Blaise Ingoglia is one of Florida’s more colorful Republican leaders.
On Monday night, he spoke at the Broward Republican Party, often with some provocative rhetoric.
“When people asked me what happened last November, why did we lose. I break it down like this: We got outworked, we got out messaged and we got out organized. And to put it bluntly: we got our clocks cleaned…
“The only way that we can go forward as a party is to look back and identify the things that we are doing wrong, but also have the courage to fix those mistakes. You see the true test of any organization’s strength is not when we win or lose, but it’s how we respond after that loss….”
“Whether you like it or not, Barack Obama has changed the name when it comes to politics. He has changed the game” by using social media and micro-targeting.
“We really should have noticed something from 2008 when a little known senator took on the Clinton machine with his silver tongue and beat the Clinton machine handily….”
In 2012, there were too many winnable elections that Republicans didn’t win, he said. “We got our butts whipped.”
The use of micro-targeting, the assembling of extensive information about voters in an attempt to influence them, meant Democrats and the Obama campaign “know more about you and voters in your precincts in your counties than you would ever know is humanly possible.”
By contrast, “the Republican Party is basically campaigning with VCRs in an iPod world.”
He doesn’t buy the prescription from some quarters that Republicans need to change their message to win elections.
“We have the best message. The Republican Party has the best message that of smaller less intrusive government, less taxes, less regulations, more personal freedoms, a focus on small business, a focus on the family.
“We do not need to change our message. We need to change the way we deliver that message. We in the Republican Party do not have a message problem. We have a marketing problem,” he said, crediting Democrats with “doing a wonderful job of marketing [their] message.”
He doesn’t like the results.
“They are turning this nation into the divided states of America. Pitting one class of voters against another class of voters. White voters versus Hispanic voters versus African-American voters. The 1 percent versus the 99 percent. Men versus women. States versus the federal government. Wall Street versus Main Street. They are marketing this message of utopian society that we will never, ever achieve, and worse yet we will never ever pay for….
“The Democratic message of today is nothing more than a late night infomerical. It’s an emotional buy. Vote for me. And I’m going to give you free cell phones. Voter for me and I’m going to pay your rent or your mortgage payment for you....”
Ingoglia also said an insistence on ideological purity in candidates hurts Republicans.
“We also need to be smart when it comes to elections. It is not good enough that we win primaries. We also have to put up really good candidates that can win the primaries and the general election also. Because if we lose the general election we don’t get anything…. We can’t accomplish anything as a party if we don’t get a Republican elected in the first place. So we need to be really smart when we choose our republican nominees.”
He said most Republicans wouldn’t choose as a nominee someone who raised taxes, supported “amnesty” for people living in the U.S. without permission, and led a labor union. But, he noted, that described former President Ronald Reagan.
Single-issue voters are the “biggest threat” to the Republican Party, he aid.
“We have way too many on our side,” he said. “There were way too many of us who did not show up at the polls. If we showed up at the polls election after election after election, there would be no such thing as a Barack Obama, a Nancy Pelosi, a Harry Reid or a Debbie Wasserman Schultz.”
Mentioning Wasserman Schultz, the Weston congresswoman and chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee – negatively – at a Republican event is a guaranteed crowd pleaser, even more than mentioning the president, former House speaker and Senate majority leader.