- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 16, 2010

America, change has arrived. On Wednesday, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine held an event promising a “major announcement about the Democratic Party.” He then unveiled a new logo.

The symbol intended to generate enthusiasm in the burned-out Democratic base is a dark blue circle around a pastel blue capital D, which immediately brings to mind the “down” button on an elevator. Below, the party name appears in United Nations baby blue, and in red-ink red, the slogan “change that matters.” It is one of the most boring and forgettable symbols in political memory.

Rebranding is typically what companies do when sales are down and they’re out of ideas. Style trumps substance. Mr. Kaine attempted to anticipate this argument by pointing out that “some may think: It’s just a logo - it’s just a brand. … [But] ours is a party of ideas and ideals, of policies and people, history and purpose.” According to Mr. Kaine, chief among the accomplishments that matter are the nearly trillion-dollar stimulus package and Obamacare. However, increasing numbers of Democratic incumbents are dropping these talking points from their campaigns because those changes are mostly stoking the opposition.

The new logo didn’t ignite a prairie fire among the grass roots. A post at “Blue Virginia,” one of the blogs recommended on the new Democrats.org website’s blogroll, asked for thoughts on the new party symbol. Responses included “major yawn,” “ugly,” “looks like something out of the 80s,” “how much did we spend on this?” and “Fire Tim Kaine.” There were no positive comments. A search of a dozen other blogs on the list showed no response to the new logo whatever.

Mr. Kaine commented on the dramatic results of Tuesday’s Republican primaries, claiming “the Tea Party basically has the upper hand in the Republican Party, and they are basically telling moderates, ‘We don’t want you here.’ ” Left unsaid was that middle-of-the-road voters are turning their backs on the Democratic Party in droves. The latest Gallup weekly poll shows that President Obama’s approval rating among “pure independents” - those with no party or ideological affiliation - stands at 36 percent, 10 points below the national average.

Mr. Kaine and other commentators focusing on the competitive spirit within the Republican Party hopefully refer to it as a “split” between unelectable radical insurgents and the staid moderate-right GOP establishment. Despite the naysayers, Tea Party-backed Republican candidates continue to befuddle this static analysis by racking up increasingly favorable poll numbers. Rand Paul in Kentucky, Marco Rubio in Florida, Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Ken Buck in Colorado and Sharron Angle in Nevada all have momentum going into the fall campaign season. Salon’s Steve Kornacki was driven to write a pre-emptive explanation of this inexplicable (to liberals) phenomenon by claiming Republicans would probably have won these races anyway, effectively dodging the question of why Democratic candidates cannot gain footing against people they are convinced are extremist kooks.

The answer, of course, is that the real extremists are Mr. Obama and his allies in Congress. What they call “change that matters” has been a historic disaster for America. Voters are massing to bring accountability to a broken system, and the Democrats’ new sleep-inducing logo is unlikely to turn the tide.