Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Stupid Democrats or Biased NPR?

Or both? ...

NPR did a whole segment on the energy bill this morning. They played more clips of Republicans than Democrats. And whenever you heard a Democrat, the Democrat was talking about "sausage making" rather than what they actually want in the energy bill whilst the Republicans were talking about why they were opposing the Democrats' bills.

Was NPR biased in how they selected statements to play in this story? If so, shame on them. OTOH, even if NPR was biased, if Democrats didn't talk about sausage making (*) but rather talked about "policy" (TM), NPR wouldn't be able to play statements such that the Republicans come off as sincerely interested in policy while the Democrats come off as only being interested in politics and hence being political: people don't care about sausage making, they care about what you want to do. And yet the only time in the story I heard any Democrat talk about what she was going to accomplish was an HRC campaign commercial (which everybody'll figure is a lie since it's a frickin' campaign comercial and everyone knows politicians lie to get elected!).

I know, Democrats will point out "well, if we did talk policy, we'd bore everyone to death as well as give the GOP more statements they could distort and use against us" -- well, that's true. But note that I didn't say Dems. should talk about policy ... I said they should talk about "policy"(TM) ... with quotes and a (TM). Democrats need to learn how to craft talking points and how to bloody stick on message. Democrats are afraid of appearing more partisan and political? Well, ironically, it is by actually being partisan and political and forcing everyone in the party to stay on a politically in tune message that one appears less partisan and political.

The GOoPers have their talking points they repeat: while some Dems. talk how they'll throw bombs whilst making sausage and others talk "compromise" and complain about the partisanship of the former group. Now pretend you're hearing all this over the radio or TeeVee -- which appears more partisan and political? The party which talks about what they'll do? Or the party which is always talking about sausage making? Of course we know which one actually requires more party discipline and politicking -- but politics is about appearance. Nu? Why can't the Dems. learn how to play that game? I know ... I know, pretending it's a game is the GOP frame anyway while Dems., who actually believe the political process can accomplish something, are loath to treat it like a game. But unless you play the game, you can't win ... the Democrats'll have as much of a winning record as Homey the Clown if they refuse to learn how to communicate to the American people.

And if we do believe the political process can do some good, shouldn't we learn to engage it so we can do that good? Otherwise, we make matters worse for ourselves, if only because our haughtiness about politicking comes off as "elitist". Remember a lot of hatred of the "liberal media" occurs simply because of how the GOoPers have defined liberal -- we need to redefine liberal ... but that's a whole 'nother topic entirely ... we liberals do have a problem staying on message, don't we?

(*talking meta-politics to pundits is good, though -- pundits love to feel like they're "in" on the strategy ... but there is a difference between talking meta-politics to pundits and including details of sausage making in statements about specific bills)

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