How The Right Sells It

In MyDD :: Pelosi’s 100 Hours, kid oakland writes,

“If the GOP had a 100 Hours program they’d be selling it like it was going out of style.”

We hear this all the time, “the Republicans” are doing something and “the Democrats” are not. For example, here Republicans would be selling a “100 hours” plan, and Democrats aren’t.

Yes, but… Let’s examine the mechanism of that sell-job “the GOP” would be doing.

First, it is not the Republican Party that does that sell-job. To me, this is a key point to understand if we’re going to work on countering the conservatives and bringing the public back to understanding and accepting progressive values and ideas and candidates. It is not the Republican Party. And when you understand this point, you understand that it is not the Democratic Party that is falling down on selling progressive ideas.

It is not the Republican Party, it is the “conservative movement” infrastructure that does the selling. It is the Heritage Foundation and the (oh-so-many) other marketing/communications think tanks. It is the anti-tax and anti-government organizations. It is the Christian Right organizations. It is the corporate lobbying groups that would be selling it. It is the right-wing media that would be selling it. Rush Limbaugh and 100 other radio talk-show hosts would be selling it. Fox News would be selling it. The Drudge Report would have headlines about it. The think tanks would be dispatching 100 pundits to the TV news shows to be selling it. The Ann Coulters and the Cal Thomases and Jerry Falwells would be selling it. There would be professionally-crafted op-eds in every newspaper selling it. There would be an organized letter-to-the-editor campaign selling it. There would be e-mail chain letters selling it. There would be anonymous posts on internet sports forums selling it. There would be PR firm-produced-and-placed YouTube videos selling it. There would be strategically-placed MySpace friends selling it. They would ALL be selling it, in concert, using the same polled-and-focus-group-tested talking points, repeating the same message over and over and over… But they are not the Republican Party.

So don’t blame the Democrats! That doesn’t help you think about how progressives can counter this. When you think about how things like the first 100 hours (or the Contract for America) are sold and about how the public is persuaded to accept ideas and policies and candidates in general, stop blaming “the Democrats” for falling own on the job. Instead, look at how the conservatives do it and think about the infrastructure they have that progressive do not have. Conservatives have these marketing/communication organizations that reach out to the general public – progressive do not. They have the scores of media-trained pundits ready to go on TV or radio at a moment’s notice – progressives do not. They have the op-ed writers and direct lines to the editors who accept them – progressives do not. They have an entire infrastructure designed around reaching the public and persuading them. And they fund it. THAT is how you persuade the public.

Progressives do not.

5 thoughts on “How The Right Sells It

  1. This is utterly true. But the Left is not entirely helpless; it has the internet. Take a look at Moveon’s website; it used this extremely effectively; the Democrats made more phone calls, personal one-on-one phone calls than have ever been made before; over 7 million, to get people at the polls. To do this they largely used Moveon’s extremely effective research and resources, including up to date lists of who had not voted yet. Amazing! Dean’s 50 state strategy also took very intelligent advantage of the internet. This is a truly democratic tool, in both meanings of the word. It’s of the people and by the people.

  2. I’ve been saying for six years that we need a comprehensive strategy for countering right-wing nonsense and promoting progressive ideals. I wrote a proposal for MoveOn more than a year and a half ago, which met with a resounding silence.
    Why is it that so many of us recognize what needs to be done, but no one at all will help me make it happen?
    Carolyn Kay

  3. More from the Masters of Spin-here’s the text of an email making the rounds:
    Things that make you think a little:
    There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq in January.
    In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the
    month of January.That’s just one American city,
    about as deadly as the entire war-torn country of Iraq
    When some claim that President Bush shouldn’t
    have started this war, note the following:
    a. FDR led us into World War II.
    b. Germany never attacked us; Japan did.
    >From 1941-1945, 450,000 li ves were lost …
    an average of 112,500 per year.
    c. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea .
    North Korea never attacked us .
    >From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost ..
    an average of 18,334 per year.
    d. John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962.
    Vietnam never attacked us
    e. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire.
    >From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost ..
    an average of 5,800 per year.
    f. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent.
    Bosnia never attacked us.
    He was offered Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter three
    times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on
    multiple occasions.
    g. In the years since terrorists attacked us, President Bush
    has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled
    al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya , Iran , and North
    Korea with out firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who
    slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.
    The Democrats are complaining
    about how long the war is taking.
    It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno
    to take the Branch Davidian compound.
    That was a 51-day operation.
    We’ve been looking for evidence for chemical weapons
    in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find
    the Rose Law Firm billing records.
    It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the
    Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard
    than it took Ted Kennedy to call t he police after his
    Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick
    It took less time to take Iraq than it took
    to count the votes in Florida !!!!
    Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB!
    The Military morale is high!
    The biased media hopes we are too ignorant
    to realize the facts.
    But Wait. There’s more!
    Mon, 26 Jan 2004 11:13
    Some people still don’t understand why military personnel
    do what they do for a living. This exchange between
    Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum
    is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive
    impromptu speech, but it’s also a good example of one
    man’s explanation of why men and women in the armed
    services do what they do for a living.
    This IS a typical, though sad, example of what
    some who have never served think of the military.
    Senator Metzenbaum (speaking to Senator Glenn):
    “How can you run for Senate
    when you’ve never held a real job?”
    Senator Glenn (D-Ohio):
    “I served 23 years in the United States Marine Corps.
    I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions.
    My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different
    occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my
    checkbook, Howard, it was my life on the line. It was
    not a nine-to-five job, where I took my tie off to take the
    daily cash receipts to the bank.”
    “I ask you to go with me … as I went the other day…
    to a veterans’ hospital and look those men ..
    with their mangled bodies in the eye, and tell THEM
    they didn’t hold a job!
    You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go,
    as I have gone, to the widows and orphans
    of Ed White, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee…
    and you look those kids in the eye and tell them
    that their DADS didn’t hold a job.
    You go with me on Memorial Day, and you stand in
    Arlington National Cemetery , where I have more friends
    buried than I’d like to remember, and you watch
    those waving flags
    You stand there, and you think about this nation,
    and you tell ME that those people didn’t have a job?
    What about you?”
    For those who don’t remember ..
    During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney
    representing the Commu nist Party in the USA .
    Now he’s a Senator!
    If you can read this, thank a teacher.
    If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
    It might not be a bad idea to keep this circulating

  4. hard not to gag on that one, it’s pretty rich.
    “The fair city of Detroit” LOL…

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