"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, October 27, 2008

Talking Points for Softies

Obama Supporters,

Despite Obama's seemingly Bradley-busting buffer in the polls, this lead is unprecedentedly soft. People who are "soft" Obama supporters are people who were swayed by a speech, a tag line, or party affiliation, but were not completely comfortable with the candidate.

Many argue that this softness is due to Obama's skin color. Maybe. Not much you or I can do about irrational decision making.

Some argue that this softness is due to his lack of experience. This is a seemingly rational rationale, but it's not. And many are concerned about a traditional liberal philosophy of higher taxes stunting real economic growth. Both of these arguments are bunk, meaning they need to be debunked. And that's what I'm going to do right now:

Bunk Rationale #1: "Barack Obama just doesn't have the experience to handle the tough challenges facing our country."

Debunking talking points:

  • Senator Obama not only has close to 12 years of experience as both a state and federal Senator, but he has shown America his executive experience as CEO of a small business for the past 2 years: The Obama 08 Campaign.
  • As CEO of his election campaign, Obama has attracted the best and brightest talent to run his campaign -- a campaign that has been miraculous in its effectiveness, innovation, financing, and discipline. He has crushed entrenched competition (Clinton, Inc.), and is now showing he can win against the mudslinging and character assassinating Republican, Inc. machine as well.
  • Obama has just enough Washington experience to provide him with the discipline, judgment and confidence to run this great country, and has just enough "outsider" experience to change it for the better.
  • Most importantly, Obama has shown us that he has the competence and stature to be President. Just look at how well he handled the economic crisis in September, and how he quickly gained support overseas from our allies during his in-person visits in August. Even if you think he doesn't have as much experience as McCain, it's hard to argue that Obama has the competence, stature and natural skills in all the right areas to be President. If I were hiring someone for a job, I would take experience into consideration, but I would be more interested in their skills, abilities and level of competence.

Bunk Rationale #2: "Barack Obama represents a liberal philosophy of taxing more, which will stunt economic growth and give the government too much involvement in our lives."

Debunking talking points:

  • Senator Obama only needs to restore the 1990s tax rate on the most wealthy Americans because someone, somewhere needs to pay for the Iraq War. We need to pay for the tremendously expensive mistakes made by the Bush administration, and whoever is President is going to have to do that.
  • Senator Obama is actually much less liberal than a traditional Democrat. A 1970s/80s Democrat would be raising taxes on everyone to reduce the deficit. Not Obama -- he's only going to restore the 1990s taxes -- as John McCain put it in 2003 -- to the people who can comfortably afford them.
  • Contrary to what Senator McCain says, Senator Obama will not be taxing the most successful small businesses so that they cannot hire workers and grow the economy. In fact, it's the opposite -- President Obama will restore the 1990s tax rate on income (not revenue) above $250k/year, but he will also provide a $3,000 per employee tax cut for every business owner who hires an on-shore citizen over the next two years. This is not a tax increase at all -- it's a tax reduction to help small businesses grow the economy and increase jobs here at home.
  • Senator Obama's tax plan is better than even Bill Clinton's tax plan that served us so well in the 1990s: President Obama will reduce taxes even more on people who make under $250k/year, and tax folks who make over $250k/year just as much as they did in the 1990's. As far as I remember, folks making $250k and above did pretty well in the 90s.

Of course, there are other slams against Obama out there, but these are the two big issues that turn people soft on Obama in our country. They just need to hear counter-points like these to give them the confidence that the warnings and fear being launched at them daily are refutable.

I ask each of you to find a softie between now and election day, and ask them what concerns them about Obama as President. First, listen carefully: "I see..." Then bridge: "I can see how you'd see it that way..." Then counter: "Have you thought about [insert above talking point here] as well?"

The Obama campaign relies on each of us not to convince people out of an ideology, but to ensure that they at least see both sides of the issues represented in a fair way. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but their opinions will mean more after they carefully consider both sides of the argument.

I am convinced that a truly open-minded voter will see that these talking points trump the vacuous drivel that the McCain campaign has been peddling. Why? Because these points are substantive, and in tough times, people do tend to gravitate toward substance over spin.



Heavens above to think I am as brilliant as you are. If you had cracked open my head you would have found the same reasons spilling out of me on experience. You expressed them with more polish; you could not be more right. When I see the Empty Chair in the oval office I wonder where is the experience Mcsame says he has; being a prisoner of war is not the discipline of decision making with wisdom needed to be the Chief Executive of the US. Above all Obama has a mission with a steadfast belief in the directions needed for ALL OF US to make the changes needed together.

Dan Trombley said...

Your second point needs another aspect debunked: that liberal policies stunt economic growth. Over the past fourty years, the economy has grown in almost every way (GDP, Job Growth, Dow Jones, and the value of the dollar) under Democratic presidencies far more than Republican ones.


Jon a.k.a. "Our Karl Rove" said...


Well put. Thanks for adding this to the topic. It is difficult to directly connect any economic and political data determinately, but it's fair to make the argument if there are a long string of statistics that paint a picture.

However, I would argue that this link between Democrats and prosperity must not be as clear-cut as you and I see it. Otherwise, it would be CW. It's clearly not. I mean, it is for the elite/educated and the poor/needy, but for the casually-informed voter, it is anything but an obvious link.

More work needs to be done around this from the messaging and marketing perspective. If only there were think tanks dedicated to such projects.

The Religious Left said...

Thanks for the cut-n-paste ammo for the Fox blogs (among others).

Anonymous said...

In "The Ad" last night, I thought Obama covered both the competence and economic points in ways that work well with your approach. (Obviously the specific talking points need to be made in other venues.)

Did your more critical viewing see these things done right?

Jon a.k.a. "Our Karl Rove" said...

RL - my pleasure. Blog and post away!

Anonymous -- to see my non-partisan views on "the ad" visit my punditry blog: http://BetweenTheColumns.com

As OKR, I have to say that the ad really focused on making Obama seem as "American" as Apple Pie -- a direct appeal to older white people to make them feel comfortable with Obama, and to reduce their trepidation with his race and unique background.

"The ad" was so professional and so slick that it's production values will make Americans envision an idealized Obama administration.

Last, but not least, anecdotal evidence points to the ad being a huge success in the "elder-class" -- people are switching from Mac to O based on this ad alone.

So, another "win" for the Obama campaign. It's hard to imagine any scenario where they lose this election next week.