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.