"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

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Republicans Certainly Can Talk, But Do They Walk?

Democrats,

As Senator Larry Craigslist of problems continues to grow, you can and should use this story as the catalyst to kick off a campaign to support the Republican's determination to flush their own party's brand down the toilet.

For those who think politics should be about taking the high ground, it's not evil or wrong to point out things about your competition to sway hearts and minds. In fact, I assert that it's your primary job to explain to voters the differences between Democrats and Republicans: In this case, Democrats represent the brand that is tolerant and honest about sexual orientation, whereas Republicans are proving to be the opposite of who they say they are, and stand for things that they don't believe in.

Which brings to mind the word hypocrisy. The trouble is, we throw around the word hypocrisy a lot in our culture, so simply deploying this term won't raise any eyebrows by itself. Instead, we need to use hypocrisy as the means to a messaging ends.

But before we get to the talking points, let's do some up-front work to establish a pattern of Republican-style hypocrisy:

Many Republicans who claim to be...

  • "Pro-heterosexual" are starting to be exposed as sexually deviant
  • "Pro-military" have never served themselves, nor encourage their children to serve
  • "Pro-family" values have had multiple divorces
  • "G*d-fearing" exert behaviors that go directly against the teachings in the Bible
  • "Pro-life" are also "pro-death penalty."
  • "Anti-immigration" are also pro-business - the same businesses that profit from employing illegal immigrants
  • "Anti-tax" still support expensive government programs like Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security
  • "Pro-America" yet think the Government wiretapping everyone without a warrant is still "America."
So, what do we learn from this? We learn that (most)...
  • Republicans Prefer Hypocrisy to Democracy
  • Republicans Talk the Talk, but Don't Walk the Walk
  • Republicans Talk a Good Game, but Place the Wrong Bets
  • Republicans Think They Represent Conservatives, but Actually Represent Extremists and Deviants
  • Republicans Seem to Need to Hide from the Truth in the Land of Liberty
and, the grand finale... Many Republicans Just Aren't Who They Say They Are

This applies as much to Toilet-Patrol Larry as it does to Mit "I'm pro and/or/maybe against abortion, gay marriage, and everything else" Romney. It runs the gamut, which is why it's fair to generalize and make this a sticking point for the voters.

OK, one more: You Just Don't Get What you Pay for When you Vote Republican.

Pick and choose your favorite lines and start utilizing them when you're on talk shows or writing op-eds. Take these points to the market and re-brand the Republicans before they re-brand you.

14 comments:

Dash said...

How about: Republicans who claim to be anti-tax don't mind funneling your tax money to private corporations to make a profit on jobs the government has always done cheaper?

I'm a little confused about appearing to blame Republicans for supporting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Dems do as well, after all, and the Republicans did make a sort of an effort to privatize Social Security.

And on a not entirely unrelated note, I'm guessing that if Willard Mitt Romney were a Democrat, the Republicans would be calling him "Willard." Nothing wrong with the name "Willard," of course, but it doesn't have a presidential ring to it. Haven't heard any progressive pundits using it, though.

Jon said...

Dash - regarding Pubs and supporting Medica* and Social Security...

It doesn't matter that Dems support these programs... everyone already knows that, and everyone already assumes that Dems will raise taxes to support new programs (true or otherwise).

What matters is cornering Republicans where they are hypocritical -- like advocating small government and low taxes while in all reality still supporting popular government programs... just like Democrats.

It's all about showing their inconsistency to disenfranchise their base.

When less Republican vote, Dems win. Over and out.

Bob Higgins said...

Social Security and Medicare are two of our most successful federal programs and should be bolstered for the future not scrapped or raided by "privateers."

The privatization movement is being spearheaded by investment bankers and the top tier of the financial community. The same people who gave us the sub prime lending scandal which is a serious threat to this house of cards.

They salivate over the idea of getting their hands on the nearly 2 trillion dollar Social Security trust fund and having all those wage earners sending in their monthly remittances. Ahh imagine the user fees, account maintenance charges, imagine the potential for good old fashioned fraud. mmm good.

I enjoyed your "re branding talking points" I'll excerpt them in the AM if you don't object.

Bob Higgins
Worldwide Sawdust

Jon said...

Hi Bob,

Excerpt away. We need to get this stuff in the hands of those with the mouths.

re: successful social programs. I hope you see where I'm going with this -- it's a trap for Republicans. Any sane Republican will need to express support for the successful programs that exist today. The trick is to call them out on making a choice between adhering to their small-government/low-tax credentials OR killing these very popular programs.

Of course, they lose either way:

1. If they pick the programs, then the Dem can say that they are hypocrites and have no conservative backbone.
2. If they pick small government, then the Dem can say that Republicans don't understand what Americans want and need to succeed in America
3. If they say "both" the Dem can say they can't have it both ways, and that they have to choose one or the other.

Carol Duhart said...

How about the fact that the "morals" crusade is a failure. The Republicans won't police their own ranks: what gives them the authority, moral or otherwise to even begin telling people what to do in their personal lives? They knew this guy was a problem for years and they didn't make him step down. But they based just about all of 2004 on "morals" knowing this guy had problems that were apparently open enough for the "rumors" to be public.

Democrats at least walk the walk on this one. They stick to the sorts of things that government can, and rightly should deal with.

If Larry were a Democrat, he would have long ago come out of the closet and been encouraged to get therapy for his problems. They would have at least have told him to get an AIDS test. They might have been able to salvage him. That's the real success for the Democrats. They can usually salvage their flawed folks and make them work better for the people they serve. The Republicans did nothing to help him at all-just let him self-destruct.

Danny said...

I definitely agree that the Larry Craig story is much more powerful as part of a larger critique of Republicans. One thing bothered me, though:

When less Republicans vote, Dems win? Is reducing voter turn out really the best way that Republican hypocrisy can be used to Dems' advantage? Especially after using the phrases, "prefer hypocrisy to democracy," and "the Land of Liberty," that's a little hard to take.

Jon said...

Danny,

I'm not exactly sure what's so hard to take. Elections are popularity contests -- nothing more, nothing less. And the idea is to win the majority of the votes. Winning elections has precious little in common with being an elected official.

You'll have to tell me what is so wrong with a bunch of people -- who generally vote for politicians who are intolerant, backward, or worse -- feeling disenfranchised and staying home on election day instead of voting for their conservative candidate of choice?

Seriously, if you want to fund a get-out-the-vote campaign for the Republicans in 2008, then be my guest. However, I will continue to drive for aggressive (but absolutely legal) tactics to help ensure that the Americans that I don't agree with feel that they'd be better off just sitting the election out.

Every good strategy has offense and defense. Are you saying that Democrats should only play offense? If so, why? Why would any Democrat want to make a conservative feel emboldened to go out and vote for another bad politician to run this country?

You're not going to convince a racist, misogynistic dolt in your state to vote for Obama or Hillary. But you might convince him to stay at home. Would you rather him stay at home or cancel your vote for Obama or Hillary?

Democrats would win a lot more elections if they really understood the difference between getting elected and being elected. Search the blog for that line and you'll read an entire post on the topic.
It (scaringly) enlightened several congressmen running in 2006...

Jon

Danny said...

Hi Jon-
Thanks for the response. I checked out that post (Sept. 12, 2006 for others who want to read it). Up to a point, I agree-- winning elections just means getting the most votes, and that can be done by getting more people to vote for you or by getting fewer people to vote for your opponent.

What rubs me the wrong way is how close that gets to shady tactics used by Republicans to keep people from voting. Sending threatening letters to voters telling them they're illegally registered, or telling them that they'll have to provide proof of address. There is a big difference between tactics like that (where a voter doesn't vote for fear of other consequences), and what you're advocating (where someone choses not to vote because they think no candidate represents them). However, if the only goal is winning the election, it seems like a slippery slope.

Additionally, I have a hard time reconciling two goals: Democrats winning elections, and having as many citizens as possible participating in the democratic process. But maybe the best time to address the second is after winning the election.

Jon said...

Hi Danny,

Thanks for doing the research and responding with an informed POV on the topic (Another reason why I prefer Democrats over modern Republicans).

Like you said, there's a big difference (from a democratic morality perspective) between actively misleading voters and actively discouraging them to believe that their vote will be the right one for them.

I'm advocating a voter suppression approach that goes back to the individual responsibility of the voter to decide how/if she/she will vote. That is imminently democratic and based on individual liberty.

This is not a slippery slope in the slightest bit. A slippery slope is where you do something that leads to the next thing, and before you know it, you're where you didn't want to be.

On the contrary, I see actively misleading voters and actively changing their minds on how to act on election day as completely different slopes -- the REAL Karl Rove approach is to utilize tactics that mislead people who are intent on actioning on their beliefs. OUR Karl Rove's approach is to utilize framing and branding strategies to lead people to their own conclusion to execute on their beliefs -- it's just that their beliefs are to stay home vs. vote for another horrible leader.

You know how I know they're completely different? In THEIR Karl Rove's approach, it requires on-the-ground tactics to screw voters out of their vote. OUR Karl Rove's approach is about winning the hearts and minds of both sides (if we win even a sliver of a conservative's mind, he/she might stay home instead of voting for a Dem) -- which is what real politics is supposed to be all about.

It is issues like these that this blog is all about. Many people are quite upset about what I advocate here because on the surface, it sounds/looks like a dirty-dog-Rove tactic. But, the beauty of this blog is that it's nothing of the sort -- it's just that the approach I assert would be just as effective, and would help Democrats represent the country better by being in a stronger political position to lead.

Jon

Hamish said...

Dear OKR,
Having read Nomi Prins' "Jacked", I know you need to point out the hipocrisy of so-called Conservatives. They pleadge to make government smaller, but they just keep puffing up the military budget, not even putting the Iraq war in even though it has no expected end and spending us into a deficit. When they do reduce government, they start with education, social security, children's health insurance, anti-trust and environmental regulation/enforcement etc. So it is important to make people suspicious of those who proclaim themselves "conservative". Will they cut my taxes or just those of the rich while spending my hard-earned money on bombs and bullets for the warzone where my neighbors' kids are dying and killing? Will they keep the government out of my private life or let it wiretap at will and snoop on my emails?
That said, you can't claim tolerance for Dems and then slander Pubs as "deviants". It is the very definition of hipocrisy. All you need to do is point out that Republicans are not trustworthy when they claim to be anything in the conservative litany...

Anonymous said...

It sure is important to point out the differences between Democans and Republicrats. Er... whatever. They're basically one party united to bring Big Government to every American doorstep, so every citizen can be "taken care of" -- one way or another! (They're also united to keep true alternatives, those pesky third parties, from ever having a chance to grow beyond obscurity, via corrupt laws that unreasonably restrict ballot access, not to mention candidate debate access.) But don't let me stop you from fantasizing about some petty differences in the one-party system (which is an embarrassment to the original ideals behind the formation of this great nation).

John said...

I see the evil BushCo. Rovian mind control machine has gotten inside your head. Did you forget to put on your tinfoil hat this morning? :-)

Jon said...

John,

I'll take that as a backhanded compliment. The trick is to utilize political best practices, but not to do them in an "evil" way based on our set of values.

The Rove/Bush/Cheney strategies are sound, it's their implementation that rubs most of us the wrong way.

This is why I blog -- it's critical that we separate the wheat from the shaft here: Just because "they" effectively brand the opposition in a way that we don't like doesn't mean what they're doing is wrong. They're just doing things we don't think are right, effectively.

Let's take the effectiveness of their approaches and apply them to problems that we think are worth solving... in ways that we think they should be solved.

Jon

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