Open Memo to Republicans by Holly Robichaud from the Boston Herald.
The Republican brand and identity with voters is at its lowest point since 1932 during the depth of the Great Depression. To compare the Party’s standing even to the depth of Watergate or the debacle of 1964 is to understate the situation. In 1974, following the resignation of Richard Nixon, while the Republican Party was demoralized and the Democrats made key gains, the voting public was angry at Richard Nixon and his subordinates and sought to punish Republicans for Nixon’s misdeeds. By 1976, however Republicans and Nixon were not synonymous and the seeds for a Republican revival had been planted. In 1964, despite attempts by George Romney, Nelson Rockefeller, and William Scranton to disassociate the Republican brand from Barry Goldwater, who had been unfairly painted as an extremist by his primary competitors and Lyndon Johnson, voters equated Republicans with extremism and racism in regards to the issue of war and peace and civil rights. Yet by 1966, the Republican image had rebounded due to Democratic missteps and stray Republicans and Republican leaning voters returning to the Party. That is not the case in 2008. The Republican image has not rebounded and the Party continues to suffer not only among Independents but among core Republican constituencies. The devastating defeat in the Mississippi 1st District was not an aberration but rather an indicator of what could happen not merely in marginal districts but safe Republican districts.
The reason that the Party has not rebounded even marginally from 2006 is that it continues to be identified with George W. Bush. This invokes the comparison to 1932 and the midterm elections of 1934 and general election of 1936. Democrats were able to exploit the Great Depression to become the majority Party in America for the first time since the Civil War by identifying the Republican Party with Herbert Hoover in the minds and hearts of Americans. They were successfully able to equate Republicans with Hoover very much as Democrats are tying Republicans at all levels with George W. Bush. Indeed invoking Ronald Reagan, as is being done today, has echoes of Republicans in the 1930’s invoking Calvin Coolidge rather than mention Herbert Hoover. Invoking Ronald Reagan now will do more for Republicans than invoking Calvin Coolidge did Alf Landon and Republicans in 1934 and 1936. This is not to say that Republicans must run from conservative principles, rather they must re-embrace them and again to convince voters that Republicans are true conservatives.
To read the entirety of this lengthy piece please see Open Memo to Republicans by Holly Robichaud in the Boston Herald.