Wednesday, December 08, 2004


The Democrats are tripping over themselves in trying to spin the election, spin their issues, decide which direction to run in, backward, forward? Left, right? Or maybe dig a hole in hide in it for four more years.

Here's what Gary Locke, Governor of Washington says, in an editorial in the NYTimes on picking a new leader for the DNC:

"The Democratic Party has long been the champion of working people everywhere. We are the party that fights for economic, educational and social opportunities and fairness for everyone, whether farmers, blue-collar workers, the elderly, women or minorities. We have always embraced rural values - family, community, hard work, love of country, respect and trust."

Well, Duh.... yeah, that's what we say, but how do we get the message across to all those folks we supposedly represent, who aren't hearing it.

George Lakoff would call it framing, like the Repubs do with "Tax Relief" etc. You've heard it all, Dems have heard it all, so why aren't we doing it?

What does the word "Progressive" mean anyway? The DLC thinks they are progressive. And compared to right wing-nut whack jobs hell bent on Armageddon, I suppose that may be true.

But we need to reframe this whole discussion, or the Dems will keep slogging around looking for the mushy middle they can call their own, without ever really taking firm stands on anything.

So help me out here, how should we frame the issue? How would you explain a progressive agenda to the folks described in the paragraph above? You and I truly believe that progressive values ARE American values. But the cold hard reality is Bush got reelected. Even if the election was rigged, he's there and we're here. And a lot of folks like it that way.

So, maybe we need to take a lesson from Carl Rove as far as messaging goes. Give me your thoughts on this by clicking on the green writing below and posting a comment.

Thanks Green Dogs!



Chris Struble said...


Part of the problem here is who is delivering the message. My wife is a Democrat from Washington state and she considers Locke to be an arrogant professional politician. He certainly doesn't come across as being a member of any of these groups he talks about.

Neither did John Kerry. Kerry has a $12,000 custom built bicycle! We have to stop running patrician candidates who try to talk about the needs of working people. It feels patronizing, especially to working people.

On the other hand, only talking about specific groups or even working people comes across as class warfare. Also, the groups listed don't come close to adding up to "everyone". What about white males, don't we want their votes too? What about small business owners?

Locke has a few good values words like trust and community, but we also need to talk about strength, protection, fairness, and responsibility.

I don't think Dems have heard it all. It isn't enough to know that Lakoff's ideas are out there, we all need training on them, in depth. I've read a lot of Lakoff's writings, and think I understand how to apply it, but I might be wrong. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. We need a lot of it.

Most importantly, the leaders of our party need to buy into the idea that we need to reframe and speak to everyone in terms of our values, not just to interest groups in terms of issues. I don't think the DNC gets this yet.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dotty,

I am Laura. I live in Seattle. This is where I am coming from.

I am sick of the election game. I am sick that both parties spent more money on advertising on this presidential election than ever. I don't
want to give more money to the media companies. I want to support action for good.

There are some simple things that would wake up all of America and get them to notice.

How about if a political party made a commitment that there would be no hungry or homeless children in America? Period. It is entirely possible. We have the money.

How about if a political party made a commitment that there would be no person without health care in America? We have the money.

How about if young people could get college scholarships, not by joining
the army and killing people, but by using their talents to create safety in the inner cities, educate our children, protect our environment, and stop war and starvation around the world. How about another WPA in these hard economic times?

I don't want spin from anyone. I don't want any more of shifty interpretations. I am turned off. And, I daresay that those turned off outweigh the religious right. Will the Democrats have the courage to turn me on?

The Kerry loss was particularly distressing to me because Kerry was so much a compromise candidate. I gave my time and energy and support to someone that I didn't believe in just hoping that he would beat Bush. If am going to support a losing candidate the next election, I want to lose with integrity. I want to lose feeling proud of the candidate I supported.

So, I say, stop worrying about wooing the voters who voted for Bush. I say start standing up for what we all know is right. I say, end the war, feed and house the people, get everyone healthcare, educate every child. Become a nation who leads the world in Peace. I am really not interested in hearing anything else from a candidate that I will support in the future.

Laura Gilliam, Seattle Washington.

Anonymous said...

Like you say, progressive means different things to different people.

When asked, I say progressives are actively seeking social justice at home and abroad, and open, transparent and accountable government. We actively support environmental stewardship, and fiscal responsibility.

Laura Bonham
West Regional Coordinator,
Progressive Democratics of America