After two years as South Carolina’s 4th District congressman, Rep. Trey Gowdy has a clearer focus on how Washington politics work and the importance of the power and skill to persuade. Although a member of the GOP majority in the House, Gowdy, in a recent interview with Greenwood affiliate WCRS, said in his view the rising stars in the Republican Party are in the Senate:Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio of Florida.
While not mentioning House Speaker John Boehner by name, Gowdy did say GOP leadership in the House needs to develop better communication skills.
“The folks in leadership have some good qualities, but being great communicators is not one of them. You can have the best idea in the world, and you can be the smartest person in the world, but if you can’t convince people of it, then you’re not going to go very far,” Gowdy said.
Coming off the November election in which Democrat Barack Obama was re-elected president, a number of Republicans and political pundits have said the GOP needs to radically change its message in order to be more successful in national elections. Gowdy is not one of them. Gowdy says Republicans simply need to be developing better skills to communicate and persuade.
“Does our message need to change? I’m not convinced that it does. I think our tone needs to change and the way we seek to persuade people.”
In Gowdy’s view, President Barack Obama did little in his first term, but he won re-election because his likable, charismatic style remained attractive to voters. Also his campaign was able to successfully vilify his opponent Mitt Romney.
Gowdy says Republicans need to rid themselves of the harsh rhetoric and negative tone, while being more sensitive to the views of those that may disagree with them.
“How do you persuade? You do it with facts, a relationship, authenticity, sincerity. You don’t do it by insulting people,” he offered.
Gowdy says he and other GOP members have to do a better job in convincing voters in the middle, not in a personal way but in a fact-centric way, that their conservative policies are the best for the country.
From a personal standpoint, Gowdy says he is focusing on modifying his communication skills in order to better get his message across to voters.
“I need to be more persuasive when I’m on interviews like this one, when I’m back home, When I’m on CNN or Fox News, I need to be speaking in a way that is calculated to persuade people that our path is best for them.”
Anne Eller, WCRS Greenwood contributed to the story.