Friday, April 16, 2004

How politics really works.

I draw your attention to this fascinating post by "Samuel" on Roger Simon's blog.

<< In the 1980’s the first congressman that I ever supported on the “inside” level was running against a Republican right after the Reagan Revolution. I was green in politics and here is what happened. We hired someone to accurately analyze the demographics of the district (I personally paid for this). Pro-Life/Pro-Choice, Taxes/Services, Worker demographics, percentage of Government Employment on and on. Why? There are multiple levels to approach an issue.

1) Winning - This means you seek to “win” the issue, you are confident it is yours so you endeavor to prove “ownership” of the issue. It is your issue not you opponents. Keep it on the table baby! Example: You are running in a District that is 65% pro-Life. You are pro-Life and your opponent is pro-Choice so you talk abortion, partial birth abortion, parental notification, etc. 24/7.

2) Neutralize - This is to take an issue you know is not your strong suit, you can’t make go away either, so you “neutralize” it, making it as much as possible a non-factor. Example you are in the above District and are pro-Choice. Now you are for parental-notification and certainly against partial birth abortion. Oh and you are Catholic and personally would never have an abortion either. You just believe it should left to the women. ( You then endeavor real hard to do the next two )

3) Demonize - This is a loser issue where you really are at a huge disadvantage, you demonize (many leftist posters on this sight do this with Bush, they set up straw men, dark personalizations etc.) thus endeavoring to change your fortunes. Example, one word (actually three) WMD’s. Where are they? He lied! Can’t be trusted! He’s Stupid!

4) Subject Change - This means this issue can not even be won it is a liability to even talk about. Talking about it at any level is like the plague. You deflect all chances to address it. Reagan was the Master at this (There you go again Jimmy). Example, Ronald Reagan was aging and Mondale rightfully thought he could make it an issue. In the debates Mondale brought it up and Reagan replied with all his timing and good instincts, “I refuse to let age become an issue in this campaign.” Emphatically adding, “I will not use my opponent’s youth and inexperience against him!” Everyone one laughed including Mondale. Skill in this is one of the more important abilities as it so often sets the stage. Actually Bush as Clinton do this well.

There are other aspects, (voter intensity, suppressing turnout, downsides of issues you win on, right track/wrong track, this all gets very complex and would entail a large pamphlet or book at a minimum) but four these embody the major categories of issues. I have time for just one aspect or dynamic of the current campaign. Usually the above are walked in step in a losing or winning fashion… >>


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