Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Memes, Themes, and the Democrats

I write as a guy who has worked in sales on and off over the years.

I perceive (I could be wrong here) that there is a meme on the left that is shooting us in the foot. It goes something like this:

"If we get the president to say something really stupid [the shortest wait in history] then, THEN John Q Public will finally wake up to his" (fraud, lies, hidden elitism, whatever). All we have to do is just be RIGHT enough, and everyone will see the light.

That's not the way it works.

You need a consistent message coming from everyone in the party, something like, "The president has consistently miscalculated on [insert issue here]."

"He miscalculated on Iraq, and just look at the mess he's made. He miscalculated on the Budget, and look at the mess he's made. He miscalculated on education, and just look at the mess he's made. He miscalculated on medicare, and look at the mess he's made..."

"Miscalculated...miscalculated...miscalculated...yet another miscalculation...to correct his miscalculation, the truth is that..."

Or maybe use "faulty"...but make it a deafening roar, make it consistent, flood the airwaves...

Reporter: "Senator Kerry, the president has said he's been better on [any, ANY issue]"

Kerry: "Well, given his record of miscalculation, I would ask in return..."

Reporter: "Senator Kennedy, you have criticized the president on [whatever]..."

Kennedy: "Well, given the president's  record of miscalculation..."

Reporter: " Governor [Democrat], what is your position on [some budget question, say]..."

Governor: "Well, given that we have to deal with the financial miscalculations of our current president..."

Local Reporter somewhere: "Congressman Peabody, looks like the rain may soon stop."

Rep. Peabody (D, Anyoldplace): "Hey, given the way the president miscalculates, I wouldn't count on the sun 'til I see it in the sky..."

Choose a [winning] theme, and then let every utterance of our side reflect that theme, loudly and constantly.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Where Have You Gone, Howard Dean?

Howard Dean needs to save Kerry's behind, pronto. Stay with me on this.

Kerry goes up in the polls whenever he acts like Howard Dean (see his recent speech on the Iraq quagmire for an example). The problem: Kerry's not Dean, not by a long shot. He doesn't naturally speak from the heart - he likes to speak in an intellectually nuanced way about the issues of the day, but comes off sounding like that slightly pompous professor who regularly drops the fact that he's professor "Emmeritus" into his lectures.

Nuance is great when you're giving a major policy speech at a prestigious university *when you're president already*.

Campaigns are won by formulating your positions into easy to digest slogans organized around winning themes. They are won by keeping the rhetoric tight and focussed.

Consider this, which I just made up on the spot. "This president's mismanagement of the economy has cost a million jobs so far. If a million more of you want to lose your jobs, by all means vote for the incumbent. If you'd rather just one more guy lose his job, the guy in the white house who did this to you, well, you know how to vote then." See? Simple, memorable lines: "the guy who did this to you" is a line that speaks directly to the voter who either lost his job, or is afraid of losing his job (about 90% of the population?) and shows that you feel his pain, and are not afraid to name names in order to stick up for him. "The president's mismanagement..." assumes as fact what the cause of the listener's problem is, and then the solution is offered: "Send that jerk packing!"

Dean has a gift for this sort of thing: that's why the Republicans were running ads against him in the primaries (remember the "latte-sipping, birkenstocks-wearing" attack ad run in Iowa before the caucuses? That was financed by a Republican group.) They lived in terror that he would get the nomination and run against Bush in the General Election.

"There Are No Words" Department

Read this. One of a universe of reasons I have opposed, and will continue to oppose, the United States' senseless and unjust war in Iraq.

Friday, September 17, 2004

The Phony Populists

There are phony populists out there, mostly operating in the Republican party these days. Ever notice that for all the self-righteous noise they make about abortion, gay marriage, etc., that no progress is ever made, in terms of realistic legislation that has any chance of passing?

Take the recent "partial-birth abortion" legislation. There was no life-of-the-mother exception written into the bill, and I believe this oversight was intentional. Even The Catholic church would disagree with the position that an exception can't be made to save the life of the mother (on the condition that the abortion is an unintended but unavoidable effect of saving the mothers life, as in the case of an ectopic pregnancy.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Juan Cole on dual loyalties

Juan Cole makes some interesting points about the overly-close ties between the Pro-Israel faction in the Pentagon and Israel's Likud Party. Worth a read.

Monday, September 06, 2004

New labor blog

There is a new labor blog I checked out which has some great potential. The current climate is very hostile to union(ists), and we have to get together and ORGANIZE. If you love labor, read and post supportive comments.