Update: The Daily Banter's Tommy Christopher has deduced that the black "Republican" in the video—the one in the cover image above—is actually from a stock photo. As Christopher writes, "Lots of ads use stock photos, of course, but if you are trying to court a group of people you have been aggressively ignoring as a matter of political strategy, you might want to think about finding a real person to be in your ad."
Wednesday's Politico Playbook contained a massive scoop that Mike Allen, uncharacteristically, had buried in the email newsletter: “New effort reminds everyone that Republicans are people, too.”
The blurb noted the launch of a website, RepublicansArePeopleToo.com, that aims to combat the partisan rancor directed at the GOP. In short: to humanize Republicans demonized by the left as women-hating, nature-destroying Fox News addicts. A 97-second video (see below) on the site informs viewers that Republicans do things that you may not associate with conservatives. Examples include:
The site was created by Vinny Minchillo, an ad maker from Plano, Texas, who has also created a Facebook page and Twitter account for the campaign where he encourages his fellow Republicans to post photographs of themselves with signs displaying their supposedly un-Republican characteristics. Such photos, Minchillo hopes, will make it harder for people to demonize the GOP.
“On social media, I’ve been called every name in the book,” Minchillo said. “It’s become socially acceptable to talk about Republicans in the most evil terms possible and that doesn’t seem right. We wanted to do this to really remind people that Republicans are friends, neighbors and do things that maybe you wouldn’t expect them to do.
“People, I’m afraid, think that Republicans spend their days huddling over a boiling cauldron throwing in locks of Ronald Reagan’s hair. … We thought let’s get out there and show who Republicans really are: regular folks interested in making the world a better place.”
If Minchillo doesn’t spend the day performing witchcraft, what does he do? You may remember him from the 2012 presidential election. OK, you probably don’t remember him. He was part of the “Mad Men” team that Mitt Romney put together to sell the candidate to the country. Minchillo claimed back then he "reinvented political advertising." The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan disagreed:"Mr. Romney’s ads are mostly boring. It’s kind of an achievement to be boring at a moment in history like this, so credit where it’s due: That musta taken effort!"
Minchillo is now an executive at Glass House Strategy, a public affairs company that specializes in political campaigns—although, despite the upcoming midterms, Minchillo is not advising any campaigns at the moment. That, he says, makes it the perfect time to start a grassroots campaign to change the Republican Party’s image. And yes, it is a grassroots effort—no Koch money involved.
But what if the Koch brothers did want to get involved?
“I’d just hand it over,” he said.
Minchillo shares many of the same traits as the people in his video. He conserves water and shops at Trader Joe’s. He even reads the New York Times in public, though he doesn’t drive a Prius. In fact, he even has feelings. “I get the feeling that people on the other side of the aisle think Republicans just go home and plug themselves into USB ports at night,” Minchillo said. “[It seems people think] that we don’t have feelings, that we’re not people. You know, we are people.”
But just to be sure, I had to ask: “You don’t plug yourself into a USB port at night, right?”
“I do not in fact,” he said laughing. “Just for the record, I do not.”