In an entry to his Daily Kos diary, Bob Johnson laments the lack of coordination among Democrats as compared to the opposition:
Rove and Gillespie have done an excellent job of disseminating their key talking points for any given day/week and making suer they have Party mouthpieces in place to drive those key poinst home... over and over and over.
This week's national security/defense attack on Kerry was carried out by Bush in a speech, Cheney in a speech, Rumsfeld on the Sunday morning circuit, Rice on the network news, Hannity and Limbaugh from their media pulpits, in print and and electronic media by mouthpieces like David Brooks (who appeared on both NPR and The News Hour in addition to his Times column), and other sources. They all were "on message" and on point. It was a coordinated attack, executed strongly.
We seem to get little or no such coordination out of our Party leadership and/or the Kerry campaign. And that should be worrisome to us all.
True, and with Kerry on vacation (he's entitled to it, I think, and clearly needed it), where were the responses from his surrogates and the national leadership? I keep hearing that the Kerry campaign is taking control of the party apparatus, and that's just fine, but let's see some visible results of that, please.
(Unfortunately, I think Johnson's main thrust -- that a piece of amateurish Flash animation on the DNC website is indicative of a party-wide problem -- is a bit overblown. Not that the animation wasn't bad, it was, but I don't think his conclusions follow from his observations. And, in any case, it's much more important that the Democratic message be well-coordinated and that reponses to Bush's smears be fast and effective, as they were immediately after Edwards dropped out and Rove launched the campaign against Kerry.)
Update: In a response to a comment by me on Daily Kos, Johnson agrees:
That's my main point. While Kerry was getting ripped by a tight, coordinated effort from dozens of voices of the right, we were, for the most part, silent.
And our response is a disjointed, poorly animated, extremely poorly voiced Flash ad?
It's not about the ad.
It's about the lack of a coordinated, multi-pronged attack on our part.
Read his diary entry for his thoughts on what Kerry's campaign should be doing. (Johnson is in advertising and marketing, with his own firm for the last 13 years.)
1. Choose your three main themes (no more than three, but less than three is acceptable).
2. Boil down those themes into 50 word, 30 second soundbites (with longer, supporting points).
3. Distribute them widely to everyone even tangentially associated with your effort.
4. Line up appearances for your "mouthpieces" in local media, national media, speaking engagements and any other public forum.
5.Repeat your main points ad infinitum.
He says that the Republicans are very good at doing this, and he's right. Anyone who spends any time at all watching and reading the media representatives of the GOP notices sooner or later that they all say just about the same thing at about the same time, using variations on the same phrases. It's a little wierd if you take in a lot of it, but most people don't, which is one of the things, I think, that makes it effective.
If everyone in America was a media junkie or a politics junkie, it would soon become apparent that Republicans are operating from a script, and with that realization the technique wouldn't be nearly as powerful -- but that's not the case. Most people just get the drive-by version on the nightly news or in their morning paper, and the GOP's "wall of sound" insures that these casual consumers will get the right's message.
Update: As long as we're giving advice to Kerry's campaign (again), Tom Schaller has some good stuff to offer in The Gadflyer, including this:
[T]he Kerry campaign [should add] to the senator's stump speech a nice little sound bite that goes something like this:
The President needs a bi-lingual translator. Fortunately, I'm fluent not only in English, but Bush-Speak, the President's second tongue. Let me prove it to you with a few examples. Every time he calls me a liberal, that translates to, "I've got nuthin' to say about my record-setting deficits." Every time he talks in Bush-Speak about some vote I cast in the Senate from 10, 15 or 20 years ago, what he's saying in English is, "I've done nuthin' in the last 10, 15 or 20 months to create and protect jobs in this country." And when he says I'm soft on terrorism and defense, that converts to, "I've got nuthin' to say about the intelligence failures of 9/11 and the weapons of mass destruction that were never found in Iraq." So you see, the President's got nuthin' to offer and he's even admitting it in public. You just have to speak the President's second language to understand.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.