Sticks and Stones

September 27, 2007 at 6:16 pm

It’s like the schoolyard all over again. Republicans calling Democrats names and Democrats backing down again and again in the hopes that this strategy will keep the Republicans from calling them names.

Does everyone seem to understand this except the Democrats? Tim Grieve asks, “Will the Democrats ever learn?”

In particular, he was referring to the recent congressional votes to condemn the MoveOn “General Betray Us” ad. 22 House and 146 Senate Democrats voted with Republicans to condemn this ad. Their reward?

Continued attacks of course. Now Republicans are attacking them as hypocrites for accepting MoveOn money in their campaigns as in the case of Rep. Melissa Bean (D-Ill.).

Did anyone expect anything less? This is the part of the Republican strategy to build their brand: Republican strong, Democrats weak.

So how do the Democrats fight back? Four ways:

  1. Brush or laugh off Republican attacks
  2. Demonstrate that Republicans are not credible
  3. Keep returning to the real issues no matter how tempting it may be to respond to Republican attacks
  4. Keep building your brand

If you can demonstrate that Republican are not believable, all of their claims fall apart. And this is not a hard case to make given how hard Republicans have worked to destroy their own brand. Here’s a few examples of where Republicans have lost credibility:

  • Fiscally responsible? Consider the deficit.
  • Small government? Look at the war. Look at the Patriot Act. Look at how they want to mandate the Evangelist Christian family model.
  • Fighting terror in Iraq? Look at Alan Greenspan’s recent comments about going to war for oil. This is the real story. We’re there for oil. Most people, in their hearts, believe this. So when the government says something different, it doesn’t ring true.
  • Compassionate conservatives? See the recent veto of the SCHIP bill.

Much of America quietly believes that Republicans have led us down the wrong path. The quiet support comes because of the staying power of the Republican “strength” brand and the subsequent strength of their branding of the Democrats. Many do not want to be seen as weak, hippie, tree-hugging, communist-pinko, Democratic faggots.

Keep in mind I’m not saying that this is what the Democratic party IS, but how it has been branded by Republican strategists. Democrats need to keep building their brand as young, hip, entrepreneurial, middle-class, responsible, economic leaders, and the future of our country.

Everyone is fed up with the Republican party. The only chance they have for a victory in 2008 is if people don’t see a credible alternative. If the Republicans can bring the Democrats down again, they win using the “Democrats have nothing better to offer” argument.

Think back to the schoolyard. How did you beat the bully? Was it by fighting him on his own terms? Chances are, it wasn’t. Chances are, you flanked him, outsmarted him, ignored him or kept doing what you knew was right until everyone grew up and realized that the bully was a jerk.