Tag Archives: spin

Like Them or Not, They Do Know How to Message

Depending on the programs you watch on television – or the media avenue of your choice, it is hard not to have seen the commercials produced by the National Rifle Association (NRA). They are well crafted and thought provoking. In fact, if they didn’t include the final branding of the NRA in their closes, even the liberal Democrats amongst us would be hard pressed to find anything to object about in their messages. Without a doubt, the NRA knows how to communicate to the average American. So, why hasn’t the Republican National Committee (RNC) learned from the NRA’s effort?

One of the most paralyzing deficiencies of the Republican brand is the fact – the fact – that they couldn’t brand their way out a wet paper bag. Never mind their other short-comings – the combating of the Progressives’ individual targeting of voters with another old, crusty get-out-the-vote effort, or insisting on attacking a core constituency of the GOP in the TEA Party, or failing to reach out effectively to the Libertarians – messaging has, and most likely always will be, the GOP’s Achilles heel. When compared to the Progressive messaging apparatus, or the Democrat spin machine, the RNC comes in a distant fourth, behind the Progressives and Democrats, and trailing the public awareness campaign for the retirement home for blind squirrels. I won’t even get into how they fair against the Islamic State.

But the NRA has struck a chord. They have crafted thirteen segments, each addressing an issue that has become problematic in a nation that is supposed to sanctify opportunity, individualism, justice and liberty. In each, they state facts and make an argument, something inside-the-beltway 30-something “strategists” obviously ignored during “spin class” when they navigated their ways through “establishment Republican school.”

The issues include:

Anger: The rage that is infecting our society
Courage: The unethical, the cowardly and the apathetic
The Golden Rule: The self-serving element of our society
Honest Broker: The culture of deception and spin
Media Dishonesty: The failure of the free press
Mom & Dad: The abandonment of parental responsibility
Money: The tyranny of the oligarchic elite
Neighbor: The demise of the neighborhood
Privacy: The encroachment of government on privacy
Safety: The failure of government to protect its citizenry
Selective Law Enforcement: The Balkanization of our society through legislation
Service: The government’s betrayal of the US military and veterans
Speech: The attack on free speech and thought
Work Ethic: The culture malaise of celebrity worship and sloth

After spending just thirteen short minutes viewing these commercials – these indictments, it is hard not to see that our society has devolved into much less than what was bequeathed to us from just the generation before. We are rife with apathy, egotism, entitlement and falsely elevated self-esteem. We are far from the people our Founders and Framers were (and no that’s not a good thing) and closer to the dependent Socialists that the Progressive Movement quests for us to be. We exist on the precipice of the completion of the fundamental transformation that then-Senator Barack Obama spoke of five days before the 2008 General Election.

And who stands between our demise and our road to recovery? What group stands as champion to the freedoms and liberties left to us by our forefathers; paid for with blood and treasure of free men? The modern day Republican Party, a group of beltway insiders who have no talent – and no desire to obtain or exploit those who possess that talent – for communicating to the citizenry.

For almost two generations now, Progressives and Liberal Democrats have understood the power and the necessity for controlling the narrative. The “spin doctor” the “pundit” and the “strategist,” are all byproducts of a quest to control the narrative; to message effectively with the people. Progressives have known from the days of Woodrow Wilson that messaging that targets peoples’ emotions or the individual’s financial wherewithal – whether it’s to promise “a chicken in every pot” or to fear-monger about war and big business – is not only motivating, it is effective in moving the populace to vote a certain way, especially the non-engaged and no- and low-information demographic. The Republicans, but for a very few bright spots in history, have been dismal at learning this lesson and exist as followers when it comes to innovations in communicating.

Is it too much to wish for that the media gurus of the RNC would exhibit some humility in contacting the marketing firm that produced the NRA’s media campaign so as to gather knowledge on how to affect emotion in their messaging ahead of the 2014 and 2016 elections?

The results of the 2012 General election prove that the RNC media team needs some continuing education in Messaging 101. They should have been out in front of this election cycle with an NRA-styled messaging campaign three months ago. But then, we are talking about a small group of people who turned a potent TEA Party revolution, born of the tenets of the original Republican Charter, into an internal confrontation between a small group of elitist inside-the-beltway oligarchs and the rest of the entire Conservative demographic.

To borrow from the NRA campaign:

“Hey, RNC leadership, we are the 55 million members of the Republican Party. If you’re one of the good guys too, then join us.”

Debt Ceiling Deal and Spin

Debt Ceiling Deal and Spin

The Debt Ceiling Deal

On August 2, 2011, President Barack Obama signed the Budget Control Act, hours after the Senate approved the bill. The bill will raise the debt ceiling by as much as $2.4 trillion. The bill does not cut spending – it will continue to increase, but will cut future spending increases. The bill will (hopefully) cut $900 billion of $7-8 trillion in projected deficit spending increases over the next 10 years. It also establishes a 12-member super-committee of Congress charged with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in savings. If that committee fails, the “trigger” that cuts $1.2 trillion ($600 billion from the military budget and domestic programs budget) is enacted.

Said President Obama of the bill, “a compromise to reduce the deficit and avert a default that would have devastated our economy.” The “devastation” Obama spoke of is a government that must operate on a balanced budget. Obama said after the Senate passes the bill that he didn’t really want the government to move toward a balanced budget. He said that it constituted “an important first step to insuring that as a nation we live within our means, yet it also allows us to keep making key investments in things like education and research that lead to new jobs and assures that we are not cutting too abruptly while the economy is still fragile.”

MSM Spin

Democrats will use their buddies in the MSM to portray the Republicans as evil. Republicans will be portrayed as uncooperative. The MSM says that a deal will be the ultimate measure of success, suggesting that the public can now expect harmony in our government, smooth and cooperative functioning to get things done.

Many major national newspapers are playing the same tune on Tuesday as they worry about how the spending “cuts” in the debt-ceiling deal will harm the economy. From the Washington Post, we learn that the deal will avert a financial crisis, but also threaten to aggravate the problems facing the U.S. economy, including high unemployment and weak demand. The deal will lift the cloud of uncertainty over the economy. The deal could help free the nation from what is becoming a crushing national debt. The deal could endanger the anemic economic recovery. From the Wall Street Journal, we learn that the deal will cause a mild drag on U.S. economic growth in the coming year, coming at a time when the recovery remains fragile. From the Los Angeles Times, The plan will be a tough sell if the economy stalls, because reduced government spending can further slow growth. “There is nothing in these new plans to generate strong growth,” says Nigel Gault, chief economist at IHS Global Insight. “In fact, they could weaken growth,” resulting in lower tax revenues and making the deficit worse.

Republicans’ Spin

The Republicans will mislead you by celebrating a victory. Months ago president Obama demanded a “clean” bill that would increase in the debt ceiling, meaning without any conditions that required spending cuts. But Republicans refused to budge. They will frame a debt-ceiling agreement as largely giving them what they wanted in a debt deal. Said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Sunday on CBS’ Face The Nation (before the deal was finalized), “I don’t think we’ve been hurt at all. The American people wanted us to do something about out-of-control spending and … the debt ceiling is going to produce what many people would believe is a complete change in the trajectory of the federal government beginning to get spending under control.”

Said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on ABC’s This Week, Republicans could declare victory given the fact that no new tax increases will be included in the deal. “From the Republican Party’s point of view, I think we can declare victory in a limited fashion. This is the first time in my lifetime that I know of that we’re paying for future debt increases dollar for dollar, and that would not have happened without the 2010 election.”

Democrats’ Spin

Senate Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Sunday on Face the Nation, “Democrats have shown throughout this debate a willingness to compromise. There are people on the left who would probably say ‘no cuts,’ but they haven’t been able to have their way within our caucuses, whereas this hard right group seems to get its way all the time.”

The White House is basing this deal on the premise that they will stand firm next time on the exact same economic and political points that they were not able to stand firm on this time. Said Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) siding with liberals who focused on the cuts to programs and lack of additional tax revenue to soften the blow, “I do not believe this proposal is a fair, well thought out, or balanced deal for our fragile economy or the millions of middle-class families struggling to make ends meet.” Mrs. Gillibrand, explaining her “no” vote, complained that the deal was reached behind closed doors and that it “reduces the deficit mainly on the backs of middle class families that will see the impact of reduced federal spending.”

From The Daily Kos,

The debt deal announced today is a victory for bipartisan compromise, for the economy and for the American people. The agreement:

  • Removes the cloud of uncertainty over our economy at this critical time, by ensuring that no one will be able to use the threat of the nation’s first default now, or in only a few months, for political gain;
  • Locks in a down payment on significant deficit reduction, with savings from both domestic and Pentagon spending, and is designed to protect crucial investments like aid for college students;
  • Establishes a bipartisan process to seek a balanced approach to larger deficit reduction through entitlement and tax reform;
  • Deploys an enforcement mechanism that gives all sides an incentive to reach bipartisan compromise on historic deficit reduction, while protecting Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low-income programs;
  • Stays true to the President’s commitment to shared sacrifice by preventing the middle class, seniors and those who are most vulnerable from shouldering the burden of deficit reduction. The President did not agree to any entitlement reforms outside of the context of a bipartisan committee process where tax reform will be on the table and the President will insist on shared sacrifice from the most well-off and those with the most indefensible tax breaks.


So, be aware of what the Debt Ceiling Deal is and that you are being spun. And the spin is going to continue for some time. And as Joseph C. Wilson, a former US diplomat best known for his 2002 trip to Niger to investigate allegations that Saddam Hussein was attempting to purchase yellowcake uranium, and husband of Valerie Plame, said, “The spin overwhelms the substance.”

But that’s just my opinion!.