Republican Election Plan

The Republicans are not being secretive about their plans for the 2004 election. This story contains the following:

“The strategy will involve the dismissal of Democrats as the party of ‘protests, pessimism and political hate speech,’ Ed Gillespie, Republican National Committee chairman, wrote in a recent memo to party officials — a move designed to shift attention toward Bush’s broader foreign policy objectives rather than the accounts of bloodshed. Republicans hope to convince voters that Democrats are too indecisive and faint-hearted — and perhaps unpatriotic — to protect US interests, arguing that inaction during the Clinton years led to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”

Lies, and smears. And worse.

This stuff works. We just got a cable bill – with another big rate increase. I suggested looking at satellite and my wife said she “heard” that satellite can be a problem because you have to keep positioning the dish. Well, the only place she “heard” this was from cable company ads. Advertising works. Repeating something over and over again works. Think of knowledge as a vacant receptor — my wife had no information about satellite, so the cable companies were able to fill a vacant receptor with a message. Since there was no prior information there, and since she is a busy person with other concerns, that message was able to slide into place unchallenged. And later, when it matter, all she knew was that she had “heard” that satellite has problems.

The Republicans wouldn’t be planning this without a great deal of work — focus groups, polls, psychologists, etc. So they already know that the public is ready to receive this message. Can they get away with convincing people that Democrats are unpatriotic? Can they get away with convincing people that Clinton caused 9/11?

“Inviting a fierce foreign policy debate in the months to come, Gillespie continued: “The bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, Khobar Towers, our embassies in East Africa, and the USS Cole were treated as criminal matters instead of the terrorist acts they were. After Sept. 11, President Bush made clear that we will no longer simply respond to terrorist acts, but will confront gathering threats before they become certain tragedies.””

Every time you hear someone repeat the lie that Clinton “bombed an aspirin factory” remember that what he really did was send a flurry of cruise missiles after bin Laden. This was a chemical factory owned by bin Laden. The same day Clinton sent dozens of cruise missiles into Afghanistan trying to get bin Laden, and destroying an al-Queda training camp.

But I digress…