Could Pajama Onesies Be the Key to Engaging Young Americans?

dweebIn my column last week, I explained why I didn’t believe it was a smart idea for Republican candidates, in 2014, to present a GOP comprehensive healthcare plan as an alternative to Obamacare. My reasoning was that it would only give the Democrats something to demagogue, and draw some heat off of themselves, much like they did in response to Paul Ryan’s proposed entitlement reforms in 2011.

A guy named “Chuck” posted a response in the comment section underneath my column, agreeing with me but also bringing up some additional points – good ones. He said that by taking the stance I did, I was essentially conceding that Republicans are unable to handle the critical onslaught of Democrats to tarnish Republican ideas. In other words, Republican politicians were too inept to defend their own ideas and sway public opinion to their side, even though they have better solutions.

My intention for this week’s column was to publicly respond to Chuck and tell him that he is absolutely right. I was going to tell him that in addition to the overwhelming liberal media bias that Republicans constantly have working against them, they’re also contending with a Democratic machine that understands the electorate better than they do.

Am I saying that Democrats relate to the electorate better than Republicans? No. But they do understand it better. They understand how short the average American’s attention span has become. They understand how self-centered and unengaged our society largely is. They understand how more and more people today can be played off of adolescent instincts and knee-jerk emotions such as envy. They understand that crying “racism” in the middle of a serious debate immediately ends thoughtful discussion. They understand that people can be led to believe that false rhetoric is true, simply by repeating it often enough.

For such reasons, the Democratic Party has had far more success connecting with voters – especially younger voters – in recent years, and the Republican Party has yet to figure out how to effectively counter that.

That’s what I was going to say to Chuck.

But then last night, I logged into Twitter and found myself aghast at the Obama administration’s latest attempt to try and get young people to enroll in Obamacare.

Tweeted directly from President Obama’s official Twitter account was a new advertisement featuring the image (pictured above) of a young man holding a warm mug in his hand, while creepily clad in onesie-style pajamas – you know, the kind that are typically reserved for children under the age of three. The caption beside him read, “How do you plan to spend the cold days of December? Wear Pajamas. Drink hot chocolate. Talk about getting health insurance.”

One of the initial replies to the tweet came from Fox News’ Brit Hume who comically wrote, “This is real. OMG.”

My sentiments exactly.

The image has drawn a seemingly endless number of hilarious parody images from conservatives over the past 24 hours – many of which are downright genius. But all laughing aside, it seems to me that the advertisement itself speaks far beyond just an ill-advised political strategy. I think it’s representative of the kind of condescension the Democratic machine views Young America with.

They see them as a bunch of dopey, easily-manipulated, overgrown children, and they’re not even being subtle anymore in pandering to them as such. This was a key demographic in helping to get Barack Obama – twice. It’s now a key demographic in the success of Obamacare. Yet, that demographic is recognized by the political party they’ve pledged their loyalty to as essentially a generation of hot chocolate-drinking adolescents, wearing kids’ pajamas and loafing around in their parents’ living rooms. From a Dead Sleep by John A. Daly

As someone who’s in his early 40’s, I admit that I’m not exactly in tune with the mindset of today’s twenty-somethings. But I have to believe that the marketing whizzes behind the pajama ad have helped shed some light on the condescending view the Democratic Party has of this nation’s young people. And if I’m right, I would think that the GOP could find a way to draw attention to such patronage, and perhaps use it to put forth a more substantive message, thus swaying young people over to their way of thinking

My fear, however, is that I’m totally wrong. My fear is that the image of a onesie-wearing weirdo (and others like it) might actually resonate with young people, cause them to disregard what’s in their own best interests, and compel them to act as instructed.

If that’s the case, the GOP might as well throw in the towel right now. The party’s over.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration (Computer Information Systems), and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. He is the author of the Sean Coleman Thriller series. His first novel, "From a Dead Sleep," is available at all major retailers. His second novel, "Blood Trade" is available for pre-order and will be released in Sept. 2015. John lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
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  • gringoviejo

    Just showed my son (23) the picture and caption, and he made this comment, ” ‘cos that’s exactly what Democrat youth are.” (clad in onesies, drinking hot chocolate and talking about getting health insurance)
    But they are of course another of those privileged voter-groups that are exempted – they can stay on their parents’ plan till they turn 26 so right now all they need to do is TALK about getting health insurance, not actually go get it.

    Wheels, that analogy of the bus is great. Hopefully when the Dems throw Mr.O under the bus, the bump will be big enough to “derail” it. The bus needs a new driver and a whole new track.

    And to Kayak, I certainly hope you are right. However, these noisy little stay-at-home non-workers have also been carefully insulated from the sticker-shock of O-care. Only once they get kicked out of home, or turn 26, will they actually discover they are being forced to make a life-long sacrifice for their “political principles”
    But, also hopefully, the lesson the whole working population will learn will be long-lasting – the Dems have certainly laid the groundwork for it to be painful enough to be well-learned, and very wide-spread.

    Now, a couple more suggestions:
    A universal flat tax would pretty much cause a catastrophic recession within the IRS. How many of their politicized functionaries would be out of business?
    Could be a way to make them accountable, bring them under public control.

    And perhaps convert certain departments such as EPA into SOE’s (State-owned-enterprise) which have to pay their own way, but are also subject to normal commercial law. (such as fair-price purchase instead of grab, etc.)
    However, these things will require a sea-change, a political tidal-wave, and once again, hopefully the Dems over-reach really becomes apparent to the young, because to the more mature it already has.

  • Vinny Gugeech

    We already have “Julia” having the government as a husband, this ad shows the further neutering of the American male, grooming them for government slavery. Rich Lowry writes:

    Tocqueville wrote long ago of the infantilizing tendency of such all-encompassing government. “It would be like the authority of a parent,” he wrote in a famous passage, “if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood.” If you wanted to depict what Tocqueville was getting at in one meme, Pajama Boy wouldn’t be such a bad way to do it.

  • gold7406

    looks like ms. fluke’s boy toy.
    after searching for employment for 4 years, he has decide to become an intern for debbie-dnc.

  • Wheels55

    It is all of this and more. i see it like this: Public opinion is like a bus. If you can catch it before lt leaves the bus stop, then you can ride along and maybe get it to stop or even change directions. The Democrats have controlled the bus for a while now and all they have to do is keep it fueled up. Republicans have to stop the public opinion bus and change directions. Not easy unless you are Superman.
    As for our youth, things have not changed in my almost 60 years. Youth with the power to vote may not think about things enough. But step on their toes and they will yell. But they still don’t get Republicans – maybe because Republicans don’t get Republicans. Republicans / conservatives need a unified message (people like unified groups) that seems to solve problems.
    That leads me to another front where the Republicans fall behind Democrats: that is, making up issues so they can offer solutions to these things that are not problems to begin with. Like the “war on women”. The difference is, Republicans don’t need to make stuff up to have issues that need addressing.

    • John Daly

      Your analogy is a good one. The media helps the Dems control the national narrative, and that makes the Republicans’ jobs all that much harder.

      • Wheels55

        So, to further the analogy, it seems that many Democrats are throwing Obama under the bus. I bet he returns the favor later on next year.

    • kayakbob

      Wheels. Good analogy. (Or is it a metaphor?) My sense is slightly different in that I hear them talk about this stuff all the time. “Talk”, not think. It seems that “young people” (a loosely defined term if there ever was one) have not the life experience – yet – to connect the dots. Until it smacks them in the face, or wallet.

      Perhaps the dots are finally being connected.

  • Chuck

    Well, first, thank you for acknowledging my comments. It’s an honor to be part of your editorial. Second, after reading your opinion and subsequent comments, the Republican Party appears to be in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” quandary in their response to the Democrats. I also fear the pajama boy will be ignored as further evidence of ineptitude by this administration, as other situations have been. How can the Republican Party combat this ridiculous advertisement without coming out as biased or waging a war against “pajama boys”; who we all know are cherished, loved and legislatively protected by all liberals? I can’t help but think if there was a joint smoldering on the coffee table, a bigger liberal audience would have been reached. I bet they thought of that for the Colorado/Washington market. Anyhow, with all the incompetence that has occurred in the last 5 years, it is stunning to me that so many people approve of the President’s job. I am not sure how one deals with this type of pathology ingrained in a large part of our society. There may need to be some type of intervention, like they have for alcoholics.

  • RickonhisHarleyJohnson

    John, I’m really scared these days. Not for myself, but for my children and grandchildren. The Democrats do know what ticks with the 20’s and 30’s crowd. Unfortunately, they’re using this to destroy a great republic. They are, in fact, as self-centered as their voters.

    • John Daly

      I can’t disagree. I’d say that my primary motivator for writing for this website is my concern over what kind of country is being left for my kids. The direction we’re headed in is absolutely frightening.

  • Tom

    John, we laughed about the Julia ad too and look what it got us.

    • John Daly

      Very true.

  • cmacrider

    John: Although I recognize the cogency of your argument in which you suggest the Republicans should not present an alternative solution to ACA, I think I have to come down on the other side of the issue.

    The American people have now experienced what happens when Obama’s perceptions bump into reality. They are now, and will in the future months, learn that Obama’s magical world of free or at least cheaper health care is simply an illusion and that illusion is directly affecting their personal life styles.

    If the Republican Party does not have the ability to present and defend an alternative as a Party Policy, then the question arises … do they deserve to survive? If they do not have the skill to predict the “Democratic demoguery” and have in hand an effective rebuttal …. do they deserve to be elected?

    Sooner or later, politicians owe it to the electorate to find solutions to political problems. Presumably, that is why they were elected in the first instance. I think a substantial plurality of Americans are looking for solutions to the problem foisted upon them by an ideological socialist. Its high time the Republicans stepped up to the plate and started showing they can hit the ball. McCain and his crew have for the last decade been hoping to get a base on balls … and obviously that strategy didn’t work.

    • John Daly

      Oh, I absolutely do want them to have a plan, and to implement that plan if they gain control of both houses. I just don’t think they should campaign on that plan.

  • KStrett

    I think it is clear that the Obama administration wants to shift the burden to the republicans so they be in a offensive position. They want to change the narrative from Obama-care is a disaster to attacking any plan the republicans offer. Obviously, this would be a mistake.

    The correct response is the pre-Obama-care system is better than Obama-care.

    Would anyone be surprised if the coco drinking flannel onesie kid had his feet propped up on a dead body?

    • John Daly

      Creepy looking fellow for sure.

  • Paul Courtney

    John: As someone in his mid fifties who never grew up, I am, like, so in tune with my dudes and, like, whatever. And I’m SOOO down with the hot chocolate my Mom makes to wash down the ritalin. And I thought, hey, I could be down with health care, too, ’til I tried! The web site was, like, totally gnarly, probably invented by the kid who reminded the teacher she forgot to give us homework!! I got through and found, whoa, this costs more than hot chocolate at, like, Starbucks!!! I blew it off, then Mom said she THOUGHT she could cover me ’til I’m 26 (like, who lives that long?) but she got canceled!!!! Whoa, this could be, like, a conspiracy. Who would want to get me to buy insurance and cancel Mom??

  • kayakbob

    Thanks John. As someone in his 50’s, I find such notions as this latest White House PR campaign perhaps 20% more pathetic and funny than you do.

    But then again, I thought the ‘Life of Julia’ campaign expressed an embarrassing indictment of what the Obama Administration really thinks about the average citizen, and the supposed target – women specifically. And yet, the President was re-elected.

    So it could be argued the ‘Life of Julia’ PR campaign worked.

    • John Daly

      Good comparison! I should have worked the Life of Julia into my column. Very similar, really.

      • kayakbob

        Frankly, I am not sure which is more distressing to me:

        That someone of some level of decision making in this Administration came up with this idea.

        Or that someone above then reviewed it, gave feedback, reviewed the edits, then gave it the thumbs up!

        Or the people that will respond positively (for lack of better term) to it.

      • kayakbob

        John, perusing the mocking commentary of this ‘Onesie boy’ campaign elsewhere, I read something that might explain the thinking behind this PR ad: ‘onesie boy’ was a Leonard look-alike from ‘Big Bang Theory’ that went horribly wrong.

        The Leonard character is a very likeable guy, and the implied message was suppose to be: really smart people sign up for Obamacare.

        Instead ‘onesie boy’ is just this very metro-kind of kid that I wouldn’t take advice from on any subject, much less something as far reaching as Obamacare.