Category Archives: Republican Messaging

No country for old conservative white men

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia with a word from one of his dissents

During the past week of momentous U.S. Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality, the Affordable Care Act and the Fair Housing Act, the biggest loser may have been Republican Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Thankfully, Scalia represents an old conservative white male demographic whose notions are becoming extinct.

Fighting the culture war in Nevada

The politics of plastic straws

The politics of plastic straws

Last week in Nevada, we asked the waitress not to give us straws in our soft drinks. The drinks didn’t need to be stirred, and we didn’t need to waste more plastic that ends up in a landfill or a floating trash archipelago in the ocean. “Oh, you’re one of them,” said the waitress. We could only conclude that “one of them” meant a hippie liberal environmentalist who should be mocked for wanting to conserve our resources. We concluded that our waitress is a conservative who might be brainwashed by Republican talking points from Fox News and other sources that sheath their pro-corporate messages behind a veil of “individual freedom” and an “us versus them” mentality.

The New York Times’ embarrassing election coverage

The New York Times Building

The New York Times Building

Like it or not, the 2016 election cycle is in full swing. Numerous media outlets are well into covering the campaigns and candidates. These media organizations are also giving early clues as to the quality of theirĀ  election coverage. If the last week is any indication, the New York Times has distinguished itself both for bias and inanity.

Hastert and Duggar sitting in a tree

Dennis Hastert

Dennis Hastert

After the recent sexual revelations involving Josh Duggar and Dennis Hastert, businesses that replace windows in glass houses are doing very well. Both the Duggar and Hastert cases are about hypocrisy, and psychologists might also say they involve loudly criticizing others’ sexual behavior to cover one’s own past behavior. But both cases offer some sharp political lessons:

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: