Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Don't trigger the trap

"War on terror? We're talking about Iraq. And in Iraq, the Administration's incompetence, top to bottom, has failed to win the peace we all want. Instead, it has left our brave men and women bleeding there every day."

And, "The American people now know that the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, even if Pres. Bush and Sec. Rumsfeld can't admit it."

Originally a comment on DailyKos.

Thursday, December 9, 2004

Arguments about Howard Dean

Comments in response to this post on DailyKos.

By the way, which one's Pink?
The truth about the blogosphere is that no one ever gets the last word! We just move on to another topic.

In any case, your twenty something posts in an hour and a half suggests that you don't have enough constructive to do, so you came here to pick a fight. Wouldn't that be more fun at your local biker bar?

My bona fides:

  • worked for and contributed to Dean
  • then worked for and contributed (more) to Kerry
  • have been inspired by both, intellectually by Kerry and both intellectually and emotionally by Dean
  • have been inspired by Al Gore since he decided not to run

All three have problems:
  • Al Gore is not a natural politician. His old man was, but "young" Al is too cerebral - great for governing but hard to elect.
  • John Kerry doesn't have the common touch. He has a hard time getting to the heart of the matter inside of the twenty minutes it originally took him to "explain" his position on Iraq. The fact that after a lifetime in politics he didn't understand that he had to fit into two short sentences clinched my support of Dean.
  • Howard Dean scares people. I don't understand this and chalk it up to the herding of the media whores. The more I hear him, the more I like him. But this worries me.

Still, I am damn sure we need something new and different than what we've been doing, and it has to come from outside Washington.

One can't shirk the responsibility of recognizing truth by adding I believe. It is reasonable to say that an opinion based on a falsehood is wrong.

No joke
We have to do just this kind of guerilla marketing to get our message out past the filter of the lapdog media (an insult to lapdogs everywhere!)

Downloadable audio and video. Local access cable. Text messaging trees. Animations that ridicule the Bushists. Anything to put our buzz into the air.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Tactics for the Democratic National Committee

Deliver a strong, simple sound-bite message. Our message doesn't have to be stupid, just succinct. Democrats are strong and fair. Don't say we're smart; be smart.

Go negative on the Republicans, early and with discipline. We don't have to lie or smear. Ridicule is best. Calmly call Bill O'Reilly a bully-boy to his face - tell him he reminds you of that high school kid who played with the eighth graders so he could win every game. Eventually, his head will explode. (Make sure your mouth is not open!)

About going negative: Voters will tell you that they don't like negative campaigning. Maybe. What they really don't like is negative campaigning against their guy!

Democratic political consultants will explain that we need turnout and that negative campaigning is thus bad for us. Bullshit! This was wrong even before the Rove-bots overtook our traditional GOTV advantage.

Going negative works. Voters say they hate it, but y'know, Wisk around the collar beats ring around the collar worked. It irritated viewers, but it was memorable. Going negative is memorable, and that's the purpose of advertising.

Never explain. Never apologize. Apology is blood in the water.

Always fight back. If we won't fight for ourselves, who will we fight for? Make sure that media whores and would-be media whores can't go along to get along. There has to be a price for them if they screw us. (But, sheesh, leave their kids out of it!) We don't have access to grant them, so start with shame. Bob Somerby could use a little help.

Stop accepting the RNC/media framing carried in the bullshit way they name things. Always call 2004's nastiest 527 the Swift Boat Liars. Over and over and over and over again until there's a competing name in the head of every voter who has a television.

Revive class warfare, our most potent weapon.

When Republicans scream bloody murder about it, don't respond that we're just starting to make up for twenty-five years of unremitting Republican class warfare, even though that's true. Deny we're engaging in class warfare by saying, Whoa, there! We're only looking for a fair shake for the middle class. You are the people who won't give it.

They'll keep screaming.

Say, It's a free country. You're entitled to put off-shore corporations first. As far as I can tell, though, they have no loyalty to this country. You've let them avoid even their drastically reduced taxes by opening a P.O. box in the Caymans. They open holding companies to trade with the enemy. You do nothing - I guess the Vice President won't let you. They use the tax incentives you gave them to make even more money by sending jobs overseas. I don't understand how protecting Americans from having their pockets picked by Enron and Halliburton is class warfare. Please explain to me why you think these immoral fatcats are more important than U.S. citizens.

Depending on how bright they are, you may need more of this, but there's an infinite supply. Hope that they are slow learners.

The media will try to call us on class warfare, too. This is good for us. Ask them, Do you make more than $100,000 a year? And have some fact ready, like, The average national cable TV pundit makes $500,000 (not a real fact, but check and cite Parade Magazine), and I know that you're well above average. Smile sweetly and twist the knife. Maybe Cokie and Steve will retire to the lecture circuit and their perfect marriage. If on Hannity and Colmes, proclaim that Fox could use one, just one real liberal.

On a couple of favorite issues: Environment and health care are not going to win for us. I say this as a member of the Sierra Club since 1975 and a believer in the justice and the efficiency of single payer.

We've tried them, and they didn't work. Everyone cares about the environment, but it's a lukewarm caring. If you don't believe me, count SUVs on the way home tonight. Some of them will even have environmental stickers. Environment is a nice-to-have, not a deal-maker.

Everyone wants cheaper and better health care, but most people who vote have something pretty decent. Our complaint that another 16 million (or however many) people are without access to health care is legitimate, but it requires altruism to be decisive with enough voters, and altruism is hardly ever a decisive motivator. Besides, the voters have been thoroughly propagandized to be suspicious of our health care ideas, even good, economical, incremental ones such as Kerry proposed.

Above all, personalize the culture war. Think about what they did to John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill & Hill, Max Cleland, Tom Daschle, Howard Dean, even John McCain, who is one of their own. Yet, somehow, despite the moral failings of Bob Livingston, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Jimmy Swaggart, Bill Bennett, Duhbya, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and others, most of them are still around calling us immoral!

The Republicans have feet of clay. Start breaking pottery. Remember, this is not an argument. It's a street fight.

Originally posted on DailyKos.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Duhbya vs. intelligence

Originally comments on this post on DailyKos.

... many ordinary Soviet citizens figured out that they lived in a system that fed them bullshit daily. Of course, it took decades and millions dead, but they started telling jokes about their leaders.

Our task is to lessen the time and the human cost of unseating the current junta. Ridicule is one of our most potent tools.

Even so, there will always be people who prefer a "strong" leader. Some Georgians still long for Stalin! When Duhbya is out of power, there will still be Americans who long for his "moral clarity" (which in the real world is neither).

These are not people who believe in the kind of open democracy we believe in. They want the elected kingship that Washington refused to accept, not a messy, compromising perpetual negotiation that demands adult levels of patience. (They can believe all the counterfactuals of the PIPA survey because they want to believe that their President has special, parental knowledge that he can't share.)

For Duhbya, personal loyalty is the only requisite - as if he were royalty. Now there's fertile ground for lampooning! Let's get started.

Who appointed the majority of the judiciary? And who owns the press?

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Confirmation of worst fears?

Originally a comment on this post on DailyKos.

Confirmation hearings will tell us whether the Democrats are going to go gently. Gonzales is best qualified for jail or least to serve fascism. Here's my list:

  • Abu Ghraib war crimes
  • Guantanamo - conscious violation of Geneva Conventions
  • cavalier approach to the death penalty in Texas
  • Plame affair questions

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Sounding popular

Originally a comment on this post on DailyKos.

Polls repeatedly show that our policies are more popular than the Republicans'. We just haven't developed the right branding. (By the way, Carville's still aiming too high. What we Dems need is simple branding, not something as windy as a narrative.)

Monday, November 8, 2004

Belting above the belt

Originally a comment on this post on DailyKos.

We've got so much material that we don't have to hit below the belt to win. But we do have to hit. I would have gone negative on Duhbya from the very beginning.

2000 Four dead in Ohio

Originally comments on this post on DailyKos.

... contested Hawaii. He did not contest Illinois because he knew Daley's Chicago shenanigans would only be matched by downstate Republican shenanigans.

Non-partisan issue?
Verifiable voting should be a non-partisan issue, and I'm glad you agree. But why isn't it? Why won't the Republican leadership get serious about it? One small clarification: In 2000, networks called Florida for Gore at about 7:50 p.m. EST, about 10 minutes before the polls closed at 7:00 p.m. CST in the the panhandle. That small amount of EST-centric gun-jumping, while wrong, could only have had a negligible effect on turnout.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

One curse down, one to go

Originally comments on this post on DailyKos.

So Yankee fans are...
... vampires?

Can't see themselves in the mirror?

But seriously, there were Yankee fans in front of me in Fenway at ALCS game 5, and they were all right. Of course, they didn't have the opportunity to gloat, which helped.

There were also obnoxious Sox fans. One drunk guy wanted the Sox to throw at every Yankee. He must have expected to lose anyway. Then there were the screeching sorority girls who only wanted to kill A-Rod. I guess he was too sexy for their shirts.

Still, there's no topping Yankee fans for being the world's worst winners.

I grew up...
... a Cardinals fan, but I don't recall hating the Cubs. Why hate the source of so many wins?

The Mets, though, sure.

Believe this or not: I was in Marlborough, MA, last night before the game for a rally for my state senator. Ted & Vicki Kennedy were the headliners, but the surprise guest was Luis Tiant. After the Senior Senator fired up the faithful, lots of us crowded around El Tiante. One woman proudly showed me her Kerry-Edwards-Red Sox sign, autographed.

That's great, I said, but you should go back and ask him to put a date on it.

Now there's a souvenir!

Then, the Sox won during the totality of a lunar eclipse. If you believe in omens, they are all lining up. Me, I believe in GOTV, and we will win or lose based on what we do between now and Tuesday.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Red Sox an omen?

Originally comments on this post on DailyKos.

Francona's move to Martinez makes no baseball sense except to motivate him - to say, "You're still a stud, and we need you to be a hero."

With Schilling doubtful, we've got to get good things from Pedro, and he's been known once or twice to lose control of his emotions.

Birthrights, etc.
It's that whole birthright thing that makes the rest of the country hate the Yankees ... and Duhbya, too.

But you've gotten over it, so I guess I could, too. The Yankees, that is.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

McCarver and Buck

... used to be good, but lately they've been making me sick. They had only one theme prepared last night - Schilling's ankle tendon - and they hammered at it, as if they've been taking message lessons from the Bush White House. But they hardly noticed Schilling's pain until it was completely obvious. It's amazing that he got out of the third!

I suspect that the real problem with sports telecasts these days is direction. Have you noticed how much more play the back story gets, as if no one really cares about the game!

Originally a comment on DailyKos.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Promotions for Republican frauds

  • Otto Reich
  • Elliot Abrams
  • Ollie North
  • John Poindexter
  • Karl Rove
  • any GOP White House press secretary
  • George Duhbya Bush!!
Originally a comment on this post on DailyKos.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The lapdogs' new clothes

The media lapdogs value entertainment, not truth. Whatever sells ads is what they'll peddle.

When I was a young child, The Emperor's New Clothes rang false to me. No one could be that stupid, could they? Turns out I was wrong. Half the American people report openly in opinion polls that they are that stupid enough to support Duhbya and Darth.

The know-nothing media gives them every excuse not to learn. They lend more credence to the imaginings of manipulative lunatics than to actual considered facts.

But ... when I think it's hopeless, I stop and consider that half of Americans, despite a steady diet of disinformation, still see through the lies and smears of the Republican fog machine.

Originally posted on Eschaton.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Medium is the message

All you have to remember to understand the media is that entertainment values matter much more than news values.

News values are chiefly important so that the media can say "First Amendment" to avoid all accountability.

(Originally a comment on Brad DeLong's blog.)

Monday, April 19, 2004


Originally a comment on Eschaton.

Watergate was 30 years ago, when America really did have independent media. Not a good model for 2004.

Job one for President Kerry is to reverse the media concentration. Otherwise, his win would merely be a rear guard victory in a long retreat.

Even so, at the same time he works to betray their betrayal of the country, Kerry will have to suck up to the press. Nicknames have been done already, but a little high school level flattery should do just as well. If he can't compartmentalize well enough, he'll need proxies.

Tactically, Kerry will need to forestall immediate moves from right-wing media outlets (Fox, Wash Times, WSJ, Rush, Drudge, etc.) to start the death of a thousand cuts. Yes, he needs to manage the press, and that means driving a wedge between the VWRC echo chamber and the lapdogs formerly known as the mainstream media.

The lapdogs are going to continue to put the right's smears into play. Kerry's press operation will have to kill those smears directly or through proxies. The important thing is to catch them while they are small. That means not waiting but instead framing them before they reach the public. This needs to be done in deadly earnest but using humor and ridicule. The end result should be the destruction of the right-wing media's credibility.

The first thing for Kerry to do on Wednesday, Nov. 3, is to talk about how he's going to make his honeymoon period work for America. He should use that exact term. The way this works for him is that he can put a date on it to frame the length of that honeymoon. He should aim high, The previous administration had four years to break the war on terror and the economy. I think it's only fair that I should have until July 4th [or the third anniversary of Sept. 11] to show progress on them.

Then, Kerry should propose some doable steps, some that he can accomplish alone [a ground-up reorg of the FBI (lots and lots of firings), a return to more or less honest accounting for budgets and deficits] and some that he can beat up Congress over [real funding for port security, the end of perverse tax incentives to corporations for sending jobs overseas]. Once he has implemented at least the first set, he can stop talking about his honeymoon but he should continue to expect (that is, demand) fair treatment for as long as he keeps hitting his targets. Oh, and lobster rolls for the press corps would be a good idea from time to time because so many of them are miserable toadies.

If we win the Senate, this will be easier to do. If we win the House, even easier - because the New England three in the Senate Republican caucus can be swayed into a working majority. If we win both houses, hallelujah.

When liberal and moderate groups get out of hand (and it will happen), Kerry needs to stay on target because there are only two issues that matter. He needs to say, I hear you, and I support some of your goals, but I must govern by the priorities of all Americans in contrast to the previous administration. When we have the war on terrorism and the economy back on track, we will consider your longer-term needs. Until then, I can only offer ...

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Cult of personality

Originally two comments here on Eschaton.

It is unfortunate that a key part of modern mass media politics is the cult of personality. You don't think Duhbya "won" in 2000 on policy, do you? More voters make their decision on likability than on ideology, at least more of the persuadable middle.

The Texans have spun Duhbya into a nice guy that everyone would like to have an alcohol-free beer with, but the truth is much different. He's a spoiled, self-entitled, self-righteous, willfully ignorant, mean, cavalier bastard. This story and stories like it dent that likability and are important, sad to say, to whipping his no account butt back to Crawford - for at least as long as it takes for him to sell his vanity ranch.


I want a reason to vote for Kerry but i just can't...

Bring honor and respect back to the White House. It didn't work the first try, but we owe it to ourselves as patriotic Americans to try again.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Without DeLay

If George Soros wants to help, he should hire people to follow Tom DeLay around and collect really juicy oppo. That little martinet belongs in jail, can't you just tell by looking!

Originally a comment on Demagogue.