"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

Monday, November 14, 2005

Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?

Democratic Leadership,

Well, the Republicans have answered this time-tested question - the function of the conjunction junction is to merge multiple ideas into a single, misleading one. The conjunction of ideas has been at the backbone of the modern Republican party communications strategy.

Even though they're low in the polls right now, that doesn't mean that their communication strategy doesn't matter. It does. Here are some functions of their conjunction junctions:

  • + Over 30,000 Iraqi deaths
    + Over 2,000 American deaths
    + Drawing the ire of the world
    + Bin Laden is still out there
    + al Q'aida is growing and expanding
    = The World is Better Without Saddam

  • + Democrats voted for the war resolution
    + Saddam had WMDs a decade ago
    + Saddam was Evil
    = Don't Blame Us for the Iraq War Fiasco

  • + Democrats saw the same bad intelligence
    + France had same bad intelligence
    + Only the U.S. interpreted this intel - good or bad - as an
        imminent threat
    + Cheney lying on Meet the Press about not knowing about
        Joe Wilson
    + White House smearing any intel challenging the imminent
        threat assessment
    = Don't Accuse Us of Manipulating Pre-War

  • + We didn't give the weapon inspectors enough time
    + Misleading Americans about links between Iraq and 9/11
    + Creating mass mistrust and fear in the world through
        abusing power
    = The Lesson We Learned from 9/11 is to Strike
        Before We're Attacked

[Feel free to add your own conjunction functions in the comments section below.]

Using conjunctions like these, the Republicans are able to deflect and redirect almost any conversation. Their trick: when approached with a fact (the facts are before the "="), they can land on a catchphrase (after the "=") that alludes to the facts in that function, but sums up exactly none of the facts in that function. (You might want to read that last sentence again)

You need to start getting better at deconstructing these conjunctions instead of leaving debates flabbergasted. If you don't expose this trickery, you are doing the American people a disservice -- if Americans are misled by the manipulation through conjunction functions, they'll unknowingly be supporting hidden agendas.

Start deconstructing these conjunctions that the Republicans unleash regularly. Some examples to get the juices flowing:

The World is Better Without Saddam:
That's like saying the world would be better if we eradicated near-sightedness when we have more important problems like cancer to deal with. Would the world be better off without near-sightedness? Of course. But, how much better off, and at what price? If we eradicated near-sightedness but let over 2,000 Americans and our allies die of cancer as a result of that singular focus on near-sightedness, would it be the right decision? Would it be the right priority? Would it be worth losing our own citizens and alienating our allies in cancer-fighting to eliminate the "near-sighted" threat? Most reasonable people would question this type of decision making. And these same people are questioning the leadership of our President for going after the "near-sightedness" of American enemies instead of focusing on the real, serious security threats that we face. The "cancer" of our enemies is al Q'aida, not Saddam.

Don't Blame Us for the Iraq War Fiasco:
It doesn't matter who else voted for the resolution, nor does it matter which foreign country agreed with your pre-war intelligence. The decision to go to war with Iraq was the calculated decision of the President of the United States. That's his job alone - in war, the buck stops with the Commander-in-Chief. He utilized the anger and fear generated by 9/11 to go after an old enemy, and he manipulated his case and facts to fit his pre-determined military goal. Democrats are not rewriting history - Democrats are just coming to understand that they were intentionally misled by an administration in a time of war in a matter of national security, which is treasonous.

Don't Accuse Us of Manipulating Pre-War Intelligence:
If Democrats saw what this administration did with the intelligence to sell it, not only would they have not supported the war resolution, but they would have called for investigations immediately on the abuse of executive power. Let's also keep in mind that even if everyone had the "same bad intelligence" (including France and Germany), only one administration determined that the threat was imminent, and manipulated the intelligence to make it seem that the threat was imminent. This is about priorities, and this administration was unique in the world in its prioritization of Saddam over al Q'aida.

The Lesson We Learned from 9/11 is to Strike Before We're Attacked:
Oh yes, the Bush Doctrine, which states that American must preemptively strike back at old enemies after new, more dangerous enemies attack us first. That's not only reactive, it's also a petty - and quite frankly, pathetic - foreign policy for our great nation. A real 9/11 doctrine would guide us through this new world of global warfare: explaining that war has evolved beyond country-to-country battles and has given way to loosely-connected networks of enraged extremists around the world. This new wave of warfare needs to be dealt with by joining forces with our allies that share our values around the world. It would go on to explain that together, this global alliance would have the military, intelligence, and moral force to stamp out extremism wherever in the world it creeps up.

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