Friday, October 19, 2012

What Democrats need isn't more money, it's a message.

 The emails I've been getting from Democrats and Democratic support groups continues to highlight the sheer ineptitude and incompetence that passes for Democratic political strategists and strategy and as a result, they are starting to sound desperate. Which is bad news because with Obama, admittedly a disaster as president for Democratic policies and beliefs, and with Romney's Republican policies a clear and present danger to the health of the country, it is who wins congress that will matter more than who is president.

 But in spite of the clear message that Democrats need to send which so far, they have been inadequate in sending, ( for a variety of reasons) the content of the emails I've been getting highlight only one thing -- how much Republican PAC's are spending in this race and that Democratic candidates are being outspent and can you send more money because the polls show they are losing or losing their lead.

 The problem is, this is not about money or a product of Republicans spending more than Democrats. It isn't more money Democrats need. It's a message, a strategy a clear point that resonates with voters by using something Democrats other than Obama have on their side that is worth more than money -- facts. What Democrats needs is to start using them in a forceful and convincing way and start using the part of the male anatomy that James Carville pointed out was missing from Obama. It's doesn't take big money, it takes big ideas. And knowing how to communicate them.

 When I was Executive Director of the Denver Group during the 2008 presidential primaries, I created ads and TV commercials attacking the DNC for their backdoor plan to try and push Hillary Clinton off the ballot at the Democratic National Convention and not even allow her an honest roll call vote as part of a strategy (which has since backfired) to present a false picture of party unity by pretending that everyone supported Obama, which was clearly not true.

 With a very low six figure budget from individual donations, a budget miniscule by political advertising standards, I created ads and TV commercials that demanded enough attention and had a big enough impact to generate a lot of media coverage which resulted in media articles about our work, the advertising and the political goals they were designed to achieve. These ads and commercials resulted in interviews in mainstream media outlets with myself and co-founder Heidi Feldman, like the New York Times ( twice) Huffington Post ( twice) the Hill, Congressional Quarterly, ABC News, Fox News multiple times, the BBC, the Toronto Star, various radio outlets, local Washington DC TV news stations, news outlets as far away as Japan, and we were the Question of the Day on the Cafferty File on CNN. Howard Dean was besieged with reporters questions during his bus tour about Clinton and if she was going to be on the ballot at the convention and all this as a result of well timed, well placed, high impact ads and TV commercials on a budget so small by political standards, it wouldn't pay for the Koch Brothers cell phone bills for a month. So its never about money. Its about message and how to get it across.

 The latest plea for more money in my mailbox from Democrats came on behalf of Missouri senator Claire McCaskill. The email, from NY senator Kristin Gillbebrand, pointed out the latest poll numbers between McCaskill and her Tea Party right wing opponent, Todd Akin showed McCaskill now behind 49-45. And according to the email, "this after Akin's offensive comments about 'legitimate rape' and whether Claire is 'ladylike enough' to be a senator. We have to absolutely do something about this".

 Yes you do have to do something about it, but whose fault is all of this? Not having enough money? Akin having more? Or McCaskill's decision which was roundly and severely criticized here at the time, to not go after Akin over his ignorant and offensive remarks about rape and a woman's body "shutting down" to prevent pregnancy and make that a focal point of McCaskill's campaign.

 Within 24 hours of his remark Republicans were calling for him to quit the race and the Republican senate campaign committee said they were going to cut off money for his campaign. Akin was on the ropes. But Akin stuck to his guns ( as offensive as his guns are), stood up to the media as well as the Republican establishment, stood by his comments and McCaskill did little or nothing about it instead of using it in every way possible against him.

 McCaskill and her "strategists" let Akin off the hook, never went in for the kill, never used a weapon that was handed to them on a silver platter and now they are complaining that Akin is ahead because they don't have enough money.

 The truth is Republicans know how to go in for the kill and Democrats don't. In fact Democrats seem to know very little about how to go after Republicans with a tough message and win a campaign. Instead my mailbox is filled every day with the same old song from MoveOn, the PCCC, Democracy for America and pleas for money from various candidates around the country who feel they are victims of Republicans outspending them, as if that and that alone has anything to do with anything.

 There are a lot of ways Democrats can win and most Democratic candidates except for Obama should be far ahead of their Republican opponents. If they aren't, its not because they don't have enough money. Its not knowing what to do with the money they have. It's not knowing how to formulate a strong and honest message, get it across forcefully and convincingly, and attack their opponent with the facts,while being honest .

 It would also help to be honest and straightforward with disappointed and disaffected Democrats about Obama's presidency and his failures in selling out of the Democratic and progressive agenda with promises to do something about it if they regain control of congress, and just as importantly, point out the dangers in the policies of the opposition in an honest, factual and forceful way. Instead we see dull, ineffective, predicatable and easily ignored TV commericals by MoveOn and others with a plea to send $5 to help air them.

 What Democrats need is not more money. Its strategy, ideas, and knowing what to do with the money they have. So far, a lot of them don't.

Conservatism as it exists today and the Tea Party in particular, almost all of whom are completely ignorant as to what actually motivated the orginal Boston Tea Party, are and have been, anathema to everything the country stands for and has ever stood for as well as the principles and beliefs of the Founders. None of the founding principles of this country has anything to do with anything the Tea Party conservatives stand for and the same is true for the individual principles of Jefferson, Adams and the other Founders. They are a fat and easy target and if there is any goal for the upcoming election it should be to stamp them out as a political influence with resounding defeats everywhere. And doing it would, under normal circumstances be easy to do. But Democrats and their paid strategists seem to be befuddled over how to do it. Hopefully they will figure it out before it's too late.


Anonymous said...

Can the candidates use campaign money for their personal needs if there is any left over after the election? If so, perhaps Democrats don't care if they win as much as they care about being a candidate so they can live off of campaign donations.

Anonymous said...

they are evil, not incompetent, and they will get the result they want...both parties are one