Category Archives: Republican Messaging

The Democrats’ ticking time bomb

Hillary Clinton, 67, at Tom Harkin Steak Fry, September 2014

Hillary Clinton, 67, at Tom Harkin Steak Fry, September 2014

The post-election analysis of the Democratic Party’s massive losses has covered numerous factors, including Republican dark money, a lack of a unified Democratic message, and historic trends for the sixth year of a two-term incumbent president. Some pundits say “just wait until 2016″ when the Democrats will make a stunning comeback, winning the White House and retaking the U.S. Senate. However, few of these analysts mention a potential time bomb that could spoil the Democrats’ 2016 election chances. That time bomb is age.

Framing the new Republican majority

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (L) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (R)

President Barack Obama and other White House officials (such as Communications Director  Jennifer Palmieri and Press Secretary Josh Earnest) have been quick to characterize Tuesday’s Republican Election Night victories as the beginning of a period of Republicans being “partners in governing” the United States. For example, at his post-election press conference on Wednesday, President Obama said:

… So I look forward to Republicans putting forward their governing agenda…. I am very eager to hear Republican ideas for what they think we can do together over the next couple of years…. I’m looking forward to them putting forward a very specific agenda in terms of what they would like to accomplish…. And what we’re going to make sure that we do is to reach out to Mitch McConnell and John Boehner, who are now running both chambers in Congress, and find out what their agenda is. And my hope is, is that they’ve got some specific things they want to do that correspond with some things that we want to get done…. They’re the majority. They need to present their agenda.

This is an important Democratic frame, because, up to now, the Republicans have acted as a minority party even though they held a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. However, President Obama tried this “shared responsibility” frame once before, after Republicans took over the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010, and the frame did not stick. The question is whether Republicans will be held responsible for co-governing now that they will also run the U.S. Senate.

The nihilism election

Vote Nihilism

Vote Nihilism

Ve believe in nossing, Lebowski. Nossing. And tomorrow ve come back and ve cut off your chonson.
–The Big Lebowski, 1998

What to make of last night’s mid-term election? Democrats never articulated a positive unifying theme. Most of the Democrats’ endless fundraising appeals tried to scare supporters about the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove pouring millions of dollars into Republican campaigns. Republicans ran a national campaign on a unifying theme, but that theme — “President Obama is bad” — was also wholly negative. Most voters didn’t vote for anything.

What Republican men do behind closed doors

Senator Lindsey Graham with fellow GOP Senator John McCain

Senator Lindsey Graham with fellow GOP Senator John McCain

Senator Lindsey Graham is the latest in a long line of older white Republican men who don’t understand that the microphone is always on. Graham was caught on tape speaking before the all male, apparently all white Hibernian Society of Charleston, saying:

I’m trying to help you with your tax status. I’m sorry the government’s so fu#*ed up. If I get to be president, white men who are in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.

Graham’s office quickly contacted the mainstream media and spun Graham’s statement as just a “joke taken out of context.” The problem is, Graham remarks further a well-known narrative that the Republican Party really is the party of old rich out-of-touch white men who gather in exclusive clubs. This narrative has been built up over years of similar elitist statements by white male Republicans caught on camera or an open microphone.

Conference call with George Lakoff, Democratic messaging guru

Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff

Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff

Last Tuesday, Democracy For America held a conference call featuring Democratic messaging guru George Lakoff and Nina Turner, current State Senator and Democratic candidate for Secretary of State from Ohio. The subject of the call was how to frame the Democratic Party message for the 2014 and 2016 elections.

Republicans suddenly love Big Government

George W. and John McCain share birthday cake in Arizona as Katrina hits New Orleans, 2005

George W. and John McCain share birthday cake in Arizona as Katrina hits New Orleans, 2005

One of the Republican Party’s key tenets — indeed, one of its mantras — for decades has been “smaller government.” Recall Republican President Ronald Reagan‘s 1986 speech, where he stated:

The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’

In recent weeks, however, Republicans have been calling for all kinds of Big Government:

The Smithsonian museums are liberal!

IMG_0565If you visit the Smithsonian Institution museums in Washington, D.C. (free admission courtesy of your tax dollars) and have your political antennae extended, you’ll find some refreshingly liberal facts. Among them are:

After Ferguson, we’re done with the GOP

Protesters for Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO

Protesters for Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO by police officer Darren Wilson may well be a tipping point in American political history. The ensuing Right versus Left war over the narrative in Ferguson made it clear that we cannot reason with conservatives and Republicans. They are so invested in their tribalism and Kool-Aid identity politics (in this case, the Scary Brown People narrative) that, presently, there’s no chance of Republicans working with us to solve any big issues. Accordingly, Democrats and progressives might want to focus on the following three things:

Controlling the narrative in Ferguson

Anonymous "Hands Up, Don't Shoot" protester in Ferguson, MO.

Anonymous “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” protester in Ferguson, MO.

The news coverage of Michael Brown‘s killing in Ferguson, MO is a classic example of conservatives trying to change the story. The facts are that Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson shot the unarmed teenager Brown multiple times, seemingly execution style, and killed him. But the Ferguson Police, Fox News and other conservatives are trying to distract us from the facts with various narratives.

Today’s the anniversary of infamous Bush PDB on Bin Laden

George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney

George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Dick Cheney

August 6, 2001. That’s when President George W. Bush, on one of his numerous vacations, was given a Presidential Daily Briefing (PDB) entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US.” Among the PDB’s findings was:

FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.

What did Bush do after receiving such a warning? Crickets. Even worse, Bush reportedly told his CIA briefer: “All right. You’ve covered your ass now.”