What Steve M. said

No More Mister Nice Blog on the failure of the Democrats’ messaging regarding health care reform:

The system is complex. We wonky lefties have at least a rough notion of the whole complex system in our heads. Most Americans don’t. [...]

If this discussion had started with a national Health Care for Dummies conversation—today, class, we’re going to explain where Medicare comes from: it comes from the government—maybe we wouldn’t be in this mess. But we were never going to start there, because we wonky Democrats always think Americans start with the knowledge base we take for granted.

Republicans know better. That’s why they win.

Posted by Kevin K. on 08/30/09 at 11:13 AM • Permalink

Categories: PoliticsHealth CarePoliblogs

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That’s because Democrats have spent the last hundred years hoping that H.L. Mencken was just some angry hack.

steve m nails it
the greatest republican success since the ascension of St. Ronnie of Idiocy has been the dumbing down of america.

Republicans know better. That’s why they win.

When was the last time they actually won anything?  They’re coming off two historical electoral ass-kickings and while I don’t deny that their simplistic framing of the issues comes in handy sometimes but its superiority to the more wonky Democratic approach is overstated by a lot of people on the left.  Clinton and Obama both used some sloganeering but were way more wonky than their Republican opponents and kicked their asses.  The Republican message on Social Security privatization was pre-school level simple but it went nowhere.  Nowhere near as far as health care reform has under Obama and I’m not at all ready to concede that it’s dead.  The success of each party has a lot more to do with the circumstances in the country than messaging.

Lawnguylander, good points, but as I wrote in the comments over there I think that because Obama front-loaded the very simple “hope and change” message, that certainly helped him in the GE.  But it’s hard to argue with this:

The success of each party has a lot more to do with the circumstances in the country than messaging.

I think it’s equal parts both, but if you nail messaging you can overcome current conditions, real or imagined.

I have to agree with Steve and KK completely. Since before Reagan, Republican strategists have learned to speak to their ever-stupider base first with “big government” and “debt” fears (look at welfare queens!!!!).

The past few election cycles have found the GOPers getting even less literate and much easier to convince with fear.  And lets not forget those of either party affiliation that just don’t pay any attention to anything at all.

While prominent Dems point to this all the time, they’ve missed the opportunity to teach as well as convince.  The new fear-mongerers have also managed to wake those who haven’t paid any attention to politics or government ever and added to their bevy of ignorant message carriers.

Yup.  Congress and the WH fucked this one up.

I’m with gimmeabreak on this.

Just because I don’t like things to be “dummied down” and can understand that the world is more complex than simple binary choices doesn’t mean that a majority of America also sees things that way.

The Dems need to get much better and upfront with their messaging and yes, they need to telegraph their key points as if they were talking to an average 5 year old child.  The only difference is that they need to focus on a simple, POSITIVE message. 

The GOP has mastered the despicable tactic of fear/smear and unfortunately, it works.  However, the reasons simple (although nebulous) concepts such as “hope” and “change” were able to work and be grasped to spark a movement is because when it comes right down to it, most people would rather be inspired than scared shitless any day of the week.

Bottom line, there is a lack of positive simple and straightforward messaging to counter the fictitious bogeymen being conjured up on the other side.

Also - the dems need to grow a backbone and flat-out call out liars and lies as such - in just those straightforward of terms. 

Wimpy terms such as “mis-characterization”, “spin” and “misunderstanding” are too soft and weak counters to the straight out bullshit that is being said these days and quite frankly, the nuances of such word choices goes over many “simple folk’s” heads…yet they have just enough insight as to perceive these responses as wimpy…and in their world “strong” is right and “wimpy” is wrong…

When was the last time they actually won anything?

They’re winning the health care debate.  They’re winning the Guantanamo debate.  They got the stimulus gutted, and we’re not getting a second one no matter how many times Paul Krugman begs for one.  Before that, they won on withdrawing from Iraq after Bush lost Congress (and we’re still there, in case tyou hadn’t noticed).  Need I go on?

It smells like 2004 in here.

Need I go on?

In that fashion?  No, not if you’re trying to be convincing.  Democratic legislation and policy decisions that don’t meet the standards of the left do not equal victories for Republicans.  Not quite the disasters that the right sees in its worst nightmares but not victories either.  I look forward to hearing some time in the future that the Democratic party is winning when there’s a Republican in the White House, only 179 Democrats in the house, 40 Democratic Senators and about 23% of the country identifies as Democratic but a lot of righties are freaking out because they’re convinced that Social Security privatization will not pass. 

As for health care, the freak out going on in many places right now reminds me a lot of the hand wringing that took place last summer.  OMG, LOOK AT TEH POLLS, OBAMA’S GOING TO LOOSE!!! And it’s going to turn out the same way.  Epic fail for the Republicans.

Always look on the bright side of life.

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