Book: GOP Needs to Embrace the Pop Culture Presidency

Republican candidates should go on ESPN and Bravo, says GOP strategist.

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President Barack Obama appears on the ABC daytime television talk show, 'The View' in New York, July 28, 2010, alongside hosts (L-R) Barbara Walters, Joy Behar, Sherri Shepherd and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
President Barack Obama during a 2010 appearance on 'The View.' A new book argues that politicians, especially Republicans, should step outside of their political comfort zones.

Republicans need to stop sniveling about President Obama's pop culture presidency and book themselves on ESPN and Bravo to fight back, says GOP strategist Ford O'Connell in his new book "Hail Mary."

[READ: Pop Culture's Place in the Oval Office]

O'Connell argues that the current POTUS understands the "TMZ/ESPN/HBO society" better than most Republicans. "It's a little worse than that, actually," writes O'Connell. "Republicans mock Obama for his television and cultural savvy rather than trying to learn from him."

The new book -- which hit Amazon Tuesday -- uses football analogies (hence the title, "Hail Mary") and a little tough love to offer the GOP a winning playbook for the White House in 2016. O'Connell, a U.S. News opinion contributor, explained that Republicans need to remember that not every American is constantly tuned into politics. "People are not narcissists like politicians who wake up in the morning and read the Washington Post op-ed page -- they don't do that, they don't watch, 'Morning Joe,'" O'Connell told Whispers. "Where are they? They're watching Bravo -- you've got to go where the eyeballs are."

So what shows should Grand Old Party candidates - do? O'Connell first suggested something sports-related. "Let me tell you, if I could get them on ESPN, to basically do a college football Saturday selection show -- that would be fantastic," he said.

[PHOTOS: A History of Presidents on T.V.]

"A March Madness bracket is another good one." Additionally, talk shows, cooking shows and places like the "Daily Show," "The Colbert Report" and "Watch What Happens Live," where millennials are getting their news. "I'm not exactly suggesting that [Republicans] go on 'America's Funniest Videos' and make some goofy videos, though some of them with their gaffes might qualify," O'Connell laughed.

And that's the other thing, in an era where one misstep can go viral, O'Connell suggests that familiarity with a candidate, outside the political world, can shield pols from political ruin. "These days if you get a gif from someone's gaffe, that's far more damaging than anything else," he said. "It doesn't matter how perfectly articulated your policy positions are, if people don't feel a warm personal appeal to you," he concluded.

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