This is one of those rare moments when the conventional wisdom in Washington is right. The Democrats are poised to have a bad year; the only argument is over how bad it will be. And that question rests on whether or not the Republican Party crafts an agenda voters will support.
So far the GOP has shrewdly been the "party of no." Since I disagree with so much of the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda, I happen to think that "no" is the correct position on the merits. But that's not the point. Saying "no" has worked because that's what most Americans say, too.
The trick for the GOP is to figure out what it will say yes to. Republicans are a bit like the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Americans were sick of Bush and the Republicans back then, so they threw their support behind the Democrats by default. The Democrats over-read this support as a sweeping mandate for their agenda.
This has given the GOP an opportunity many Republicans feared just a year ago might not come for a generation.
Now comes the hard part: seizing the opportunity. Fortunately, I'm not a political consultant. But if I were giving my two cents -- and whaddya know? I am! -- I'd tell the GOP to look not to Reagan in 1980 or Gingrich in 1994, as so many pundits suggest.
I'd look to Domino's in 2010.
You may have seen the commercials or the four-minute YouTube video touting the iconic pizza-delivery chain's reinvention. But if you haven't, Domino's new campaign can be summed up easily enough: "We blew it."
Focus groups and consumer surveys revealed something pretty much everyone outside of Domino's has known for years: Their pizza stinks. It tastes as if aliens tried to copy real pizza but just couldn't capture its essence.
In their four-minute video (search YouTube for "the Pizza Turnaround") executives, employees and chefs at the company confront their harshest reviews head-on. They talk about how much it hurts to hear that their product "tastes like cardboard" and is worse than microwave pizza. But they admit the truth and commit themselves to starting over with more flavor, better crusts, and cheese that doesn't taste like discount weather caulking. Domino's says that the American palate has improved, and they want to update their recipe to take account of that fact.
The appeal of the campaign should be obvious: honesty. Domino's admits they lost their way, and they want a second chance. They're confronting the criticism head-on rather than denying it.
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