Recently several of my more talented 8th Graders were doing reports for "Current Events" in Social Studies. (I teach them Latin.) They wanted to know why the Republicans were not actively - key word, actively - promoting their message, especially on Health Care.
They knew some rudimentary things about the Dem plan, and were skeptical, perhaps repeating some of the skepticism from their parents. But they knew nothing specific about any alternatives from the Republicans. Some had gone to the GOP website, but one said the website was full of sign-up icons and money grubbing. In fact, you have to click through 4 pages to find the 2008 platform page on health care, which is not a very succinct page.
They expected to find - on page 1 - a punchy bullet-point page showing succinctly why NObama's Hell-th Care Disaster is a disaster, and then the Conservative alternative.
No such plan appears there.
They agreed that the Republican plan needed to be easy to understand: a contrast to the 1300 + page monster proposed by the Dems. They also knew that the Dems refused to join the Hell-th Care Plan, which they thought was perhaps the strongest argument against the plan!
SO! Where are the ads from Republicans exposing the Dem hypocrisy? These 8th Graders said that TV shows which young voters watch are devoid of the Republican message. And not just on health care! Where and when will the Republicans hit NObama on e.g. abortion, on immigration, and cutting the military, they wanted to know.
When I mentioned that these things might happen closer to election time, they were unimpressed: they thought it needs to start now. When I mentioned further that people like Rush Limbaugh, etc. were spreading the message every day, they felt that the official party needed to clarify its positions, and not let the job be done through non-official surrogates.
My 8th Graders plan: short, on-target messages with the Facts.
e.g. A 30-second ad with "Fact: Democrats voted against joining their own Health Care Plan. If they want nothing to do with their own plan, why should you?" This should be reinforced with parallel ads on the Internet...and if there is any money left over, in print media.
So GOP: my 8th Graders are expecting you to hire them as advisors!