Category Archives: Republican Messaging

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse holds Google hangout on climate change

Retreating Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

Retreating Mendenhall Glacier in Alaska

Last Thursday, U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) held a Google hangout video conference sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters. Also on hand for the video chat were Gene Karpinski, President of LCV, and LCV’s Senior Vice President for Government Affairs, Tiernan Sittenfeld. Senator Whitehouse is perhaps the leading Senator on climate change issues, and has given a “Time to Wake Up” environmental speech on the Senate floor every week for the past 100 weeks that the Senate has been in session, i.e., over the past three years. Whitehouse also took questions from the Google hangout audience, and worked with LCV to use the Twitter hashtags #TimeToWakeUp and #100Reasons to further the interaction with the audience. Here are some highlights from the video conference:

Fighting for Amtrak, transportation and good government

High speed trains in London

High speed trains in London

The recent Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania has once again exposed America’s embarrassing train transportation system. Parts of this system are up to 150 years old, and it’s falling apart. Yet, when Democrats, including President Barack Obama, propose to modernize our train system and build high-speed trains, Republicans oppose these plans.

Predictably, after the Amtrak accident, in addition to the horrible optics of simultaneous Republican budget cuts, we are hearing the usual Republican talking points about America’s train transportation system. Here are the main GOP talking points, along with some possible responses:

The one-word difference between liberals and conservatives

"Birther" protesters, St. Cloud, MN, 2013

“Birther” protesters, St. Cloud, MN, 2013

Anyone who pays attention to the arguments made by conservatives (and Republicans, same thing nowadays) versus those made by liberals and Democrats knows that their respective ways of thinking and speaking is entirely different. Researchers have even found that conservative and liberal brains work very differently. But what the scientists haven’t mentioned is that you can usually identify whether someone is a liberal or a conservative by listening for one word.

Republican presidential primary problems

Ted Cruz, clowniest passenger in the GOP Clown Car?

Ted Cruz, clowniest passenger in the GOP Clown Car?

In the 2012 Presidential primaries, the Republican Clown Car had a crackup. The GOP candidates fell all over each other to kowtow to the narrow, extreme Republican primary base (comprised, for example, in Iowa, of 60 percent Evangelical Christians). Michele Bachmann said that the HPV vaccine causes “mental retardation,” and Herman Cain mocked the very idea of having foreign policy knowledge. Then came Willard Mitt Romney‘s disastrous “Etch-A-Sketch” moment, in which Romney’s Communications Director dumbly asserted that, after lurching to the right in the primaries, Romney could simply “hit a reset button” for the general election, “like an Etch-A-Sketch,” as if no one would hold Romney accountable for the positions he was taking and as if the giant Memory Machine known as the Internet didn’t exist. Romney’s Etch-A-Sketch moment perfectly summed up the Republican Party’s 2012 problem. Romney’s Republican rivals such as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum pounced on the Etch-A-Sketch statement as proof that Romney could not be trusted by the GOPs conservative base. Romney ended up being trusted by no part of the electorate. Fast forward to the present day, and it appears that the GOP is poised to repeat these same mistakes of 2012.

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.

Republicans on a losing streak

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

Republican Presidential hopeful Scott Walker in London

If someone had told you that, in the months after the Republican Party’s historic 2014 Congressional election wins, Republicans would suffer one self-inflicted defeat and embarrassment after another, you might have told that person that he was nuts. But that is exactly what has happened to the Republican Party since last November’s elections. Here are some of the highlights, or more accurately, lowlights:

Anatomy of Rudolph Giuliani’s racist fail

Caricature of authoritarian Rudolph Giuliani

Caricature of authoritarian Rudolph Giuliani

The age of rapid political blowback, helped along by social media sharing, is upon us, and Rudolph Giuliani‘s racist remarks against President Barack Obama are the latest example. Here is a rough timeline of how Giuliani was hoist with his own petard: