Monday, November 8, 2010

Reid's campaign

Thanks to Maxine for pointing out to me this interesting article about Harry Reid's campaign, which appeared in today's Las Vegas Sun.

This is an example of the Democrats' need for a highly talented "minister of information" (or "propaganda"). Reid's campaign was prepared from before day one. They had material on all prospective opposition candidates and were able to use it to help the Republicans select the stupidest and least disciplined, Sharron Angle. Then they blasted her early and often with The Truth: her own words and her own idiocy. This wasn't a smear of the type Republicans trot out, but a simple presentation of things she herself had said and clearly believed.

Are the Dems doing THIS RIGHT NOW? Or will they wait, as usual, for the Republicans to set the agenda and phraseology for the 2012 election? We are already reading in the press nonsense about how there is a historic rightward shift in the electorate, and how people are against Obama and, in particular, his healthcare plan. This is all baloney.

Yes, people are unhappy with the recently passed healthcare bill. But they are not unhappy with the actual provisions in the bill itself. The very effective Republican propaganda machine has tied the bill and Obama to socialism and high unemployment. Americans are conditioned to hate and fear both. Since they largely don't understand what's in the bill, they now hate and fear the bill. Already they are blaming it, totally irrationally, for the bad behavior of the economy. Yet, when polled on actual provisions of the bill -- for example, forbidding denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions or caps on coverage, and an expanded drug coverage (elimination of the "doughnut hole" -- a still substantial majority effectively favors the bill. Here are a few of these poll summaries: an old one and a newer one. AARP, the largest and most effective senior citizen lobby, also supports not only provisions of the bill, but the bill itself.

What this indicates is that the Democrats are losing the propaganda war. They haven't been able to convince people that the bill that was passed embodies many of the things that people want and still support. Also, many people feel that the bill that was passed doesn't go far enough. The so-called "public option" is still as popular as before, even though Obama and many Dems made sure it was deep-sixed long before the bill was voted on.

This past election was not a referendum on what is actually good for this country. It was a referendum on which propaganda machine was most effective. As usual, the Democratic effort was largely fact-based on most issues: healthcare, economy, climate-change; yet it was unskillful and unprepared (see the Reid article cited above for an exception). The Republican effort was, as usual, untruthful and fact-avoiding, yet extremely effective given the economy and joblessness in particular.

The election was unfortunate in that people with no program and no desire to face difficult and complicated facts were elected. But it was not particularly historic, and hardly an indicator of the path that is objectively best for us to pursue.

Schoolkids: Teacher, is our class Easter Bunny a girl or a boy?
Teacher: Well class, why don't we take a vote?

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