Issues & Insights

To Counterpunch Smokin’ Joe, ‘G.O.P.’ Must Rebrand As ‘Government Of The People’

Stipulated: Feisty Joe Biden deceived, demonized and divided his way through his State of the Union thumper. But he also adeptly defied his Republican foils – cleverly cornering catcallers in an impromptu imbroglio.

And more important, deftly demagogued with a people-oriented pitch that may well set the stage for a surprise surge. The money line in suddenly-Smokin’ Joe’s populist appeal?

“Americans are tired of being played for suckers.”

Dang straight. The Scrantonite and his scribes are on to something in combating “junk fees” and other indignities heaped upon the non-upper crust.

Biden took on a Corn Poppish cornucopia of love-to-hate lowlifes: Health care hustlers. Old folk defrauders. Cable conmen. Cellphone scamps. Financial institution fleecers. Ticket tricksters. And most deliciously, airline over-chargers, whom he justifiably asserted “treat your child like a piece of baggage” in dinging families to travel in the same zip code as their toddlers.

This swift switch to common-guy champion packs all the more punch when contrasted with Wrong-Way Republicans’ stubborn staying of the course.

To wit: recent votes re-cementing into leadership three-election-cycle loser Ronna McDaniel as Republican National Committee chair and Establishment icon Kevin McCarthy as House Speaker. Followed by McCarthy’s disavowal of the national sales tax on which he promised conservatives, per conflicting reports, a vote or hearing.

Underscoring a syndrome the incomparable Michele Bachmann, one-time chair of the rump Congressional Tea Party Caucus and presidential candidate, identified some dozen years ago when your correspondent was honored to collaborate on a series of speeches with her.

One oration, as prepared, noted: “The real problem (with America) is an arrogant and corrupt Washington elite who want to plan and run your lives. They believe that growth, jobs and social progress can be generated from the banks of the Potomac – and that they have the solutions to all your problems.”

Cue Duh Speaker on “Face the Nation” two days after the RNC vote: “(W)e’re transforming Congress. We’re looking for solutions.”

Dude. The conservative base in particular has long-since tired of solutions emanating from either party. Because Republican voters do not feel their party, nor its solutions, are about them.

They feel, nay, know, that Ms. McDaniel and Mr. McCarthy are card-carrying Uniparty-ers serving Ms. Bachmann’s “Washington elite,” a.k.a. the “Ruling Class” of the late Angelo Codevilla’s epic opus. Or more specifically, its subset the Donor Class. Note the duo’s repeatedly cited, shared leadership qualification: “fundraising prowess.”

Explaining the non-delivery of November’s promised “Red Wave” by demotivated voters who sense party leaders in hock to megabucks bundlers, influence-peddlers, consultants and their “arrogant and corrupt” agendas. In other words, the crowd Smokin’ Joe was hammering.

Americans prefer the quality George H.W. Bush – notably, a similarly soulless former RNC chair – reportedly dismissed as “the vision thing.”

Mr. McCarthy’s mid-terms “vision?” A Contract with America knockoff basically invisible during the campaign. Ms. McDaniel’s reelection “Vision for Unity,” per reports: boost ballot collecting, small-dollar fundraising and  youth voting.

Zzzzzzz. If this is the best Republicans can do, even Somnambulant Joe, much less Smokin’, would eat their lunch.

Rather, the reelected Republican chair and the speaker must counterpunch, quickly, by demonstrating that their actual loyalties lie not with Rich Uncle Pennybags donors, but rather with Donald Trump’s Forgotten Americans (a concept Palooka Joe also purloined).

That the Party also recognizes that Codevilla’s “country class” rightly sees the game as rigged against them, as suckers. But not just by Joe’s Big Business punching bags.

Even more so on Wall Street, in workplaces and global markets, at the store and pump, at the border, in their children’s schools and the halls of academia, in the commanding heights of culture – and especially in Biden’s Washington.

And that the Republican Party will stand above all for one principle: transferring power from D.C. back to everyday Americans and allowing them to be the solution.

Heeding Ms. Bachmann’s onetime call, Republicans should rebrand by recasting their “G.O.P.” acronym to stand for “Government Of the People” – all the time in everything they do.

A symbolic start? As also asserted in Rep. Bachmann’s text: “(G)et rid of the oppressive and error-riddled IRS and the 3.8 million-word tax code. No other change would so fundamentally shift the relationship and the balance of power between you the people and Washington.” Not to mention the Gucci Gulch Donor Class the code entrenches and enriches.

Side-stepping McCarthy’s sales-tax slip-up, the G.O.P. should double-down on pledging to abolish the IRS – and this time, without pre-supposing one solution, to replace the tax code within five years.

An RNC-sponsored Task Force would traverse America gathering testimony and data to design a system so simple that no household need ever file a tax form again – much less pay for professional assistance. And that claims no more than say, 15% of income – addressing objections to a sales tax’s proposed price tag. (Also forcing a radical government “right-sizing.”)

Perhaps Ms. Bachmann – believe it or not, a former IRS attorney who was open-minded about the best system to replace the current code – could head said Task Force.

G.O.P. True Government Of the People.

Rebrand, Mr. Speaker and Ms. McDaniel. Before Smokin’ Joe reloads.

Bob Maistros is a messaging and communications strategist, crisis specialist, and former political speechwriter. He can be reached at

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  • This is it? To get the GOP to be the party of the people our main task is to… get rid of the IRS? Are you kidding me?

    people are struggling to make ends meet, they’re worried about retirement, how to pay for health care etc., but the GOP needs to run on getting rid of the IRS. Okayyyy…. That’s another winning strategy.

    • Many dominoes fall if America gets rid of the IRS and the current tax code. That step gooses growth, is disinflationary, removes economic distortions that have dogged the economy, and if done right, leaves money in people’s hands.

      Moreover, the income tax is the whip hand of the Nanny State.

  • The gop has become as useless as the whig party they replaced(because the whigs became useless). If they cannt (aren’t) going to fight against non conservative values and for constitutional values as opposed to trying to justify their own WORTHLESS careers they aren’t going to save this country!!!

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