You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

Republicans' Message Nightmare

Poor NRCC head Tom Cole is catching the brunt of the flak for the GOP meltdown in the House, but when I heard the party lifted their new slogan from the antidepressant Effexor -- the painfully banal and self-help-y "The Change You Deserve" -- I thought instantly of John Boehner. I did a feature on Boehner about a year ago, and found that his approach to leading the House GOP -- and to rebranding the party in general -- was essentially to boost self-esteem:

Boehner's smile reminded me of the grin he debuted about a month after he took over as House majority leader for Tom DeLay in 2006. The election polls were looking awful, and the Samarra mosque bombing was drawing attention to difficulties in Iraq. "I was letting all of this stress get to me," he recalls. "So, one day, in about the middle of March, I got up and told myself, 'Today, no matter what happens, I'm going to smile all day long.'" Smiling -- even if you're faking it -- releases endorphins, the brain's happy chemicals. The trick seems to have worked. "I've never had a bad day since!" Boehner chortles.

And indeed, "The Change You Deserve" came from Boehner and Republican Conference Chairman Adam Putnam; apparently they barrelled ahead with the slogan rollout even after somebody informed them it was a line used to market an antidepressant. 

--Eve Fairbanks