Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

December 15, 2004

by J

Latest DNC Email

It is true that the Bush Administration has done and continues to do a number of truly outrageous things. I should be blogging about them all here, but it's too depressing. And others are covering it all quite well. So, I'll vent a little bit more at the ineffectual Democrats again. These were the first few lines of their latest email:
With their victories in November, Republicans not only extended their control over the White House, but aggressively expanded their hold over both the Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result, the Washington Republicans are now in the best position they have ever been to pursue and put in place their extremist agenda [...]
Good grief, the RNC could have written that. Except for the word extremist, it's a wonderfully positive take on how well the Republican party is doing lately. And this is their lead in a message to their mailing list that concludes with
In the coming weeks and months, we'll be telling you about what we're doing to win these fights, and how you are the key to helping us win.
So they will be doing things while the people on their mailing list just sit around, twiddle their thumbs, and wait to hear what wonderful things we're going to be allowed to do? Let me guess... I'll be asked to.. write a check! Oo, la, la!

Anyway, back to the first paragraph -- what awful framing. I know, some of us are tired of the framing thing -- but it is important. Here's another way to write that lead-in:

The results of the November election have enabled Republicans to retain their control in the White House, along with their hold over both the Senate and the House of Representatives. As a result, the Washington Republicans are now in position to do great harm to our country as they pursue and put in place their extremist agenda [...]

See -- why give them all those positive action-oriented terms like "aggressive" and "extended" and "expanded"? What purpose does that serve? Instead, offer them a few wimpy things like "retain" and "hold." And for pete's sake don't put the words "best" and "Washington Republicans" in the same sentence, people! And be sure to point out the Republican agenda will do bad things to the country. Honestly!

The bit after those first few lines was too wordy, too:
an agenda that will place the needs of the special interests over the desires of the average American for a government that creates opportunity, fairness, and security.
Umm. Come on. I had to read it twice to parse it. Let's try again:

an agenda that prioritizes corporate interests like Halliburton and Enron's over opportunity, fairness, and security

There ya' go. Remind people of the corporate corruption at the heart of this Administration and forget about people's "desires" -- just point out the values: opportunity, fairness, security. I might even add justice and liberty! For all! Imagine that...


I am, as always, available for consulting work...
Posted by J at December 15, 2004 02:05 PM

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