Update #2: Welcome Huffington Post readers. We really, really appreciate the hat tip from HP here at the little blog on the prairie. Thank you! [end update].
We knew the National Republican Congressional Committee, its chair Tom Cole, and House minority leader John Boehner were not enjoying Congress like they used to when they had control back in 2006.
And their get-up-and-go had diminished to procedural games and time chewing motions to adjourn. Their gloom was so bad last week, the caucus by and large voted against Motherhood, as the WaPo reported.
Nonetheless, we were alarmed by the slogan for the minority caucus's re-branding campaign, for it directly--though probably inadvertently--addresses the depressed opportunities House Republicans might be feeling of late.
In the New York Times article, House G.O.P. Adopts Change Theme, we learn:
It looks like Republicans will counter the Democratic push for change from the years of the Bush administration with their own pledge to deliver, drum roll please, “the change you deserve.” The first element of the party agenda developed over the past few months by the leadership and select party members will focus on family issues.
“Through our “Change You Deserve” message and through our “American Families Agenda,” House Republicans will continue our efforts to speak directly to an American public looking for leaders who will offer real solutions for the challenges they confront every day,” said the memo prepared for lawmakers.
We think the slogan will only heighten the public's perception that the House Republican caucus needs help. After all, Americans have heard that slogan time and again.
Unfortunately, it wasn't pimped for political discourse, but to market an anti-depressant.
According to Wikipedia, the prescription drug "Venlafaxine is used primarily for the treatment of depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder in adults."
The brand name version, Effexor, is sold by Wyeth, which marketed it using the slogan, "The Change You Deserve™."
According to a December 2007 Alternet article, Are You One of Big Pharma's Lab Animals?, the drug company's ad agency came up with this marketing slant:
Wyeth's ad agency serenaded the nation with the message in its "The Change You Deserve™" campaign that, if we were not enjoying things the way we used to do, if we were lacking in what agencies used to call get-up-and-go, it was time to go on the antidepressant Effexor.
"The Change You Deserve™" was trademarked by Wyeth, so we're wondering if that will be a problem for the NRCC, regardless of the unfortunate analogy between its political fortunes and the genuine suffering that plagues people experiencing depression. Evidence of trademark and the analogy are found in this promotional text sponsored by Wyeth:
The Change You Deserve™
Are these symptoms of depression interfering with your life?
- Not involved with family and friends the way you used to be?
- Low energy, fatigue?
- Not motivated to do the things you once looked forward to doing?
- Not feeling as good as you used to?
If you're experiencing symptoms of depression and you're not where you want to be, talk to your doctor about your treatment options.
We don't intend to make light of depression or any mental illness, for we've known far too many people who have suffered from them; MN-03 Republican congressman Jim Ramstad can retire with well-earned pride for his work on getting the Wellstone Mental Health Parity Act passed.
Nonetheless, using a well-known shrug drug's advertising slogan for rebranding is unfortunate at best. A Freudian slip? Self-sabotage? Who knows. Somehow, we doubt the slogan for a red pill with "W" on it will help the GOP much in November.
Update: read the full memo here.
Wow! This story--though not a direct link--has made it up to the Daily Show's Indecision blog. Jeepers! What can start with an old heifer nibbling her way through her morning reading.