A new video ad you can see online (or this Sunday on the Fox News Channel) features Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush describing what constitutes a “New Republican.”
“If you believe that every parent ought to be able to choose their child’s school and that the economy should be driven from the bottom up and not the top down from Washington, then you’re a New Republican,” Bush says.
Says Jindal: “If you don’t think the Republican Party should be the party of big government, big business or big anything, then you’re thinking like a New Republican.”
Actually, Bush and Jindal’s descriptions of what New Republicans believe map precisely onto the existing Republican Party.
But Alex Castellanos, the longtime Republican political consultant behind the rebranding effort, tells It’s All Politics the goal is to provide a more affirmative message to change the view many voters have of Republicans as “the party of no.”
“Right now the Republican Party is not something that a lot of people see themselves as a part of, or something that they would be very proud to join. A lot of folks see the Republican Party as a very negative force, that Republicans only think their principles are good for saying no and telling people what they can’t do.
“Edmund Burke once said that conservatives should have a gift for re-expressing their principles to fit the times. And so that’s what we’re trying to do. … The Democrats are trying to build their party on demography. We’re trying to build our party on ideas. And that, I think, is the function of NewRepublican.org.”
Besides Fox News Channel, the ad will be seen Sunday in the Washington, D.C., market during the morning political news shows. And there’ll be more ads to come with other Republican leaders, Castellanos says.
“Not only that, but we’re going to be weighing in on campaigns on behalf of candidates and helping them express an optimistic vision. … We’re going to continue to help write some new sheet music for the Republican orchestra.”
The risk for Castellanos and others pushing the New Republican effort is that it may come to be seen less as new orchestral sheet music and, switching metaphors, more like putting old wine in new bottles.