Category Archives: Democratic Messaging

Town hall meeting with Representative Brad Sherman of California

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)

Last Tuesday night, Representative Brad Sherman, Democrat from California’s 30th Congressional District north of Los Angeles, held a town hall meeting by telephone. Taking questions from constituents, Sherman explained his positions on a number of hot issues, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), climate change, Net Neutrality and California’s historic drought. Sherman also appeared on the RT network on Tuesday to talk about the TPP. Join us for a recap of these events after the jump:

Jeb Bush is Hispanic like …

Famed Hispanic Lucille Ball

Famed Hispanic Lucille Ball

Among the many incorrect or inane items from the U.S. media is the contention that, because white guy, Phillips Academy, grandson of a Nazi-loving Senator John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush is married to a Mexican woman, Jeb himself is somehow “Hispanic” or part of the Hispanic culture. After all, Bush even listed himself as Hispanic on his voter registration form. If Jeb Bush is Hispanic because of his wife, then the following stereotypes about famous people and their spouses or former spouses would also be true:

 

 

 

 

 

Seven reasons to love Hillary Clinton for President

Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire

Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire

Hillary Rodham Clinton announced last Sunday that she is running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016. While Clinton is one of the best-known people in the world, more folks might be familiar with knee-jerk labels used to describe her. In fact, Hillary has a long record of commitment to progressive American values. Here are seven reasons to love Hillary Clinton for President:

Time to start the narrative against Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush embraces his brother George W. Bush

Jeb Bush embraces his brother George W. Bush

President Barack Obama‘s 2012 re-election campaign created a narrative against Willard Mitt Romney early, and this narrative (“Mr. Moneybags/Elite/1%”) was hugely successful. The Obama campaign followed Messaging Maxim #4: Feed the Narrative. Now, in 2015, Republicans are already actively running against Hillary Clinton, the current front-runner for the Democratic Party 2016 Presidential nomination. It’s time to do the same thing and begin defining John Ellis (“Jeb”) Bush, the current Republican Party front-runner. There are plenty of examples that prove Bush is another Republican far-right extremist who would be bad for America:

Messaging Maxim #8: Don’t use the other side’s labels

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Protesters opposing Arizona anti-immigrant law

Republicans and conservatives, which are curently one and the same, love to come up with short, catchy labels for things. Here’s a list of popular Republican political phrases. Those labels and phrases are always loaded, either in favor of the Republicans, against the Democrats, or both. So, if you’re a Democrat, a liberal or a progressive, why would you ever use those Republican labels, making them even more popular so they get taken up by the mainstream media and become part of our vernacular? The answer is, you shouldn’t. But plenty of Democrats, liberals and progressives are making this mistake lately. Here are a few examples of Republican-loaded phrases that Democrats, and thus the mainstream media, are using all over the place. Hopefully, these will serve as a reminder to cut it out:

With “#47Traitors,” the netroots find their groove

CNN Center: Capital of obsolete old media?

CNN Center: Capital of obsolete old media?

Last Wednesday, Susie Madrak posted a thought-provoking piece at Crooks and Liars titled: “Dear Media: You Are Not The Gatekeepers Anymore.” Madrak wrote about how the mainstream corporate media, including newspapers and television news, lost all credibility cheerleading and broadcasting Bush administration lies to lead us into the Iraq War, and have their own elitist agenda which includes pathologically attacking Bill and Hillary Clinton, ignoring “the corrosive influence of the Koch network,” and even, in some cases, working hand in hand with the CIA. According to Madrak:

The media is [sic] doing a slow burn, not even over Hillary Clinton specifically, but over our refusal to accept theirs as the only legitimate opinion.

The good news is, our increasing refusal to accept the mainstream corporate media’s elitist group think coincides with a successful streak for the netroots, i.e., grassroots political activists who primarily use the Internet for their activities. In particular, netroots members are using social media, blogs, podcasts and other alternative means increasingly to circumvent the Beltway Blowhards. For example, just last month, Brian Williams at NBC News was taken down by social media users for his Iraq War coverage lies. Shortly thereafter, Bill O’Reilly at Fox News got the netroots treatment, with social media users circulating disclosure after disclosure about O’Reilly’s lies and exaggerations. Likewise, the recent Federal Communications Commission switch to a vote for real Net Neutrality is the result of pressure from millions of Americans, many from the netroots, who filed comments and petitions to the FCC, even at times when mainstream corporate media coverage of Net Neutrality was scant.

The Democratic Party of Yes vs. the Republican Party of No

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Ku Klux Klan march across Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL

Last Saturday’s event at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, marking the 50th anniversary of the civil rights marches from Selma to Montgomery, was a jarring reminder of how the Democratic Party has become the party of “Yes” while the Republican Party stands in the way of progress as the party of “No.”

On issue after issue, including voting rights, marriage equality, affordable healthcare, equal pay for women, diplomacy instead of warmongering with Iran, tackling climate change, comprehensive immigration reform, sensible gun safety laws, high-speed trains, stopping police violence, renewable energy and more, the Democrats are the party of “Yes” while the Republicans define themselves by being against these things, and especially, being against whatever President Obama is for. Republicans now pathologically say “no” to things even if, as is the case with the Affordable Care Act, repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges, and executive action on immigration, Republicans previously (even recently) supported those very things.

Conference call on vaccines with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy

German measles (rubella) vaccination, Nagpur, India

German measles (rubella) vaccination, Nagpur, India

Last Tuesday, MomsRising.org held a conference call featuring U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who spoke about measles vaccines. The call also featured Dr. Bruce Gellen, who is Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Amanda Cohen of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

MomsRising.org focuses on children’s and family health issues, including working for common-sense gun safety laws. Thus, the group formed a natural pairing with Gen. Murthy, whose nomination for Surgeon General was delayed for more than a year by pressure from the National Rifle Association, after Murthy stated that “guns are a health care issue.” Indeed, it took an ebola outbreak and the beginning of a measles outbreak traced to Disneyland in California to focus attention on the contradiction between Republican fear-mongering and the lack of a U.S. Surgeon General. The U.S. Senate finally confirmed Murthy, along with other Executive Branch nominees last December, during the lame duck session of Congress, and only as a result of the Democrats having changed Senate rules in November 2013 to prevent filibustering Executive Branch nominees.

President Obama’s striking town hall meeting on immigration

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Protester at 2010 immigration reform rally

Yesterday, President Barack Obama participated in a town hall meeting on immigration, hosted by Jose Diaz-Barlart of Telemundo network and held before an audience at Florida International University in Miami. The Obama town hall meeting, broadcast on Telemundo and MSNBC, was striking for several reasons:

First, Diaz-Balart (who was shrill and seemed to be yelling much of the time) and some members of the audience displayed a shocking lack of knowledge about how the United States government works. They need to reread their U.S. Constitution, or at least watch Schoolhouse Rock. For example, Diaz-Balart seemed exasperated at the Obama administration that a federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked Obama’s recent executive action on immigration (which would suspend many deportations in order to keep families together) from taking place. Diaz-Balart asked Obama:

How long will it take?  Because a lot of people are asking.  They said, we were 24 hours away from registering for the expanded DACA and just months from DAPA.  This happens 12 hours before.  What’s going to happen now? How long is it going to take?  And, again, a lot of the questions are, was the President caught by surprise?  And why is it taking so long?  This is what we’re getting, Mr. President.

Social media and the fall of Brian Williams

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Brian Williams as Willi Vanilli

Chris Cillizza wrote a short Washington Post piece last Friday entitled “Who had the worst week in Washington? NBC’s Brian Williams.” Cillizza’s op-ed described how NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams was taken down by social media. In particular, Williams was placed on six months’ unpaid suspension, and may lose his job permanently, as a direct result of a Facebook comment by helicopter flight engineer Lance Reynolds, who disputed Williams’ oft-repeated story about being on a helicopter that was hit by enemy fire during the Iraq War. The social media takedown of Brian Williams was a keen observation by Cillizza, but social media are responsible for much than just Brian Williams’ job status. The Brian Williams debacle might be remembered as the moment where social media, and the Internet itself, overtook  television.