Monday, March 27, 2006


The Difference Between Republican and Democratic Strategists

Consider the recent controversy over immigration reform. Democrats have an opportunity to win back the votes of socially conservative Catholics, for example, by taking a strong stance against any "reform" that goes against the teachings, e.g., of the Catholic church, on how to treat "the least of them".

Will Democrats take a stong stand?

If the Republicans were in this position, their strategists would say "hmmm ... here is a chance to win back the support of a large group of people who now don't support our party -- let's take a strong stand, wrap it in moral language, and who cares if we drive some people away with our stand -- you can't please everyone, eh?".

OTOH, for so long the Democratic strategy has been "we can't afford to drive anyone away" ... but if you are so afraid of driving people away that you cannot take a strong stand on issues, why would people support you?

Of course, part of the problem is the media and the IOKIYAR ethos: when Democrats take strong stands that might drive people away, the media types fret and fret about the Democrats being out of touch with the mainstream ... and the mainstream of America hears the so-called liberal media types fretting and says "wow ... if even the elite media is worried about the Democrats being out of touch, they must really be out of touch!" and is driven away. Whereas the abuse of wedge issues by the Republicans is spun as a sign of their moral courage and connection to "heartland values" whereby the mainstream thinks "if even those elite media types view the Republicans as moral, they must be moral".

Still, if the Democrats were not so afraid of their collective shadow, the media might stop acting as if the Democrats ought to be afraid of their collective shadow if they want to win (while at the same time, they criticize the Dems for not taking any strong stands!) -- and if the Dems. are less afraid ("the only thing we have to fear is fear itself" ?) and the media stops acting as if the Dems. ought to be afraid, maybe the Dems. will win.

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