Archive for November 3rd, 2004

Republicans picked up a lot of the new voters with astute moves, says the Washington Post this morning…

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Here is the story–worthwhile reading.

Add this
story, on the clever use of the same-sex marraige initiatives to draw
conservatives to the polls and showcase the difference between Bush and
Kerry on a divisive issue..

The five most important things the Democrats did wrong..

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1. Democrats failed to frame the agenda for communication and dialogue: 
 

For example, where was
the Kerry campaign Wednesday morning? Already letting the Republicans define
the transition!!!  Reporters were camped out in
Boston on Beacon hill waiting for a statement from the Kerry campaign,
and nothing was forthcoming..

Meanwhile, the Bush Whitehouse was all over it.

Typical.


2.  Failed to promote good communicators:


The situation Wednesday morning offered an example of the
Democrat’s broader problem: For a generation, the party has promoted centrists
over communicators.  As a result, the party has few really
effective communicators in its top ranks.  And the party has lost
its ability to speak authentically to the American people, to raise and
debate issues, to engage in the dialogue that shapes the actions of our
government, and–ultimately–the course of American history.


3. Failed to present true values and a developed, coherent philosophy:

During this campaign we hid what philosophy we had, pretended to be
more conservative than we were, and as a result reeked of
inauthenticity.  Not surprisingly, voters chose the more authentic
party, the bolder party, even if they disagreed with this party and its
candidates on many specific issues.

We on the liberal side need to develop a political philosophy for the
21st century, a philosophy that provides principled guidance to action. 

Tom Daschle’s defeat illustrates the problem even more clearly than
Kerry’s.  Tom Daschle is a smart, nice guy who has been
non-confrontational to Republicans, supported the President on Iraq,
and led from the right/center.  If the centrist strategy had been
effective,  Daschle would have won last night.  But Daschle,
with all due respect, has not shown conviction as the leader of the
Democrats in the Senate. He has been a conciliator, not a courageous
fighter.  He has run a me-too Senate leadership, not a leadership
based on ideas and philosophy.  And now he is gone.


4.  Failed to remember that trust matters:

People respond to communicators who show the courage of their
convictions.  People distrust those who seem to hide their real
feelings.  We may see Bush as an idiot, but a lot of people see
Bush as someone with a heart, with feelings, who they trust. 
Trust and connection, more than policy and issues, drive
voting–particularly in the heartland of the nation.  That is why
it is called the “heartland,” by the way.  Many of us here in
Boston noted during the World Series how nice the fans in Saint Louis
were.  Saint Louis fans reflect the values of region.  They
reflect a community of people who make decisions based on connection,
interaction, and a sense of authenticity. You and I may think that
George W. Bush is inauthentic and a poor communicator.  Millions
disagree with us.  And it is time we listened to them, and
reflected.  We don’t have to become more like Republicans. 
We need to become more ourselves.


5.  Failed to trust the American people:

Most basically, the Democratic strategists do not trust the American
people.  They do not believe that Americans will respond to a
well-thought-out, open and honest discussion of the profound questions
that vex our society.  In fact Americans are hungry to be engaged
about these issues.  Just note what the “market” say by way of the
political books on the best-seller list,  the success of movies
about politics, and the strength of  both talk radio and Fox
television.  People love this stuff.

Perhaps the truth is that most Americans have mainly heard one side of
the argument–the Republican side–and that side is articulated clearly
and with conviction.  From Democrats Americans have heard only
palid agreement with Republicans, combined with sniping at
individuals.  How, with all due respect,  can Americans be
expected to choose the Democrats?

Perhaps if Americans were given a real choice, perhaps if Americans
were entrusted by Democratic candidates to consider all sides of key arguments, they would
develop a deeper and more informed collective political
philosophy. 

Perhaps we are simply not doing our job.

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