Category Archives: Democratic Messaging

Is President Obama getting his Democratic mojo back?


Yesterday, President Barack Obama gave a stirring speech at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, to mark the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In his speech (see video above), Obama talked about America’s struggle over civil rights for minorities, the heroism of President Johnson in getting the law passed, and the continued fight over civil rights taking place in America today. Watching President Obama speak from his heart, one has to wonder whether the President has gotten his Democratic mojo back, and whether he intends to continue espousing Democratic Party ideals for the next three years.

How to beat the Republican billionaires

U.S. Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court

Last Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission left many Democrats and progressives dejected. The ruling from the Republican-dominated Supreme Court essentially removed any limits on aggregate political contributions by individuals, meaning that Republican billionaires like the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson now can buy even more members of Congress and more elections by pumping more money into false TV attack ads against Democrats. So it’s the end of the world for Democrats, right? We say “wrong!” While Democrats of course should work to reverse McCutcheon and its predecessor Citizens United, here’s how Democrats can win elections in the meantime despite the Republicans’ dark money advantages:

Messaging Maxim #6: Keep it Stupidly Simple

 

A friend forwarded the above sound clip, featuring President George W. Bush announcing his Medicare Part D prescription drug plan in 2006. The point of the clip was to show that Bush and the Republicans were all for extending deadlines for health insurance programs until President Barack Obama extended the March 31, 2014 Affordable Care Act signup deadline. But what was perhaps more striking about the Bush clip was its almost childlike simplicity of the language and delivery:

The average premium that seniors pay is a third less than had been expected, just $25 per month instead of $37 per month.

Thanks to this new coverage, America’s seniors are now getting the modern medicine they need at prices they can afford.

During George W. Bush’s presidency, Democrats made plenty of fun of Bush’s “Bartles and Jaymes” simplicity of speech. Before that, Democrats mocked the simplicity of presidential candidate and then President Ronald Reagan. But such simplicity often works. Indeed, Reagan became known as “The Great Communicator.” For these reasons, we now list Messaging Maxim #6: Keep it Stupidly Simple.

Affordable Care Act extension could be a political winner for Democrats

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrates 4th anniversary of Affordable Care Act, 3/23/14.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrates 4th anniversary of Affordable Care Act, 3/22/14.

Last night, major media outlets reported that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is granting a limited extension of the March 31 deadline to enroll for coverage under the Affordable Care Act for 2014. According to these reports, enrollees who certify that they began the enrollment process by March 31 will be given a brief extension to complete the process.

Predictably, Republicans moved swiftly to attack the ACA extension. For example, on Twitter, many users linked to an early FoxNews” report of the extension, and commented negatively, such as @puristflyfisher, who wrote: “If Obamacare doing so well why more time needed to sign up.”

Aside from the valid reason that this limited Affordable Care Act extension is warranted because of previous difficulties with the healthcare.gov website that has been overwhelmed with 1 million visits this past Monday and over 1.2 million yesterday, the extension could be good politics for the Democrats. Here are some reasons why:

What Democrats can learn from General Patton

The 1970 movie “Patton” is best remembered for its opening speech by George C. Scott as General George S. Patton, standing in front of a giant American flag (see audio above). The speech, primarily written by Francis Ford Coppola and based largely on snippets by Patton himself, could serve as an inspiration to Democrats for the upcoming 2014 election:

When politics becomes a joke

Zombie protester at Sarah Palin rally

Zombie protester at Sarah Palin rally

Democrats and progressives may have noticed a trend lately: your Republican friends or family members send you an email, and they write something like “this isn’t meant to be political, it’s just a joke that I thought was funny.” Then the joke contained in the email is something offensive to President Obama or Democrats. It’s never politically neutral, or making fun of both sides, and never ever makes fun of Republicans. Then if you call out the sender, they tell you you’re being too sensitive, or have no sense of humor, or “can’t take a joke.”

But make no mistake, these Republican jokes are meant to score political points, or at least to make Republicans feel better by hating on Democrats. Humor can take down a politician. Remember Chevy Chase‘s “Saturday Night Live” caricatures of a clumsy President Gerald Ford? Or Tina Fey’s dead-on “SNL” takedowns of Sarah Palin using Palin’s own words? So how about we fight back, and turn the tables on these Republican jokers?

Fox News’ two-pronged attack on food stamps and California

Judy Oerly gathers food she will be taking home from the Central Pantry in Columbia, Mo., on 10/4/13.

Judy Oerly gathers food she will be taking home from the Central Pantry in Columbia, Mo., on 10/4/13.

Perhaps it’s not a surprise that Fox “News” attacks the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), which Fox and the Republicans refer to by its old-fashioned and perhaps derisive name “food stamps.” Perhaps it’s also not a surprise that Fox “News” attacks almost all things in the great Blue State California, from “liberal Hollywood” to progressive policies such as green energy (which, by the way, is responsible for many good California jobs.) But what might be surprising is that Fox found a way to attack both SNAP and California at the same time, via its “Food Stamp Surfer” story.

Democrats need a theme for 2014

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The Republican Party has a theme for 2014. We saw it in Bill O’Reilly‘s prosecution of President Obama in the form of an interview during the recent Super Bowl. The Republican 2014 election theme is: Attack Democrats on the Affordable Care Act, Benghazi and the I.R.S.

Great Affordable Care Act framing from the Obama White House

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This week, Organizing for Action (formerly Obama for America), the Obama administration’s activism arm, sent around an email asking a terrific question about the Affordable Care Act:

Now that more than 3 million Americans have health insurance — a number that is growing every day — do these Health Care Repealers still want to take it away?

Science meets ignorance in ‘Meet the Press’ climate change debate

Yesterday, NBC’s “Meet the Press” held a climate change “debate” between Bill Nye “the Science Guy” and Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. The debate (see video above) represented the triumph of science over stupid.