Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Democrat: Take half a step forward, and then double back.
This is a problem I have been thinking about a lot. The republicans have no bones about taking unpopular stances on issues. It's all about the people’s gut reactions and common sense feelings about issues. This is why polls vary based on how a question is asked. The republicans don’t say “should we be for or against this issue” based on the polls. Or “people are pro-choice so let’s not talk about abortion if we can help it”. They sit down and think how they can frame their policies so that it sounds good to the average person.
anti-indeceny “You don’t want your child looking at pornography do you?” reframed as pro-privacy “You don’t want the government in your bedroom do you?” They frame issues so that the peoples gut reaction is “hey that makes sense”.
The Democrats approach has largely been “let's not talk about these issues because they are controversial”. So you get a lot of democratic politicians that look two faced, cowardly, or like they are hiding something. The average person can easily see they don't want to talk about certain issues. So people who are for that issue will think that the politician doesn't really support it. People against that issue will think that the politician really supports it and won't say. And everyone else thinks the politician is a coward and is ashamed of their own beliefs. When you are afraid to address an issue you lose on both sides of it. Democrats should be thinking about how to frame [talk about] issues so that is appeals to the average person’s common sense.
As Scott said many of these controversial issues are red herrings. The republicans go to them again and again because they know that Dems will futilely try to side set them and look bad in the process. I believe lynch did this very thing in a debate with benson. And it was the only thing that made Lynch look bad in the debate [that made news]. Democrats should state firmly and in their own framing how they feel about these type of issues. Then they can go on to talk about the real issues.
Really there is nothing to be afraid of talking about controversial issues as the republicans have shown time and again. The average person is largely disengaged politically. So if you can frame a simple and reasonable message you are “off the hook”, and you may have even make sense to someone. Most people don’t check the facts or get any deeper into it then that. People don’t even watch the news anymore, I don’t.
One of the things that the Neo Con Death Cult is really good at besides framing issues is then going ahead and speaking about them in a way that energizes their supporters but would scare the crap out of most people. How do they get away with it? Because no one is paying that close attention. The mainstream media is on coast and no one is watching. Unlike democrats and their beltway insider strategists [by the way republicans have been using more and more strategists outside of Washington, while democrats stick to the same old group of losers.] they know that NO ONE is watching. Most people don’t read the NY times or Washington post. I even heard that more people get their news from comedy central's “the daily show” then any other single source.
The way I see it is that democrats should not be afraid to talk about the issues. But they should use their own words and framing. They should also force the republicans to speak on their positions on issues that scare people [i.e. way outside the mainstream]. Make these pro-life politicians come out and say that they want to do away with roe v wade. Force them to either piss off their right wing Christian theocratic base or scare the crap out of the general public.
My biggest problem with Lynch is not with Lynch. He is want he is. My problem is with the New Hampshire Democratic Party. Benson was widely unpopular. So was Bush. This was a great chance to turn over the governor to a progressive candidate who was willing to make large changes in state government that would actually make a difference that would be noticeable by the average person. With all the promises and pledges what will lynch actually do even to make life in new Hampshire better for the average citizen? Anyone wonder why so many people say it doesn't matter who gets elected?
Instead of running a “true blue” democrat and having some real positive changes in this state they put up a centrist. It’s like they don’t believe that people support democratic issues. You know if the republicans were facing an unpopular democratic incumbent they would have put up the most conservative right winger that money can buy.
Why is that? Because democrats believe that the people don’t support their policies? Or is it because the democrats know that their policies don’t really work? That they can only sneak a conservative democrat into office in the wake of a corrupt and unpopular candidate like Benson.
Unlike democrats, republicans are willing to promote their policies in the face of popular opposition. This is why so many average people are attracted to the republican party. Being a democrat means always saying you are sorry for what you believe, being a republican means fighting for your beliefs!
None of this is true, of course, but this is what the democratic party and politicians tell their “base” every time they hide from the issues and reach out to that imaginary swing voter by betraying core democratic principals.
The republicans figured out how to energize their base WHILE reaching out to the average voter. The democratic party knows how to do neither. We even have DLC democrats attacking those who are trying to energize the base [moveon.org, act, michael moore, etc].
Our only hope is in the fact that democratic policies do work and the people by in large support them. Maybe someday the politicians will catch up with the people.