last decade.

CA R's are perceived by a large fraction of fundamentally fairly conservative middle-of-roarders/ swing voters as religiously tainted, and - rightly or wrongly - are also perceived as pro-life. The heart & soul of the Republican party - middle- to upper income suburban homeowning professionals - has walked away from the CA Republican party because they're scared of 'em. And a bunch of folks blathering about "families" and "Christian upbringing" ain't gonna bring 'em back.

Silicon Valley should be 'red': populated by a large fraction of libertarian-leaning educated oiupper income professionals. Yet we really don't have any Republicans in any seats around here. These folks are afraid of antievolution teaching creeping into schools, and do not share feelings about 'pro life'

Republicans will continue to stay in the minority, a few seats away from dropping below the 1/3rd level, until they realize this and STFU about "families" (codeword for beat a fag) and abortion - a clearly lost issue for the last 15 yrs in CA regardless of your pro- or anti sentiment in that arena.

CA Republican's baggage is so high that people are willing to pay higher taxes by voting for Dems. Until R leadership realizes the stench of their marketing, nothing will change.

Bill Wiese
San Jose CA

We can always count on Mr. Wiese to tell conservatives to STFU.

Perhaps this is his unique approach to the "Big Tent". LOL.

Want to win? The Republican Party needs to have a 3 statement platform and any elected official who strays gets a primary challenge from someone who will hold their ground.

1. Less Government
2. Lower Spending
3. Lower Taxes

Stick to those 3 items and the Dems will have to defend more government, higher spending and higher taxes.

Everything else becomes side issues.

The Conservative brand is fine. But much like your business example, the Republican party, as a distributer of this brand, has failed. And like your example, they have abandoned the distributor.

Sadly, the leadership seems to not care.

Mr. Sills...

You wrote,

"We can always count on Mr.
Wiese to tell conservatives
to STFU.

Perhaps this is his unique
approach to the "Big Tent".

No, I tell LOSERS to STFU.

Do tell me where:

(1) ... losing is a winning strategy for overall conservative ideals. You must know that 'choice' vs 'pro life' game is lost in CA. It can thus be posited that "pro life" stance = pro tax and antigun because the former losing position ends up with those results at the end of the day.

(2) ...conservatism is defined as religious bias. You can surely be conservative and an atheist/ agnostic. People are afraid of creationism getting into schools.

I'm a gun rights activist/ supporter. I'm horrified the way the R party and folks who supposedly support gun rights render themselves unelectable to higher office.

Right now the R party essentially is an affirmitive action program for a small number of safe seats.

When I see R party holding such unsustainable positions, I kinda have to regard them as anti-gun because that's the de facto end result.

And - saving the fine Mr. Haynes here - I haven't seen the Rs propose much passable pro-gun legislation. (Thanks for trying 2731, Ray.) The R's talk a good game, but being pro-gun means more than just vetoing bad gun bills.
It would be nice, for example, for Tom McClintock to take the pro-gun ball and run with it.

Bill Wiese
San Jose

It is apparent from last weeks votes by our "Republican" Congressmen and Senators that we bought the farm on the farm bill. We truly are our own worst enemies:


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