Archive for September 20th, 2006

The Swopa Dope

It’s all about the narrative:

On Sunday at Needlenose, I posted the first part of a long-procrastinated long-planned series on how Democrats can turn the 2006 elections from a one-time opportunity to take advantage of disastrous Republican negligence into the start of a long-term adjustment in how the American electorate views both parties — overturning the “frames” that have increasingly straitjacketed the donkey party over the past few decades.

Citing my Labor Day post here and Peter Daou’s well-noted essay on scandal fatigue, I wrote:

If Democrats don’t find a way to hang together through a unifying narrative, they’re at much greater risk of having Karl Rove hang them all separately in November. And from the standpoint of rehabilitating the Democratic brand — and weaving a common line of argument than helps Democrats nationwide withstand the barrage of below-the-belt attack ads — the answer to Daou’s dilemma isn’t to pick one or three issues and drive them home, it’s to make all of them one issue, which is what a successful narrative can do.

. . . ¬†consider Peter Daou’s cri de couer over NSA spying. Let’s suppose that, rather than simply hammering on the issue independent of any others, Democrats were tying it into a larger argument — saying that it was another reckless, irresponsible example of a president with dangerously bad judgment , which needed to be remedied by electing Democrats who would bring common sense back to Washington.

If that was the case, when a couple of days after Daou’s essay, VP Big Dick Cheney accidentally shoots a hunting companion, it’s not a distraction — it’s exactly the same issue, and an event that powerfully reinforces the contrast of identities that Democrats are presenting.

My point was (and is) that Democrats don’t have to change their beliefs, or cover them up, to build a stronger brand identity — all they have to do is communicate the core values that separate them from Republicans in simpler, more consistent language.


If someone is interested enough ask what our “better way” is, particularly with regard to torture and NSA spying, an added soundbite I would throw in is that the best way to defend America is to be America. The other day at Needlenose, I quoted Ron Suskind on the real front line against terrorism, which is ordinary citizens in obscure locations around the world who might get wind of a plot against the U.S. — if those random citizens react by thinking, “F—ing Americans, they deserve it” instead of “That’s terrible, I should tell the police,” America is less safe.¬† When our country is an example of freedom and tolerance across the world — the kind of nation that drew the world’s sympathy after September 11th — America is safer.

There’s more, and it’s all great stuff – be sure to read that Needlenose post from Sunday. This is not exactly what Swopa said, but I would really like to see Democrats focus their narrative on what an awful job Bush and the Republicans have done on national security. They have done almost nothing to improve our security, merely taken advantage of our fears to excuse tactics that are as unnecessary and counterproductive as they are illegal and evil.

Torture? Against the Geneva Conventions and Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Warrantless wiretapping? FISA allows for 72 hours to obtain a retroactive warrant, which is only an impediment to illegal wiretapping.

Gratuitous unprovoked war? Morally bankrupt, distracted from the far more relevant effort in Afghanistan (we were going to capture/kill bin Laden and create a model democratic state in Middle East there, remember?), terrorist recruiting/training bonanza.

I’m not sure exactly how to pull that into a coherent narrative, though. Saying that “Given a choice between pragmatism and evil, Republicans will always choose evil,” or “Republicans have sold out your safety and your freedom just to make themselves look tough” is probably a bit too strong…

5 comments September 20th, 2006 at 10:37pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Favorites,Media,Politics,Republicans,Rove

Wednesday Why-I-Love-The-Weekly-World-News Blogging


WASHINGTON D.C. — Since the advent of the telescope, astronomers have been trying to answer the question “Are we alone in the universe?” Scientists still don’t have the answer. But Dr. Al Ternet of the Institute for Miscellaneous Technology has answered a different question.

“I’ve always asked, ‘Is our universe alone?’ Now, I have proven the existence of a polyverse, an infinite number of universes, each with a slightly different version of Earth.”

To make the concept easy to understand, Dr. Ternet described all existence as a roulette wheel, with each number being a different universe. “If you were a ball, you’d see a different reality every time the wheel was spun. I’ve managed to become that ball.

“I’ve created a device I call the Multi-Dimensional Revealer (MDR). Using a combination of sound and light at high frequencies, directed through a prism at certain intervals, I can open a small hole into the dimension that sits right beside our own on the universal roulette wheel.”

We asked Dr. Ternet for a demonstration.

“You will be forced to change preconceived ideas about people and events,” he warned.

We watched, astounded, as Dr. Ternet carefully chose latitudes and longitudes on the neighboring Earth — called Earth B — and showed us shocking sights:

o Bill Clinton was a celibate priest.
o George Bush was a college professor.
o A balding Donald Trump worked as a cashier in a pet shop.
o Paris Hilton ran a soup kitchen in the Third World.
o Britney Spears was a singer.

Among some of the political and cultural differences we saw on Earth B:

o The new Star Wars movie was good.
o Marijuana was legal but coffee was not.
o Iraq was our 51st state.
o Mexico possessed weapons of mass destruction.
o Weekly World News was on every library shelf and quoted on evening news programs.

Stunned by the demonstration, we asked Dr. Ternet how civilization will benefit from his invention.

“Civilization?” he said. “I intend to find an Earth where geniuses are considered sexier than rock stars and athletes. Then I’m going to live there.”

Heh heh heh. “Dr. Al Ternet.” God, I love these people.

2 comments September 20th, 2006 at 07:45am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Weekly World News

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