House Republicans To Run Against D.C. Establishment Even Though They’re Part Of It

House Republicans appear to be settling on an anti-incumbent, anti-establishment theme for the 2012 campaign:

House Republicans have a surprising message for voters in 2012: Throw the bums out.

That’s the theme of a new message campaign prepared by the National Republican Congressional Committee, which hopes to defend the GOP’s newly minted House majority next year by labeling Democrats as a party “Made in Washington.” It’s a reminder that Republicans don’t control the Senate and the White House — and voters still have cause to channel their outrage toward Democratic incumbents.

According to a PowerPoint presentation delivered late last month and obtained by POLITICO, NRCC officials aim to accuse Democrats of “not listening to the American public” and adopting policies that are “of Washington,” despite the rebuke voters delivered in 2010.

The broad idea, according to NRCC officials, is to protect the outsider brand Republicans used to great effect in 2010. House Republicans hope voters will continue to see the GOP as an insurgent force, fighting against a federal government that’s largely in more liberal hands.

It’s a challenging task, given that it’s now a Republican — John Boehner of Ohio — who sits in the speaker’s chair. But the desired contrast, in the GOP’s words, is between a party that’s “Fighting Washington” and one that’s “Made in Washington.”

Earlier versions of the messaging — organized around the themes “Dems still don’t get it” and “D.C. doesn’t get it” — were discarded in favor of a catchphrase inspired in part by the powerful “Imported from Detroit” 2011 Super Bowl television ad run by Chrysler.

Given the general public disapproval of Congress, it’s not surprising that they’d give this a try, but the fact that they’d use it is a fairly good demonstration of what political consultants on both sides of the aisle think of the American voter. Basically, they think we’re too dumb to notice that we’re getting the wool pulled over our eyes. Sadly, there’s several decades of history to prove them correct.


FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Congress, US Politics, , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. jwest says:

    Republicans should use the city of Detroit as the prime example of what happens when liberals are in charge of anything.

    Nuclear weapons couldn’t do more damage.

  2. MM says:

    Well, it worked on jwest.

  3. sam says:

    “Republicans should use the city of Detroit as the prime example of what happens when liberals are in charge of anything.”

    Jeepers. Then I guess Dems should use the conservative paradise of Texas as a counter: Revenue estimate puts shortfall at $27 billion:

    Texas is expected to collect $72.2 billion in taxes, fees and other general revenue during the 2012-13 budget, down from the $87 billion used in the current two-year budget, Comptroller Susan Combs announced Monday.

    That puts the shortfall at $27 billion given that maintaining services would run $99 billion for biennium.

    Collections for the current budget will come in $4.3 billion less than budgeted.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    jwest – City of Detroit?

    Hmm. How about the city of New York? The city of Chicago? The city of San Francisco? Seattle? Minneapolis? High per capita income, good schools, low divorce rates and so forth. OK and let’s cherry pick some conservative states, heck, let’s take the whole bible belt with the worst school systems, highest rates of teen pregnancy, divorce, drug use…

    You sure you want to go there?

  5. mantis says:

    If only the liberals in government in Detroit had been able to keep all those car companies from moving their manufacturing to other countries. That should have been super easy for them! Clearly, liberalism is to blame for Detroit. Since all the other liberal cities in the US are in the same state as Detroit, we know this to be true.