We are happily back in the US of A, which means reality has smacked us in our relaxed wine ridden bodies. It also means that we have started to watch TV and read the newspaper—something we hadn’t done for over two weeks. Last Sunday the New York Times “Week in Review” section presented a range of pretty comprehensive views about how the political parties can have victories in November. The pieces written by political people were predictably more ‘big picture’ than specific in terms of suggestion. The pieces crafted by operatives were written as if they were doing job interviews for the campaigns, and the academic ideas were heady but a little out of touch with what is practical in designing a campaign. This is not meant as a criticism. They were all correct in their lists of what should work, but there were only a few that I thought went beyond merely a rhetorical presentation.
To be honest,and why wouldn’t I be with people who actually have taken the time to read this blob which David says is “unencumbered by niceties”, when I finished reading the Times, I thought the best way for Democrats to win was with a strategy I call “Are you kidding?” With the exception of my old friend Rich Bond, who talks about the important matchbook cover tactic, Republican ideas are still based on fear and, you should excuse the expression, lies. I don’t want Republicans to win, not because I am a democrat but because I am tired of their assumptions that people are stupid and will continue to separate what is really going on (how we have to live our lives ) from what they say is going on – i.e. the war, the economy and energy issues.
Near the top of the list of “Are you kidding?” is the sudden drop in gas prices. Here we are, six weeks before the mid terms and like magic, fuel prices are dropping, the stock market is rising and Dennis Hassert has said he will fire anyone who covered up Foley’s foibles. I hope you all saw Mike Peters cartoon in the Times on Sunday. (I also read the NY Post so don’t think my reading is all one sided). Is it possible that big oil companies want to help their rich friends get reelected so they can continue to get richer while at the same time discourage the exploration of alternative fuel supplies? You have to agree that it’s possibly more than possible. (To get you to agree is a successful rhetorical technique often used by political people in hopes that you will remember the agreement rather than thinking about the issue.).
Also near the top of the list is the conversation about what to do with that pesky situation in Iraq. I don’t know about you but for me “There have been no terrorist attacks in the US” and “We really get it, but we can’t cut and run” aren’t good enough reasons to continue to support this international fiasco.
Oh I could go on—so I will. There are actually Republicans who claim that the new drug program for the elderly is popular and working. Do these people have parents? And speaking of parents, do they ‘get’ that baby boomers are facing an epidemic in providing care for aging and infirmed family members, with women bearing the bulk of the burden. Do they think that regular folks from both parties don’t understand the consequences that huge deficits will have on their children and the future.
When I was in school majoring in communication arts we learned numerous rhetorical techniques. They worked when I rode my dinosaur over to debate class and continue to work today. Among many ways to win an argument (or election), is answering only the questions for which you have some made up good sounding facts and substantiation, getting the audience to agree with you, speaking only about that which makes your arguments seem sound, and using appealing, yet simple analogies,and the art of repetition is very powerful. For many reasons, if you keep repeating a statement eventually the audience will begin to think that they have heard the statement so many times it must be true. These have worked especially well for the Bush administration, but I think people are finally starting to believe what they see rather than what they hear.
So how do the Democrats win the elections. I say just keep responding to Republican rhetoric with the question, “Are you kidding?” We’re just sayin…