Remember Burning Glass Consulting? We talked a month ago about the new political strategy firm that intends to “help the party’s candidates better tailor their messages to women,” led in part by Katie Packer Gage, who served as deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney in 2012.
It apparently didn’t take long for the firm to get a good gig with a high-profile client: the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s candidate school.
[T]he National Republican Senatorial Committee and GOP consultants working to close the party’s gender gap emphasized that talking to women is just one part of an intensive candidate training program. […]Gage … said the session she and fellow consultant Ashley O’Connor conducted for the National Republican Senatorial Committee was “focused on how to talk about the Republican philosophy of limited government and talk about it in a way that women will respond to.” […]More sessions are planned for next year, Gage said…. “There certainly seems to be a need for our services,” Gage joked.
This comes just a week after we learned House Republicans are making a real effort to “teach” candidates how to talk to (and about) women.
To be sure, if the first step is admitting you have a problem, Republicans have taken the first step. Crushed by the gender gap, it makes perfect sense that GOP officials are making a real effort to improve its standing with women voters. For that matter, it’s equally sensible that the party would seek strategic advice from folks like Gage and her partners.
But as we discussed when Burning Glass Consulting was launched, all of this is predicated on a dubious assumption: that better rhetoric can trump misguided policy. These tutorials think women voters will simply overlook the effects of Republican policy agenda if it’s packaged more effectively.
The issue plaguing the party isn’t spin, it’s substance. The party’s problem is with the product, not the pitch. The sooner it comes to terms with this basic reality, the sooner it can try to compete more effectively.