November 8, 2012

Who was Karl Rove?

This is a cool piece on the young bloods of Republican poliltics. I'm SO with these guys. I don't watch TV or read the gloppity glop that comes in the mail. Zzzzz. It goes straight into recycling. I loath telephone calls of all sorts. So, get the broom!

A New Republican Generation Gets Ready To Take Over:

...One is tactical: Most of the brightest and most charismatic Republican operatives of the last generation became television admen, because that was where the money was. A few, like Bush guru Karl Rove, made their money in the dark arts of direct mail. And at the helm of campaigns, they spent their money on television and mail. The newer generation has deep skepticism about the utility of television advertising; few have any personal memory of actually reading what comes in the mail.

The second set of disagreements is around policy. The younger generation is at least as conservative — in some cases, more conservative — about the role of government, many of them libertarian idealists and foreign policy hawks too junior even to have been on the front lines of Bush Administration successes and failures. But they also spent their early careers stifling disgust at a kind of gay-baiting politics that has little resonance even on young social conservatives who still care deeply about abortion; and they are similarly free of any sense of allegiance to, or guilt for, Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy, with its wink at the racist policies of segregation.

“Broadly, we have to find a way to communicate on these issues in a way that doesn’t scare people,” said former Eric Cantor aide Brad Dayspring, who ran the YG Action Fund super PAC this cycle and is one of a dozen people of his generation coming to be central on Capitol Hill. “How do Republicans respond? By adapting their principles to current problems and challenges.”

It may be hard for observers of politics to grasp just how young this new generation of Republicans is. Many of them aren’t just post-Reagan. Many of them are post-Bush, having worked in mid-level Capitol Hill jobs or very junior administration jobs during the last Republican Administration.

“The issue is, a lot of the guys from Bush '04 are stuck in that mind-set and you really saw it in '08 and '12,” grumbled one Washington Republican who worked in Congress during the Bush years. “They are more consumed with feeding the beast than nurturing the beast.”

This applies, particularly, to the management of national campaigns.

“The George W. Bush map to victory is dead. Republican candidates, donors, operatives, and activists all must start with a view of the entire country as battleground,” said Vincent Harris, a Republican consultant based in Texas and one of a small group who specializes in online campaigns. “Collectively the party simply cannot afford to write any demographic group or geographic area off anymore.”

Relatively few members of this younger generation were eager to speak on the record. One crucial piece of the political apparatus, in the age of the super PAC, are personal relationships with political donors, many of them men in their sixties, seventies, or older, whom veteran consultants have spent years or decades cultivating, and who are key to their continued relevance.

One Republican digital and communications strategist laid the problem out simply: “I would say WE'RE already adapted,” referring to the younger set who’ve worked in politics for two presidential cycles now. “But the people cutting the checks aren't always.”

And many of the young class of operatives, speaking off the record, put that generation gap in brutally personal terms. “Campaigns are a young person’s business now more than ever, in part because of the way people receive information and communicate has changed so much in just the last decade,” said a senior Republican staffer who came of political age in the late Bush years. “For example, Facebook and Twitter were not factors in the last campaign, and they arguably were the biggest factor in this one.

“I don’t know how you can run a modern campaign if you haven’t embraced information and social technology in your own life,” he said. “I don’t know anybody that uses landlines and the post office except Republican campaigns.”...
Posted by John Weidner at November 8, 2012 7:05 PM
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