The Horse Lawyer and FEMA - Talking Point
Republicans always look for a simple but destructive turn of phrase that will resonate with the American public. Democrats tend to see the political process as a policy argument, where Americans choose the party that will provide the policies they prefer. They make long-winded arguments for their policies. The Republicans talk to Americans the way major newspapers talk to Americans - at a 4th grade level, at a visceral level everyone can understand. And this is what Democrats have to grasp about political communication: Don't try to be clever, don't talk down, just try to be as clear as possible. That's form, what about content? It should be Simple and striking and hard to disagree with.
Candidate X vacillated on the Iraq war, and his plan only differed from the president's in that he wanted to involve more allies. That's how a Democrat would say it. And it would be easy to nitpick to death - "well, Candidate X's vote against the $87 billion was symbolic, because he didn't want to go into debt to pay for the war. And allies are great, and X has a better chance of getting allies to join than Y, etc..."
But, as a Republican would say, Candidate X was "a flip-flopper" and he wanted a "global test" before fighting a war. You have to play he said she said (No he isn't! No he doesn't!) to defend Candidate X; no one can support X on those terms. And meanwhile the Dems struggled to criticize Bush for not having a plan or not sending enough troops while avoiding like the plague the phrases that would have resonated and been very clear: "Bush is a liar" and "Bush lied about the war."
Not only do Republicans repeat their talking points far more than Dems, their points are far clearer and more striking.
Why the long preface? Because I have a new Republican-style talking point that I like very much:
- George Bush put a horse lawyer in charge of federal emergencies.
- The horse lawyer was fired from his job as a horse lawyer for incompetence.
Simple, striking. Anyone can understand it, and anyone will see that it is not a good thing. Hard to disagree with that. You have to say: no no, he's more than just a horse lawyer, and he's perfect for the job - you sound like an idiot.
Horse lawyer. Horse lawyer. Horse lawyer. Not good enough to be a Horse Lawyer!
Try it, it's fun.