Monthly Archives: December 2011

On Payroll Tax Cut, Democrats Find their Message

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Analysts on all sides of the political spectrum are calling the payroll tax cut extension a clear win for the Democrats and a significant political loss for the Republicans and their House Speaker, John Boehner. During the debate over extending the payroll tax cut, it appeared that Democrats finally hit their communications stride. For example, check out the above video featuring Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who appeared on December 22 on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” with host Ed Schultz. Here’s what Schumer, who appears at about 2:40, said:

  • “What they (the Republicans) have done this whole year is play brinksmanship and paralysis.”
  • “The American people have pretty good sniffers, and they’re beginning to smell that this Tea Party is extreme, and not really interested in what’s good for America…. They’re basically trying to paralyze government and get nothing done.”
  • “It is true that people are upset with government. But it’s not because it’s doing too much, it’s because it’s doing too little to help them.”
  • The Republicans’ flip-flop over the payroll tax cut, being against it before they were for it, “doesn’t pass the laugh test, and again, the American people sort of saw through that”.
  • “Since September, we (the Democrats) have done a lot better. Why? Well, we have focused on the economy, jobs, and income inequality.”
  • On tax policy, the Democrats “separated the middle class from the millionaires.”
  • “The American people are with us, not with the Republicans, on those issues” (jobs, the economy, and income inequality).

Talking Political Messaging with Alan Grayson

I had the opportunity to speak to former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson of Florida recently, and asked him about political messaging, something for which Grayson is very well known. Grayson’s most famous speech, the one that put him on the political map, is the one shown in the video above, from the floor of the House of Representatives during the height of the debate over President Obama’s Affordable Care Act in September 2009. In his speech, Grayson said:

It’s my duty and pride tonight to be able to announce exactly what the Republicans plan to do for health care in America… It’s a very simple plan. Here it is. The Republicans’ health care plan for America: “don’t get sick….” If you have insurance don’t get sick, if you don’t have insurance, don’t get sick; if you’re sick, don’t get sick. Just don’t get sick.… If you get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: “die quickly.”

During the Political Discussion Next Thanksgiving Dinner, Go on Offense

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Before the past few Thanksgivings, some media outlets have run pieces advising readers or viewers on how to respond to right-wing, Fox-concocted talking points that one or more relatives might regurgitate at the dinner table. As the above video from this past November 23 indicates, Ed Schultz invited Occupy Wall Street hero Jesse LaGreca on MSNBC’s “Ed Show” to do just that. Jesse does a good job using logic, facts, and figures to respond to the right-wing talking points raised by Ed. However, if you’re simply being reactive rather than proactive in these situations, you’ve already lost the political argument.