Well, here it is another election season, and I’ve had my ear to the rail for a while; listening– hoping– praying– that the Democrats would begin to realize why they simply can not gain ground in Middle America.
Could it be, after all these years of Republican (Read: Bush) bashing and whining about global warming, that it could really be right under their nose?
That’s right. It’s politics, not Earth Science class, my friends. I told a friend of mine that politics is war without blood, where the casualties are still very real. It’s all about rhetoric and what you say.
In the end, it’s sales. So the question is… what are we selling? We democrats and liberals have a lot of great ideas as to how to run the country, but we are pathetic when it comes to actually trying to SELL those ideas.
And sell them we must.
What have we been doing so far? In 1988, we simply called George Bush a wimp. And to counter this great wimp (who still invokes that great “Read my lips-no new taxes” line) with a monkey governor in a tank while wearing a helmet that was clearly too large for him.
In 1992, our great victory was largely due to a Texan who split the vote. Bush’s “Read my lips” line was drowned out by the Iraq war (part 1) and the fact that taxes did, in fact, increase. Our victory was a governor from Arkansas who was as great of a speaker as Reagan ever was. Sold, kind of.
1994 brought about the great Republican Contract on America… er… Contract With America, and resulted in one of the greatest marketing strategies in recent American history. Not bad for a newt and a guy named Dole. We may not be able to remember what the details were, but we can sure remember the phrase, “Contract with America.” Sold.
1996 had our hero run against that silly Texan again and also against Bob Dole. Dole’s message was the weakest of the last 20 years, which is why he didn’t really have a chance. Dole’s message was: “I’m not Clinton.” Clinton’s message? “How do you define ‘is’?” Sold. With buyer’s remorse.
2000 was our great chance. We had yet another silly Texan come along, but we had a Vice President. Then he was a black preacher. Then a Union worker. Then a teacher. Then an environmentalist. Then he was… a fence post… who kissed his wife. Ew. But what was his message? “I disagree with my opponent, but he’s a heck of a guy. But hey, so am I.” He won by popular vote, but lost where it matters: The electoral collage. Even now, I don’t know what that message was. The Texan’s message was simple: “I’m a leader.” Sold.
Fast forward to 2004.
The Democrat’s message? Heck, even now I don’t understand what Kerry was trying to get across. But he sure did look a lot like Herman Munster. The one thing we had left from Kerry that we could comprehend was “I’m not Bush.” The Texan’s message was clear. There is a war going, so who cares about the economy or gay rights? “Stay the course,” he said. It was a message that anyone could comprehend. Sold.
Now here we are in 2006 with a classic opportunity. We have a Republican party that is licking some of its biggest and deepest wounds in years. We’re gloating and pointing with glee over the moral failure of the great party of morality… and what do we have to offer?
What’s our message? “We’re not Republicans?” That’s not enough, my friends. We must… simply MUST… rally around a single message, a message not of a mere alternative, but of a SUPERIOR alternative. Many of us will vote party line no matter what, but there are enough of us out there that want something or someone to believe in, so that we can not squander this clear opportunity.
Sell me, Democrats. Make me proud.