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Postman on Politics

Chief political reporter David Postman explores state, regional and national politics.

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June 11, 2008 7:54 AM

UPDATED: More on Republican re-branding

Posted by David Postman

I wrote below about Dino Rossi's decision to list himself on the ballot as a member of the "G.O.P.," meaning primary and general election voters will not see him identified as a Republican.

That raises the question about how many people know that GOP stands for Grand Old Party.

The Rossi campaign says voters get it. But a reader reminded me this morning that not even every Republican in office knows what it means. In 1999, Washington's late Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn and Oklahoma Rep. Steve Largent, a former Seahawk, gave the Republican response to President Bill Clinton's State of the Union Address.

Largent said, in describing his lack of political background,

Prior to 1994, my wife and I, we weren't political. We were like most families, raising four kids, hustling from one school or sports event to another - our car littered by fast food wrappers and French fries.

In fact, it wasn't until after I was elected that I attended a Republican function where a banner hung that read "GOP." I had to ask someone what those letters stood for.

They said, "Grand Old Party, of course."

(Thanks, Anthony.)

UPDATE: Another reader sends along a piece from CBS about the Wall Street Journal’s Decision in 2002 to drop the use of GOP in news stories and headlines.

In an internal memo issued to staffers last week, Journal higher-ups said the term GOP will be dropped because not all readers know what the letters mean, and some may not realize that they are a reference to the Republican Party.

That doesn't mean that the time-honored letters will disappear forever from the pages of the prestigious financial newspaper.

Reporters and editors will still be allowed to use the term in a quotation, if someone else says GOP. But an explanation of the acronym will be provided for any readers who might be stumped.

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Posted by John

8:48 AM, Jun 11, 2008

What a kick I get from this site !!!!
Better than the Sunday Cartoons.

Posted by C. Calloway

9:31 AM, Jun 11, 2008

I guess this is humorous, but then again the guy only lost the election by 30 votes.

I assume out of all the voters in the state, that might be enough to tip the scales, assuming King County workers don't find any more uncounted votes in the closet, bathroom, trash can, penitentiary, etc.

Posted by JimD

9:32 AM, Jun 11, 2008

I always wondered if Largent's confession was a self-deprecating white lie intended to bond him with average folks of the time.
"Look at me...I didn't know a thing about politics and now I'm making a can YOU.."

In any event, I suspect there are far fewer folks in today's super-charged political environment who haven't discovered that GOP refers to the Grand Old (republican) Party.
And when folks see GOP next to Rossi's name, I bet the lipstick on a pig message will produce a net negative.

Posted by Methow Ken

10:00 AM, Jun 11, 2008

If I remember my history correctly, GOP goes all the way back to the time of and just after the Civil War, when the Union army was referred to as the ''Grand Army of the Republic''. I believe ''Grand Old Party'' in lieu of Republican followed at about the same time.

So if they still teach US history in high school, GOP should not be totally unfamiliar to the populace. Plus GOP has been and still is very common on Republican bumper stickers, yard signs, etc.

Posted by Richard Pope

10:27 AM, Jun 11, 2008

With any luck, Ron Paul's supporters in this state will get his name on the presidential ballot under the "G.O.P. Party". That would simply require getting 1,000 signatures from registered voters in order for the "G.O.P. Party" to qualify as a third-party presidential candidacy.

That will make Dino Rossi look like a real dumb-ass to the Republican rank and file, and all of those moderate voters. Rather than running on the "Republican Party" ticket with John McCain, Rossi will be running on the "G.O.P. Party" ticket with Ron Paul.

Posted by upchuck

3:22 PM, Jun 11, 2008

more gop party branding with negative connotations defined....

neo cons - as in con job, liers, militaristic chicken hawks

conservative - as in traditional, old, not with the times, behind the current progress towards justice and human rights

republicans - alluding to republican form of government as opposed to one more rooted in the democratic will of its citizens

gop, grand old party - as in a room full of fat old bald white guys sipping burbon and smoking cigars and joking about screwing over the little guy.

Posted by John

3:40 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Your so funny I need to leave this blog for a week so I can catch my breath.

We know when Democrats start going ballistic the writing is on the wall.

Tough when you had this election wrapped up to see it disappearing for another eight years must be madding.
I plan on buying more stock in prozac.
You boys going to make me richer.


Posted by Buzzy

3:55 PM, Jun 11, 2008

Dino, you can run but you can't hide from your party's tarnished brand. Of course there's always a few dead-enders that will vote for you (John??) but being a republican on a Nov 2008 ballot is a recipe for electoral disaster. It's going to be a democratic landslide.

Posted by John A. in San Diego

1:53 PM, Jun 12, 2008

Here is a 2004 editorial concerning Barach H. Oboma:

July 27, 2004

Boston ( - Without a formidable Republican opponent in his U.S. Senate race, Barack Obama has little reason not to take money from billionaire liberal financier George Soros, a man other Democrats keep at a distance.

When Obama takes the stage Tuesday night for a prime-time address at the Democratic National Convention, the candidate for Senate in Illinois will be introduced to a wider audience for the first time, bringing heightened scrutiny to the relative political newcomer's campaign.

Democrats expect him to pass any test he faces. They view Obama as a rising star within their party, touting his good looks and ability to connect with voters. If elected Nov. 2, he would become the first black to hold a Senate seat since Carol Moseley Braun, also from Illinois.

Obama, however, is different from most Democrats because of his willingness to embrace the controversial Soros. Shortly after Soros equated the abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Obama joined him for a New York fund-raiser June 7.

The event, held at Soros' home, boosted Obama's campaign at a time he was still facing a challenge from Republican Jack Ryan. After news broke about information in Ryan's divorce records, the candidate was forced to drop out. The Illinois GOP has yet to find a replacement.

Obama, meanwhile, has emerged as the party's young face. He was selected over longtime party stalwarts to speak Tuesday night, and Obama has seized the opportunity.

Little has been made of his connection to Soros, although it is quite unique. Not only did George Soros donate to Obama's campaign, but four other family members - Jennifer, sons Jonathan and Robert and wife Susan - did as well.

Because of a special provision campaign finance laws, the Soroses were able to give a collective $60,000 to Obama during his primary challenge. Obama faced millionaire Blair Hull, which allowed donors to give more than typically allowed.

Obama is one of only a handful of candidates to get a personal contribution from George Soros. The others include Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bob Graham (D-Fla.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), U.S. Rep. Tom Lantos, and former Vermont governor Howard Dean

"Why did George support Obama?" his spokesman, Michael Vachon, asked rhetorically. "Because when they met in Chicago a couple of months ago, it was apparent that Barack Obama was an emerging national leader, and he would be an important addition to the Senate."

Vachon said Obama is the only candidate this election cycle Soros has met personally, with the first powwow in March. Asked why Soros hasn't sought out a meeting with Kerry, the man he is pulling for to defeat President Bush on Nov. 2, Vachon said it was just a matter of Soros keeping his distance.

"George is a major funder of an independent 527 group, and it probably makes more sense for him and Kerry to keep each other at arm's length," Vachon said.

Those meetings with Obama have caught the attention of the Illinois Republican Party, said spokesman Jason Gerwig.

"Barack Obama and his liberal voting record have gotten a free ride," Gerwig said. "His aspirations seemed to be focused more nationally now than they do on Illinois, especially if you look at some of the money he's taken from Soros and from left-coast liberals."

On issues like health care, education, energy and the economy, Obama has articulated defined positions on his campaign website. But on other matters, the candidate hasn't been challenged to say where he stands. Obama's campaign didn't return's calls.

"He's more of a socialist than he is even a Democrat," said a critic, Cathy Santos, co-founder of the Chicago-based Republican Young Professionals. "A lot of his policies have the government taking care of people. Instead of giving people a leg up, he would rather give them a leg."

Soros initially was attracted to Obama because of his vision on education and health care, Vachon said. But Santos said if Obama got his way, the U.S. health care system would be worse than what Clinton proposed after her husband was elected president. She also said voters should be wary of Obama's "any time, anywhere" stance on abortion.

Illinois Republicans have also grown frustrated with the glowing media coverage Obama has received. Three publications, The New York Times, New Republic and The New Yorker, have all written at length about Obama, who is still only a state senator from the Midwest.

"He's turned into being this darling, but he still hasn't had to talk about the issues," Santos said. "No one really knows where he stands on a lot of these issues. Until we have a Senate candidate, if we have one, no one's going to know how liberal he is until he starts casting votes."

Posted by JimD

3:51 PM, Jun 12, 2008

That's an interesting, FOUR-YEAR-OLD hit piece on Obama.
Since then of course, his Senate voting record has not reflected the "socialist" agenda the article predicted, he returned his contributions when Soros was indicted, and the modest loan for his property turned out to be perfectly clean and clear of any association with John Soros directly.

Why post these trite and out-dated editorial predictions that have been discredited by recent history?

Posted by truth

9:34 AM, Jun 24, 2008

GOP is more honest than liberals rebranding themselves as "progressives".

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