Category Archives: Republican Messaging

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.

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?

Republicans’ low profiling

Rally for Travon Martin at Univ. of Minnesota

Rally for Travon Martin at Univ. of Minnesota

On a recent ski trip, we noticed two types of profiling: First, the lift operators at the bottom of the mountain scanned the lift tickets of some skiers and snowboarders, but not others, to make sure they had purchased a ticket that day. It seemed like only younger and less affluent-looking snowboarders were being checked, while older, prosperous-looking skiers were not. That night, at a nice restaurant in town, the host told some younger, scruffier looking snowboard types that it would be an hour and a half wait for a table, and then told an older, affluent looking couple that they could get a table in just ten minutes.

At CPAC, it’s all Republican culture war

Empty stage for empty suits at CPAC 2014

Empty stage for empty suits at CPAC 2014

Dispatches from the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) are coming in, and they’re not pretty. The CPAC conference is being held at the Gaylord Hotel (oh, the irony) in Maryland, and thus far has been a showcase for the Republican Party’s cultural symbols of God (love ‘im), Guns (love ‘em) and Gays (hate ‘em).

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.

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.

Cold War Soviet stereotypes come flooding back at the Sochi Olympics

Remember the commercial above? How about this one? If you grew up in the U.S. between the 1950s and 1980s, chances are you were bombarded with negative stereotypes about the Soviet Union. It seems that Russia is delivering on some of those Cold War stereotypes this week, as the Sochi Winter Olympics take place.

Liberal talk show host takes down Texas caller

This past Tuesday, Michelangelo Signorile, liberal activist and host of the “Michelangelo Signorile Show” on the Sirius XM Progress channel, obliterated a hateful conservative caller from Texas. Mike did such a masterful job that we asked him to make the audio of the call available, and he graciously obliged (see above). Here’s how the call went, with our breakdown of the juicy parts:

Could Chris Christie’s bullying help him in the 2016 election?

 

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey speaking at an event hosted by The McCain Institute in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo by Gage Skidmore, used under Creative Commons license. http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/10999009153/

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie‘s “Bridgegate” scandal has cemented Christie’s reputation as a bully. However, some folks are wondering whether being known as a bully could actually help Christie secure the 2016 Republican Party nomination for President, should Christie decide to run.