"Our Karl Rove is the blog you should be glad that Democratic strategists don't seem to listen to"
-- what they're saying on Republican blogs

Friday, June 24, 2005

Rove to Democrats: Fight Rove with Rove


Recently, Karl Rove has been doing some campaigning for this "Permanent Republican Majority" project. We all know this is his project, because he plainly stated it in public.

What does this mean? It means that Karl is the brand manager for the Republican Party, and his job is to ensure that his brand is perceived as superior to that of the competition.

So, it should be of no surprise that he is smearing the Democratic "brand" with lots of rhetoric that paints his competitor as clearly inferior and not worthy of anyone's investment. As a side benefit, he gets the chorus of talk radio and cable news talking heads going bonkers and deflecting from the real serious issues at hand.

Nice move, Karl. I tip my hat to your skill.

However it looks as though Democrats were caught unprepared for these types of remarks. This is a real shame, because Dems should be doing "oppo research" proactively and coming up with these Rovian snipes ahead of time in their own think tanks. If they were doing this due diligence, then they'd already have stock responses to Karl's rantings.

Why Democrats don't see this as a brand management issue is beyond me, because that's exactly what this is. Karl is smearing the Democratic brand, and Democrats appear to have no brand manager to develop messaging strategies to counter.

Actually, they do, it's this site. But the Dems don't really pay enough mind to this advice column, do they?

OK, enough belly-aching about the problem. This site is about solutions, so here we go:

Instead of feining anger over Karl's assertions that Democrats are essentially pussies (sorry, but that's what he's saying), you need to defend your brand by using the coverage he has received for his over-the-top remarks as a messaging conveyor belt for your message you want to get out to the American people:

Talking Points:

Instead of fantasizing about what Democrats would do if in charge, Karl should focus on figuring out how to get Republicans out of the mess this administration has made of Iraq, and at home.

Democrats have a distinguished history in effectively managing wars. What's in question is this administration's ability to manage this war.

If Democrats were in charge, my guess is that we'd already have Bin Ladin. Instead, we have Saddam. Who are you more afraid of?

What you see here is the equivalent of somebody trying to save a sinking ship by blaming the water instead of trying to fix the hull.

(Ideally, Dems would have talking points segmented by "levels of legitimacy" -- where a more spicy talking point may go to Alan Colmes or Howard Dean, and the more statesman rhetoric be delivered by senators and governors. But this is very tactical stuff that I will not go into in this post.)

Notice how the first three talking points strategically insert Democrat brand identification in the response? This is the type of response that is required, because Americans need to begin believing that Democrats aren't just a bunch of sniffling Senator Durbins. They need to believe that Democrats can be trusted with America's difficult national security concerns. They need to believe that Democrats can lead. This means convincing Americans that the Democratic brand is powerful, trustworthy, and represents a vision of the future that Americans believe in.