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Politics: Getting down to election message basics
Posted by: McQ on Friday, September 01, 2006

Seems we've settled into familiar and obvious pre-election memes on both sides of the political spectrum for the upcoming midterms. Republicans are going to stress the war and the weakness of Democrats in the national security realm and Democrats are going to claim Republicans are doing a terrible job in that sphere and using the threat of terrorism as a "fear factor" in order to keep voters from putting them in power. As examples:
“Between ’04 and now, the Democrats have not only not provided a more united front, they are backsliding into a very irresponsible position of premature withdrawal from the fight in Iraq,’’ said Dan Bartlett, counselor to Mr. Bush. “Most Americans, I think, understand the consequences of that action, and I think that will prove to be difficult for the Democrats.’’
And in response:
“After six years,’’ said Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, “they’ve got only fear to sell.’’

Another Democrat, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, called the Bush speech “a long repetition of old messages and rhetoric to scare the American people’’ and said she would push for a Senate vote calling on the president to replace Mr. Rumsfeld.
So they're selling "fear" on one side and they're "cutting and running" on the other. Of course neither meme is true, but each is particularly useful for one reason and one reason only - it rallies the base. And both sides understand that in this particular election, getting out the vote is probably more critical than ever.

Democrats are also counting on the 60% who are dissatisfied with the war (according to polling) to give them the margin of victory and so you can count on the overstatement of the "fear" meme to be a constant in the upcoming weeks. I think they may end up being surprised, however, as to who really constitutes that 60% they're eyeing as potential votes in November. I'm sure a good portion of that 60% are of the "get out now" crowd and were going to vote Democrat anyway. But I'd also guess that a substantial portion of the group, while dissatisfied with the way the war in Iraq has been run, aren't yet amenable to the "get out now" message as they see doing so as harmful to our future best interest.

So when Democrats trot out the "fear" meme, they may be hurting themselves with that crowd, since the "all they have to sell is fear" meme will most likely translate into "the Democrats aren't serious about national security" for a good portion of them. If the Republicans are successful in again framing national security as the national issue for this election, the "fear" meme could end up hurting the Dems.

OTOH, Republicans continue to push the "weak on national security" meme (with the "cut and run" characterization) against the Dems. The Dems have sort of painted themselves in a corner on this one. While most Dem Congressional members don't at all subscribe to what could be a "cut and run" policy, they're really loath to speak out in that regard at the risk of irritating the vocal extreme of their base. And as long as the media focuses on the likes of Sen. Reed, Durbin, Kennedy and Kerry, not to mention Reps. Pelosi and Murtha, those who believe we have to hold our nose and finish the job in Iraq aren't going to be heard. Oh certainly, a few have spoken out and said this, but they are mostly in safe Dem seats with a weak Rep opponent. But the perception still remains, despite all of the rhetoric declaiming the meme that Dems are weak on national security.

Those will be the competing messages over the next few weeks. Rumsfeld fired the opening salvo and you saw the reaction. Bush now picks it up and uses the Presidential bully pulpit to push it. That is, apparently, the Republican agenda for marginalizing the Dems in the upcoming election.

The question is, will it work again?
 
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Just to clarify, the people described as being in the "get out now" crowd are not actually in favor of getting out now. Even Ned Lamont merely supports setting a timeline for withdrawal. Ditto Murtha.
 
Written By: Anonymous Liberal
URL: http://www.anonymousliberal.com
Just to clarify, the people described as being in the "get out now" crowd are not actually in favor of getting out now. Even Ned Lamont merely supports setting a timeline for withdrawal. Ditto Murtha.
Understand, AL, but that will be the Republican spin and those are the folks they’ll point too.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
If the Democrats were smart (and I have my doubts) they will continue doing what they are doing, basically repeating that the Republicans have done an awful job on every front, from Terror to Katrina to Taxes to Iraq to Iran to Korea. And then about a month before the election issue a plan, a simple Contract for America type specific (but not too specific) plan on how they will lead going forward. The plan will include an exit strategy for Iraq that will be as soon as possible but not premature (meaningless, I know) with some indication (but not too much) of what that means.

At that point, the Republicans, who’s plan is on the table and it is more of the same, will lose their three biggest talking points...

1. The Democrats want to cut and run - No, the Democrats want to establish an exit strategy that consists of more than the infinite mantra of "when the job is done".

2. The Democrats are weak on terror - No, the Democrats want to get back to fighting Islamic extremists across the globe, and stop focusing so much energy on the few who have gone to Iraq.

3. The Democrats have no plan - No, the Democrats DO have a plan

Not that the Republicans can’t use the same talking points, just as the Dems tried in 1993, but the Contract with America went a long way in shutting them down and made what already looked like a solid victory into a landslide government takeover by Republicans.

Now, if only the Democrats were smart.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
AL,

True, though I would point out that if they had had their way when they first wanted to set a timetable now would be about right. For some, it already would have occurred.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: http://www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Just to clarify, the people described as being in the "get out now" crowd are not actually in favor of getting out now. Even Ned Lamont merely supports setting a timeline for withdrawal. Ditto Murtha
Not quite...a more accurate statement would be: The "get out now" crowd actually do favor getting out now, but they’re too gutless to ever support that position with their votes when the GOP calls them on it, so they cloak it in "timeline" rhetoric.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Democrats don’t have to worry about getting the votes of people who want out now, those are a given, the only votes they need to fight for are the people who want out as soon as possible but not prematurely (whatever that means). The people who want to continue doing what we are doing will go to the Republicans no matter what, but those voters amount to a lost election (at the moment).

The wild care are events that may unfold such as terror attacks anywhere, or terror plots that are uncovered. The Republicans would talk about the Spain attacks and their election of socialists in the aftermath, and it could be effective on some swing voters, or what people that I like to call morons.

This one really scares me the most because the Republicans have already begun this "appeaser" tactic, and it it is not likely to gain traction UNLESS there is such an event. I am not a conspiracy nut that would think that the Republicans would intentionally allow an attack to take place, or as some tin-foil hat wearers would suggest, actualyl carry out a terror attack. But it would not surprise me a bit if a terror plot has already been uncovered and the timing of the actual arrests might be convenient.

Remember, the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA are all political appointees.



Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
tactic, and it it is not likely to gain traction UNLESS there is such an event. I am not a conspiracy nut that would think that the Republicans would intentionally allow an attack to take place, or as some tin-foil hat wearers would suggest, actualyl carry out a terror attack. But it would not surprise me a bit if a terror plot has already been uncovered and the timing of the actual arrests might be convenient.

Remember, the heads of the CIA, FBI, and NSA are all political appointees.
But I’m waering my tinfoil hat any way... because those WASCALLY WETHUGLICANS would be jsut evillllll enough to do this, even though I’m not a conspiracy theorist sort...I’ll advance one any way.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Democrats are going to claim Republicans are doing a terrible job in that sphere and using the threat of terrorism as a "fear factor"
Democrats are going to use the threat of terrorism as a "fear factor" to dissuade people from voting for their opponents?

Man, you are a comedian.
 
Written By: John S.
URL: http://
The "get out now" crowd actually do favor getting out now, but they’re too gutless to ever support that position with their votes when the GOP calls them on it, so they cloak it in "timeline" rhetoric.
They want us to get out even if we lose.

In fact, I think it’s clear to most Americans that some of them want us to lose.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Democrats are going to use the threat of terrorism as a "fear factor" to dissuade people from voting for their opponents?
I was right in my first assessment of you. You can’t read.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Democrats are going to use the threat of terrorism as a "fear factor" to dissuade people from voting for their opponents?
Does this mean we’ll see Joe Rogan doing attack ads with Nancy Pelosi and the DNC?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I have two questions that maybe someone can answer for me:

1. How many of the 60% are dissatisfied because they think Iraq isn’t being fought hard/fast/strong enough or that the administration is letting domestic politics affect too many war decisions? Or was that polling question asked in a way that concludes that 60% want America to begin getting out of Iraq?

2. Do people generally vote party in congressional elections? It seems they would vote for who they feel best represents their state, not for who will caucus with whom. Maybe the people I know just pay more attention to what congressional candidates say and most people don’t?
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
Democrats are going to claim Republicans are doing a terrible job in that sphere and using the threat of terrorism as a "fear factor"
Democrats are going to use the threat of terrorism as a "fear factor" to dissuade people from voting for their opponents?
John, McQ was putting Republicans on both sides of the "and".
 
Written By: Scout
URL: http://
But I’m waering my tinfoil hat any way... because those WASCALLY WETHUGLICANS would be jsut evillllll enough to do this, even though I’m not a conspiracy theorist sort...I’ll advance one any way.
Call me cynical, but not crazy, if the administration believed it could time a terror plot breakup with the election in a way they believed would not jeapardize security, I don’t think they would hesitate to do it. I don’t think Democrats would either. It’s not complicated, their is always a window of time that action would be prudent, they won’t violate the window, but they will choose the time within the window that is most convenient. I am not talking about treason here, just politics.
Do people generally vote party in congressional elections?
Yes, but polling data at the moment suggests than even on the local level, people are dissatisfied with their representatives. It is a great point though, if national polling suggested dissatisfaction and a majority indicating that they were voting for Democrats it would be meaningless.

Cap
 
Written By: CaptinSarcastic
URL: http://
John, McQ was putting Republicans on both sides of the "and".
I stand corrected.

I don’t have the luxury of poring over things while I’m at work, so I apologize for my hastiness in skimming over that inartfully worded passage.

But it’s OK, McQ, you may continue to take solace in the notion that I’m just an idiot if that makes it easier for you.
 
Written By: John S.
URL: http://
But it’s OK, McQ, you may continue to take solace in the notion that I’m just an idiot if that makes it easier for you.
Just an observation John. Twice you’ve seemed unable to understand what I’ve written. I would assume after two occasions you might make a similar observation.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
In response to one of Scout’s comments - count me as one of the 60% who would have answered that they are not happy with the Republican’s/President’s performance. I totally concur with Hugh Hewitt’s platform, which fits on a T-shirt:
WIN THE WAR
SEAL THE BORDER
APPOINT THE JUDGES
CUT THE TAXES

That may not be exact, but it’s close enough. On top of that, the Rep’s have done a lousy job of anticipating Dem moves (they’re eminently predictable) and ridiculing them in advance, also counterpunching after they start repeating lies to the extent that they become truth (Bush Lied, people Died - what a crock. What about the stuff we’ve found buried in the sand in Iraq?).

I suspect there’s a large portion of the conservative "base" who would also poll that they’re dissatisfied, but it sure doesn’t mean we’re going to vote for an appeasing, leftist Democrat.

URR
 
Written By: UnrepentantRedneck
URL: http://
But it’s OK, McQ, you may continue to take solace in the notion that I’m just an idiot if that makes it easier for you.


Written By: John S.

IF being wrong or misreading was a sign of IDIOCY, heck we’d ALL be listed as "idiots." As one of my favourite groups says, "Mistakes are NOT a cause for despair."

Except for Jon Henke.... he signed up with a man running for the Senate who is the vilest sort of racist scoundrel, representative of all that is wrong with a society that can imprison a vast portion of it’s society in an illegal, immoral, and fattening war on drugs, all the whilst dragging the memory of Thomas Jefferson thru the mud.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’m sure a good portion of that 60% are of the "get out now" crowd
Well, if enough of them are then politically at least, support for a timetable for withdrawing would seem like a winner. What is clear from polling is that a sizeable majority (60% again give or take) think the Iraq war was a mistake. The same percentage (again more or less) dissaprove of the way Bush has handled the war, and a clear majority do support setting a time table for withdrawal.

And given the trend line of the responses to these questions something significant will have to occur before November to make the "stay the course" option palatable.
 
Written By: davebo
URL: http://
IF being wrong or misreading was a sign of IDIOCY, heck we’d ALL be listed as "idiots."
True enough.

But apparently in McQ’s world, misreading means that you are an illiterate.
 
Written By: John S.
URL: http://
But apparently in McQ’s world, misreading means that you are an illiterate.
Now you’re just whining.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I read the Rummy speech and I can’t find anything to insult Democrats except perhaps this passage.

there are occasional bad actors, the ones who dominate the headlines today, who don’t live up to the standards of the oath and of our country.

If Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi want to lump themselves in with the idiots at Abu Ghraib, I won’t stop ’em, but it’s pretty obvious that they never hear a word of the actual speech.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://

 
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