Friday, October 15, 2010

Republican Brand Management

No matter how often they win the Presidency or control Congress, no matter how many years they run things in Austin, Republicans show a remarkable ability to maintain their brand image as the outsider, the anti-government party. A case in point was on display Wednesday evening, at a forum at the Lake Highlands Freshman Center for Stefani Carter and Carol Kent, opposing candidates for Texas House District 102.

After the jump, how it's always the other guys' fault, even when that guy (or gal) is dead.

In answer to the question of how the candidates would deal with Texas' transportation needs, Stefani Carter replied that she was opposed to a gas tax increase to pay to meet those needs. She said that gas taxes were raised during Ann Richards' term as governor and the taxes were diverted to non-transportation uses. Does Carter not know that Richards has been dead for four years and out of office for fifteen? That Governor Bush (six years) and Governor Perry (ten years) have had plenty of time to undo any supposed wrongs Governor Richards might have done to transportation funding in Texas? That responsibility for the diversion of gas taxes to non-transportation purposes in the current budget can only be laid at the feet of her own party, the Republican Party of Texas, which has controlled the governorship and the legislature for fifteen years?

You have to admire the boldness of Stefani Carter for trying to deflect the blame for the current budget crisis onto Carol Kent, a freshman Democrat in a Republican-controlled House, or even onto Ann Richards and Democrats of fifteen years ago. It's a remarkable trick of brand management, one that's worked many times before and may work yet again.

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