I Like My GOPizza With More Than Just Humility and a Little Cheese

Tonight, after I get home from work, and even in the face of some pretty tight new year resolutions, my family will be having pizza for dinner.  And no, we will not be getting it from the fantastic little pizza shop about 200 yards from our front door; we’ll be getting it from Domino’s.

In truth, I’m a pizza snob.  Some of the best I’ve ever had came from [the original] Ray’s in New York City and, surprisingly enough, a little joint named Peppino’s in Clemson, South Carolina.  Throughout my life, whenever I moved into a new place, I’d stage an informal tournament between area shops.  When we settled in Delaware County in 2004, we got lucky with a great one within striking distance with a four iron.  Hence the need for the pretty tight new year resolutions.

Generally speaking, I’ve avoided the big pizza chains like the plague.  They’re all the same, they all skimp on the good stuff, and frankly I’d rather support the neighborhood guy trying to put his kids through college.  The other night, however, I caught a commercial for Domino’s Pizza.  It looked like a shorter version of this:

I liked it.  I was shocked, honestly.  I’ve always tried to make it a personal practice to acknowledge when I’ve screwed the proverbial pooch in my own life, and I was impressed with the humility and accountability I was seeing from this giant pizza conglomerate, which last sought to attract new business by expanding their menu into chicken wings and toasted sandwiches.  For me, a little accountability goes a long way.

Besides impressing me, the commercial made me hungry.  Hence, again, the need for those pretty tight new year resolutions. It did not, however, make me think of politics.  Imagine that.

The Domino’s Pizza commercial made Liberal Fascism author and National Review Online contributor Jonah Goldberg think of it, however, which could explain why he is both more successful and more svelte than I am.  In a commentary released yesterday, Goldberg equates the come-to-Jesus moment experienced by the folks at Domino’s Pizza with what needs to happen within the Republican Party.

Republicans are a bit like the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Americans were sick of Bush and the Republicans back then, so they threw their support behind the Democrats by default. The Democrats over-read this support as a sweeping mandate for their agenda. This has given the GOP an opportunity many Republicans feared just a year ago might not come for a generation.

Now comes the hard part: seizing the opportunity. If I were giving my two cents — and whaddya know? I am! — I’d tell the GOP to look not to Reagan in 1980 or Gingrich in 1994, as so many pundits suggest.

I’d look to Domino’s in 2010.

Obviously, the analogy to the GOP isn’t perfect. For example, last I checked, Domino’s didn’t get bogged down in an unpopular war.

But the GOP’s troubles over the last decade have a lot to do with the fact that Americans didn’t stop liking what the Republican Party is supposed to deliver. They stopped liking what the GOP actually delivered.

As a conservative who cares more about policies than partisan success, I would hate to see the GOP abandon conservative policies in order to be more popular. That would be like Domino’s listening to critics and then deciding to get into the Chinese food business. Indeed, by my lights, that’s what George W. Bush tried to do with his “compassionate conservatism.” He surrendered to liberal arguments about the role, size and scope of government on too many fronts.

And he’s right, though I’d like to toss the dough up in the air and expand the pizza analogy a little bit.  If Domino’s truly wants to reinvent itself and come out of its six straight quarters of declining revenue as the pizza chain that delivers the best-tasting pizza, its inspiration should be the smaller neighborhood shops that folks like me frequent, and taking what those shops do well and doing that on a national level.  The reason Peppino’s Pizza down in Clemson was so darned good–and presumably still is–is largely because of the sauce, which is painstakingly made from scratch a relatively short period of time before being spread onto dough, covered with cheese and baked in an oven.  For Domino’s to have the exceptional product that Peppino’s puts out, it could adopt such a practice, or some incarnation of it.  Of course, there are cost and supply concerns in doing that, but addressing those in the context of a political analogy would be spreading the dough and expanding that analogy to the point of breakage.

The point is, it’s one thing for the Republican Party to conjure up some humility and accountability and, like Domino’s Pizza, admit that they’ve screwed up and lost their way.  It’s another thing to come out of the reinvention as the best option in the marketplace.  Just as a truly committed Domino’s Pizza should draw its inspiration from what the corner pizza joints are doing right, if the GOP wants to emerge from a year of introspection and reinvention as the party of the future of a free America, it should draw its inspiration from what works in the small businesses and kitchen tables of mainstream America.  Less government intervention.  A borderline obsessive-compulsive drive to reduce costs.  A balanced budget.  When it comes to the Republican Party reinventing itself, sauce from a can or plastic bag isn’t going to cut it — the GOP must do the hard work, do what might not be convenient, and run away from the trappings of political convenience.

Tonight, I’ll know what we’ve gotten from Domino’s the second I sink my teeth into a slice.  Holding themselves accountable for lost focus and prior problems is great, but if the pizza doesn’t taste good, I’m going back to the store on the corner next Friday.  The Democrats held power in Washington, D.C. for decades, while the Republicans held sway for only twelve years.  They lost their majority because they lost their way.  And while America might be ready to give them another shot because, like Domino’s Pizza, they acknowledge previous failures, if what comes out of the oven eventually doesn’t bring smiles to the faces of normal, everyday Americans, any revitalization will be short lived.

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Comments

  1. Boston Blackie says:

    Sadly, I am unable to watch videos at work (their feeling is that I SHOULD be working not watching YouTube)so I will have to wait until I get home to see the commercial but you know how jaded I am. I had Domino’s only once, 20 years ago during a bad snow storm. They delivered and I wasn’t going out. I didn’t need to get fooled by them again.
    Jeff, Let us know what you think of the pizza after tonight. I can direct you to some great THIN CRUST authentic Italian pizza here in Boston(none of that faux pan pizza from Chicago).
    Like the GOP – I don’t believe the hype. Actions, or in this case sauce, speak louder than words.

  2. Chris says:

    My wife is allergic to products that contain yeast so every Friday I make a pizza crust from sourdough starter. It’s an awesome pie. When I saw the Dominos commercial I immediately wanted to try it being the foody that I am. Papa Johns was pretty good when it first opened but they’ve changed it too much over the years and it’s just not good anymore. I am with you Jeff in hitting up the local mom-and-pop joint for some good Italian. Nothing beats it.

  3. Lilly says:

    Hum, I don’t think there are any Domino’s left in our area but now I’m hungry! Hey Boston, watch the Chicago pizza remarks, I LOVE Gino’s East stuffed pizzas! ;-) But where we live there are only 2 pizza places willing to deliver, both in the small town a little ways away and small businesses. Anna’s has great carnivore pizzas! Point of the article was actually a very good one!

  4. Boston Blackie says:

    Hey Lilly,
    Not for nothing, but where I come from pizza is not eaten with a knife and fork. Deep dish pizza has a place at the table, just not mine. Pizza is meant to be thin crusted. You fold then you lean and enjoy :)
    I must admit, watching the video made me crave pizza so I just ordered one but not from Domino’s. I’ll wait to hear Jeff’s review.

  5. HonestAmerican says:

    For some reason this article reminds me of

    MORNING AT THE WHITE HOUSE

    http://bit.ly/59spr8

  6. William A. Rose says:

    Papa John’s!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m biased though. Many years ago, I managed a few stores. I liked the pizza. And I even let my baby girl (about 4 years old) put the mushrooms on one for us.

    I still like the pizza – but only from a corporate store. The franchisees seem to do things differently. It is just not as good.

    Papa John’s RULES!!!!!!!!

  7. Steve Clark says:

    It’s 10:53, I’m in bed reading blogs. Now I’m hungry for pizza. Damn!

  8. Am I the only one that feels jilted by the “to be continued”? ;-) I’m totaly curious how Adrien (sp?) liked the pizza. And Jeff, I’m curious about how you liked your pizza last night. I had their pizza a week ago and thought it was quite tasty. I’ve always liked Domino’s….and Papa Johns, and Little Ceasar’s, and Sbarro’s, etc. I just really like pizza that I generally don’t care where it comes from.

    LOVED the analogy with the GOP. Brilliant.

  9. chuck says:

    Jeff,

    I see you lived in PA and attended a NJ University. I hope you paid out of state tuition.

    Chuck

  10. Pizza Party says:

    Both these parties ‘pale in’ comparison to what Sarah sees for this country.
    Home grown common sense wins my vote, no matter the ‘party’.
    Executive, budgetary and leadership experience (my kind of toppings).

    Can we please quit nominating simple legislators? (especially fresh teleprompter addicted ones)

  11. Anonymous says:

    Here is an ‘ingredient’ this presidents handlers need to change real quick. That ‘speech’ to the American people the other day, was an embarrassment. All he did was read from a teleprompter, no emotion, no feeling, never looking straight ahead into the ‘eyes’ of the American people. If you happened to have had the volume down you would have thought you were watching him watch a Serena and Venus Williams tennis match. SAD SAD SAD

    Teach this guy some public speaking.

  12. what U-C-is not what U-get? says:

    Republicans are a bit like the Democrats in 2006 and 2008. Americans were sick of Bush and the Republicans back then, so they threw their support behind the Democrats by default.
    ===========================================
    my take is that a whole lot of people in the street is just a whole lot of people in the street. i really feel there was much fraud in this election even though a big enough deal wasnt made of it.

    i feel convinced that when many pepole got a whiff of who obama really was that they did not vote for him. but you know when you put thousands of people
    in one area at one time (paid off or not) supporting a particular it gives the viewing audience a perception of a real win.

    i was told and i have not confirmed but that the one to be credited is Oprah Winfrey’s boyfriend Steadman who was behind the P.R. or at least i am told he was directly involved.

    for example, the many times obama showed up in places just about every one was scheduled around a concert of some kind in that particular City, including his “big” party in Europe. this p.r. guy wisely sought out Concerts where he knew a certain crowd would be and tied it in with obama’s appearances.

  13. what U-C-is not what U-get? says:

    i also think democrats laid the groundwork to put Bush in a negative light and they were working on it for a long time and quite diligently. not to say there were not some faults with Bush, but he was not the poor president he was made out to be in the minds of Republicans and democrats, imo. and right now i would give a million barack obamas for one george bush.

  14. 2010, 2012 says:

    “ENZONE DANCE” – luve it!

    SOMETIMES you can do
    everything the same and very many people are not aware
    that the fault could be in the quality of the flour, the sauce
    etc., in other words your old suppliers might have switched how
    THEY prepare their products and consequently leads to altering your
    recipe.

  15. YIKES! says:

    and now here’s a real stomach turner:

    “Rep. Christine Johnson(DEMOCRAT) will serve an additional role when the Utah Legislature convenes this month. The lesbian lawmaker announced she’s a surrogate mother, carrying a baby for two gay men.”

    so once we start down this slime-hill what’s next?
    two gay men pretending to be married to each other
    having surrogates give birth to young boys they can
    molest?

    if only we take the words of God seriously.
    there is a reason same sex is frowned upon in the Bible.

  16. domin9os falling into place says:

    by the way i like the pizza-GOP analysis.
    i’m encouraged with many republican leaders who from time to time are heard on interviews saying they got off track as a party (havent heard any individual accepting any direct blame however).

    i do think the party is on its way back to conservative values and fully realize it is what their supporters want.

  17. JAN says:

    We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them. – Abigail Adams

  18. Gail B. says:

    Domino’s Pizza isn’t open at 1:30 a.m., but dang!–I’m hungry now!

    Good analogy! Thanks!

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