"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

Saturday, October 28, 2006

It's Crunch Time: OKR Talking Points for Tight Races

Democrats running for elections in key states,

Here is the current electorate forecast: A large -- but weak -- progressive front has blanketed the nation due to scattered policy failures (the Iraq war, the national debt, Republican scandals), and a veritable downpour of books poking holes in the Republican brand. Yet, patches of conservatism and regression are breaking through whenever intolerance, fear, or greed are made the topic of conversation.

What should Democratic candidates wear based on this forecast? They should slip into tight-fitting topics like... an endless Iraq war, an endless national debt, endless Republican scandals, all while reciting excerpts from the seemingly endless supply of highly credible books that discredit this Republican-lead government.

Talking Points For All Candidates Running against Incumbents

  • My Republican opponent has stayed the course with George Bush and ignored your concerns, your families, and your well-being.
  • My Republican opponent shares George Bush's, Dick Cheney's, and Donald Rumsfeld's values of endless wars, endless spending, and endless corruption.
  • My Republican opponent is a part of the most disrespected Congress this country has ever seen. It's time for new blood -- I am that new blood.
  • I'm running to put an end to the endless war, the endless spending, and endless corruption. If you want an end to the madness that has taken over Washington, then give me and my party a chance to change the course.
  • My opponent has said XYZ about me. Of course it's not true, but what do you expect from an administration that -- according to Bob Woodward -- is in a State of Denial?
  • My Republican opponent says he shares your values. You should ask yourself... what values? The values of endless war? Or maybe the values of deepening debt? Or maybe the values of reduced privacy? Or maybe it's the values of oil companies?
Talking Points For Harold Ford, Jr.

Ford is being attacked with "dog whistle" race-baiting tactics by the Corker campaign. The Democratic response has essentially been "they must be desperate to release such attacks on Ford." This is fine and tactical, but it's purely political in nature. It doesn't address the moral incorrectness of the Republicans -- and it gives them an undeserved moral free pass. Prepare a more disruptive and effective response:

"Now that people have seen the Republican attack ads on TV, Tennesseans can now clearly see their choice in front of them: vote for a Republican candidate that talks about values yet is indecent and morally bankrupt... or vote for Harold Ford Jr., who represents a candidate who walks the walk and talks the talk of our American Values. If Harold Ford wins this race, his win represents a new hope for all Tennesseans. A Ford win means: no matter what your roots, you, too, can succeed in Tennessee. When Ford Wins, Tennesseans Win."

This approach subtly calls out Republican racism as moral corruption, transforms racism into hope, and turns an attack into a political asset.

Talking Points For Jim Webb

Beating George Allen should be easy. He made his bed -- you just have to show the voters where it is...
  • George Allen is part of the problem in Washington.
  • Voting for George Allen is like voting for George Bush.
  • Endless war, endless debt, endless corruption. Endless problems, brought to you by Republicans like George Allen.
  • This is not about George Allen's racism or heritage. This is about bringing a change to Washington.
  • George Allen represents a blank check and rubber stamp for the endless mistakes of the Bush administration.
  • George Allen is about the past. Jim Webb is about the future.
  • George Allen is desperate to win. Do you really want to vote for a desperate Senator?
  • George Allen: Nice enough guy, but wrong on just about everything.
The trick is to keep it simple, stay on the attack, and stick to proven topics that benefit Democrats this fall.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Democrats - The Party of American Values


Conventional wisdom dictates that Republicans appeal to the "values voters." And while this is a fallacy (everyone has values -- just some different from others), solving this problem is a long-term challenge. The good news is that, thanks to the Congressman Foley incident, voters are now being reminded that Republicans are just normal people who happen to be good at pretending to be morally superior just long enough to be elected. By pretending to be people they're not, it was just a matter of time before charges of hypocrisy tainted the Republican brand. In fact, Foley damaged the Republican's "family values" product much like Iraq has tarnished the Republican's "foreign policy" product. This makes the political environment even more primed for a Democratic upheaval this fall.

But there are two good reasons to continue to be aggressive and innovative in your messaging in the final weeks before the election:

  1. Don't just win - win with a mandate
  2. Use your lead to invest in the future of the party

To continue to invest in yourselves and your party's brand, take ownership of -- and pride in -- the values that you do represent. No, this is not "spinning" Republican values. And, no, this is not about trying to pretend you're Republicans by sounding like them. This is about the genuine portrayal of the unique and specific values that you, Democrats, bring to the table as representatives and as a party.

Communicating Democratic American Values

  • The Rule of Law - Democrats promise to fight terror and corrupt ideologies by using our proud American history of abiding and respecting our laws and institutions
  • Ethics - Democrats promise to put the teeth back into the Ethics Committee in Congress
  • Governing Globally - Democrats will focus on getting the world back on our side
  • Fiscal Conservatism - Democrats promise to reduce the debt by striking the right balance between streamlining government spending and closing tax loopholes
  • Fix Iraq - Democrats will put an end to the faulty Republican-managed war, and begin a support & rebuild strategy. We don't need more war to fix Iraq. We need better solutions from a better party.
  • Directly engage America's enemies - Democrats will press this administration to engage in direct dialogs with North Korea and Iran. To their face. In their face. Set ultimatums. For some reason, Republicans are apparently too scared to work with "evil" directly. And now it's costing us big-time.

Yes, these values are different than the values most people talk about in politics. Just because these are not so-called "family values" doesn't mean that they're not values. In other words, it's time to embrace-and-extend the "values" political tool to your advantage.

Democrats Have American Values - Now go tell voters about them.

Special Note: To be sure, there are even more Democratic values that can be communicated effectively to help communicate your party's value proposition. If you are running for office, and would like to bounce messaging ideas off of Our Karl Rove that might work in your specific region, please feel free to contact us directly for messaging support.