Dem Messaging Problem: Can’t Get People to Ignore Reality
Just when you think you've got the voters in a liberal frame of mind, reality blows all your plans to hell.
November 15, 2010 - 12:00 am
From a certain perspective, you could hardly imagine anyone more successful than Barack Obama and the Democrats. They came into power with an ambitious, liberal agenda and succeeded in enacting most of it. They passed a great stimulus program, creating or saving millions of jobs, rescued the automobile industry, and started this nation down the path of guaranteed health care for all.
On top of that, they even had plans with cap and trade to finally take on carbon emissions, saving the world for future generations. This was the progressive agenda in full, with accomplishments and ideas most politicians could only dream of, and yet what happened in this election? The Democrats faced a historic loss with the public turning hugely against them. And why? It really comes down to a messaging problem. Liberals just couldn’t get their voices heard over the noise from their one foe that is always trying to tear down all their plans and belittle every accomplishment: reality.
The reality noise machine — with its job losses, terrorist attacks, and budgets — is always trying to shout down liberals’ ideas with its fear-mongering of actual problems that need to be addressed and a physical reality that needs to be appeased. When liberals create or save millions of jobs with a trillion dollar stimulus, there goes reality saying we’re spending money we don’t have and unemployment is only going up. When a progressive plan is proposed to get everyone free health care, there’s reality with its message of gloom that nothing is free and our health care will only get worse. And if we ever try to appease some nation like Iran through peaceful, diplomatic means, reality is always pointing out how close they are to nuclear weapons. Reality is obnoxious, and these days it’s everywhere, and people are actually listening to it over liberals.
For instance, look at the whole “death panel” debate from a while back. Despite numerous liberal journalists and commentators assuring people that death panels were not mentioned in the health care bill and that it was completely made up, people decided to instead listen to the reality of bureaucracy and limited supply over the intelligent people telling them to ignore that. And when New York Times columnist Paul Krugman constantly argues that we need to spend even more to get out of this economic situation, do people listen to the Nobel Prize-winning economist or reality? These days it’s reality, and people are going to keep choosing reality over their own interests unless liberals learn to fight back with better messaging.
It didn’t used to be so hard to get the liberal message heard over the screams of reality. Journalism was once a respected profession where liberals ignored reality to portray themselves as unbiased newsmen while actually pushing people towards liberal ideas and away from thuggish reality. Reality still found ways to occasionally get people to listen to it, whether through economic conditions or war, but its message could be contained. Eventually, though, reality weaseled its way into the media, first through talk radio, then Fox News, and now the internet, where pajama-clad imbeciles with brains too simple to understand anything other than reality spout reality on numerous websites on a daily basis.