From Politico: By MIKE ALLEN (full article here )
A new playbook for House Republicans urges them to run essentially as independents, showing empathy for voters, emphasizing local issues and ignoring many traditional party campaign practices.
The advice for House candidates is part of an effort to minimize Republican losses in a year when voters are exasperated by the economy, the Iraq war and President Bush:
“Encourage Republican candidates to establish themselves in a personal manner, emphasizing local issues whenever possible.”
“Candidates have to have a positive alternative vis-ÃÆ -vis their Democratic opponents.”
“Work to develop an issues matrix that is different than in years past and also shows a deep empathy towards the voters.”
The advice, from consultants to the National Republican Congressional Committee, was presented this week to House leaders, including NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
The assessment is contained in a 15-point PowerPoint presentation provided to Politico and first reported by David Espo of The Associated Press.
The review was an effort to distill lessons learned from unexpectedly deep Republican losses in special elections in Illinois, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The assessment was provided by the NRCC Audit Committee, formed at the behest of House Republican leader John A. Boehner of Ohio.
The review found that the losing Republicans failed to successfully establish “themselves and their local brand in contrast to the negative perception of the national GOP.”
“Traditional Republican messages essentially did not work in these campaigns,” the analysis says. “Nationalizing these elections as a choice between a traditional Republican and a traditional Democrat did not work in this political environment.
“Democrats ran candidates that were a reflection of their districts.”