January 12, 2004

Stolen Thunder

Calpundit asks why democrats are criticized for pandering:

My point here isn't just to mock Mickey's prose — although there is that too — it's to wonder why it is that Democrats are forever being taken to task for pandering to their "interest goups" but Republicans aren't. After all, if unions are an interest group, so is management. If blacks are an interest group, so are whites. If environmentalists are an interest group, so are industrial polluters.

My take, quite simply is that the Republican party has developed a far better mastery of the language of politics than the democrats. Witness Newt Gingrich's words lists , for example. If the Republicans want to cater to Pharmaceutical companies, they call iMedicarere reform. Tax breaks for the wealthy are tax relief (this is accompanied by an example of a couple with four kids, a decent stock portfolio, two late model cars, and the dad is left-handed, but learned rather than by birth, thus they qualify, you know, just like you and me). Newt and the neocons aside, this is not a new game, it's just one that the Republican party is playing better than the Democrats.

The republicans know that for the most part, the Republican third of the nation is going to vote for anybody but a liberal, and the liberal third is going to vote for anybody but a conservative. They know that they have to appeal to the independent third to win, and they move to do that with tax cuts (helps out the pocketbook), increased entitlement spending(salves the conscience), the War on Terror (makes us feel all warm and snuggly at night), and corporate boosterism hidden behind a veil of compassionate conservatism( it'll create better paying jobs and save the bald eagle). The independent third likes all these things and goes along with the Republican talking points.

Democrats poke holes in these plans all the time, but the bottom line is that the general public is not interested in thick policy debate, or complicated tax code, or whether or not the French hate us. They want to hear things that make them feel better, not a complicated treatise on why this stuff won't work.

Cynic that I am, until the Democrats can say they can do all of these things better and cheaper than the Republicans and wrap it all up in a glossy package that makes it sound all cute and pink and fuzzy, (and most importantly, make it sound believable, while being too complicated to let anyone get his or her head around) they'll be labeled as the party that is beholden to their special interests.

Also: Think semi-snappy acronyms. Reduce the viability of school vouchers by calling it the CHOICE (Communities Held Together Over Investing in Children's Education)act.

Yes, I know there's no T in choice, but if the government can play fast and loose with acronyms, then so can I. FOAD.


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