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Nice Frames. Better Argument.

Dec
29
2004

If Jim Ross keeps this up, I’m going to make him a regular writer. Here’s his response – and this is it ’cause they’re dissing Lakoff over at Andrew Sullivan’s pad, too – to Bennett Charles’ earlier note.
I don’t question Lakoff’s intentions I just don’t agree with him and this new emphasis on tricking people to vote for Democrats. Like wars, we are always fighting the last campaign. In 2000 the Democrats lost because of turn-out, or at least that was the spin coming out of the election, so this year we ran the largest GOTV operation in history. Now the spin coming out of the 2004 election is we lost because Republicans communicated better than we did. So now the move is to change the way we talk about issues. I don’t disagree with Lackoff when he talks about the hundreds of millions of dollars Republicans and their supporters have put into right-wing think tanks. These think tanks have developed policies, ideas and ways to talk about them that Americans will support. What I hear from Lackoff and the MoveOn folks is that we have the policies and ideas, we just need to work on the communication, not developing new ideas and policies. Because we are not developing new ideas, we have been put into the position of defending the status quo not fighting for progress. This must change or we will continue to lose.


I come from a working class family, my older brothers are contractors, I spent much of my childhood visiting my Dad’s family in Coldwater, Kalamazoo and Madison. The reason why I pointed out Gretchen Wilson is she puts voice to the stories of so many people in rural America. These are not dumb people and we can not treat them as such. The Democratic Party came to power by helping people live a better life. We have lost sight of that mission and have let the Republicans take it from us. Listen to Gretchen Wilson’s story of picking up her drunk mother at 2:00AM and ask yourself what are we doing to help her? This is how you win campaigns, not by trying to manipulate people.
Because the last two elections have been so close we have tried to change the Democratic Party by increments. The truth is the Democratic Party needs to completely redefine itself and not by just changing the way we talk about issues. Since Newt Gingrich led the charge to take back the House, Republicans have used a strategy called maneuver theory to run the party. This theory is based on the theory that every action of an individual or organization must go through a series of steps called the O-O-D-A loop. O-O-D-A stands for observe, orient, decide, act. The theory is that which every group can go through this loop faster will win. The key to victory then is speed. If you look at the last two presidential campaigns I think we can all agree this is an element we have been missing. This theory can be beat in a variety of ways but we must know what our opponent is doing if we intend on beating him.
It is time for the Democratic Party to decide what it wants to be, it can continue to be the comfortable loser who made a point or a force in pushing forward ideas that will change people’s lives.
Good luck and have a happy New Year.
Jim Ross

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