The GOP, by its own admission, hasn’t had a world-class charismatic on the bill since Ronald Reagan. While ace Dems like Bill Clinton and Obama sell ideas and palpitate crowds, the top GOP props of late have been thorny wedge issues, not personality. But megawatt personalities like Reagan’s and Obama’s aren’t built on charm alone–it’s also the BIG IDEAS behind the smile. Today the top forum for presenting and spreading the BIG IDEA is the ubiquitous, influential TED Talk. You haven’t seen George W. Bush or Dick Cheney delivering a witty, well-rehearsed 18-minute speech at a TED Conference? That’s because they don’t. (Admittedly here may be a rule against giving a TED Talk from an undisclosed location.) Yet whatever your political leanings, there’s no arguing that the TED Conference is a powerful media enterprise. The videos are downloaded millions of times. Why doesn’t the GOP have its own? Or why doesn’t GOP just crash the TED gates? By Trojan Horse (Zuckerberg?) or public pressure? Because currently only liberal-minded professionals are invited to speak at TED, and they generally get to preach to a choir of other affluent, like-minded liberals.
Just two months ago the GOP distributed its annual report. The “Growth & Opportunity Project” admitted the party’s poor public perception even among their own constituencies. To appeal to more people, the GOP concedes that the idea that “public sharing of information is good.” This is an about-face. Silence isn’t, after further calculation, golden after all. So could a GOP TED Talk be in the works? Clint Eastwood reciting poetry about urban decay with Kid Rock as emcee would make a good start.