I left a comment somewhere, about the Swift Boat stuff. I think we’re all being a little bit too self-referential here in the blogosphere when we think we’re making headway against this smear. This is not how I felt listening to the radio over the weekend. Anyway, here’s the comment:
I’m surprised how few on “our side” understand what is happening here. We are still losing this.
Tune in your AM radio today and see what I mean. It DOESN’T MATTER what editorial writers say. It DOESN’T MATTER what mainstream press people write. This is not where the people who are Bush’s TARGET AUDIENCE are getting their info.
Remember, a poll LAST WEEK showed that 50% of the public still believes that Iraq was either behind 9/11 directly, or was a principal partner with al-Quaida. This demonstrates that we are not understanding the channels through which about half of America is getting its information, and the Republicans do.
Half the public thinks Iraq was behind 9/11. (Another poll last week – the same poll? – also showed that half the public believes that Iraq HAD weapons of mass destruction before the war.) This should tell you that half of the public not only is not getting their information from the same sources as you and me, they are not even getting their information on the same PLANET as you and me!
Do you think the veterans, who have shown a 24-point swing away from Kerry in the polls in the last couple of weeks, are even hearing ANY of the counter-smear stuff we are all so happy about? Or the swing voters in swing states? Not many.
I think the “Democratic Establishment” have failed to address the real problem — that the Right has spent decades learning how to influence and persuade large segments of the public. I think this happened “under the radar” of the Washington Democrats, and they still do not understand why they have been losing elections. They do not understand how thoroughly much of the public has bought into the Right’s ideology.
Taking this beyond the current swift-boat smear and into the broader context of the problem the Democrats have been having reaching the public — when you appeal to people’s desire for “fairness,” “equality,” “Democracy” and “sense of community” you had better first be sure that they understand and WANT these things. I think that the Right has changed the equation. It is no longer a safe assumption that Democracy, community, fairness and equality are basic, common, shared values in America. It is no longer safe to assume these are shared premises upon which you can base your arguments.