Advice To Democrats: One Talking Point To Rule Them All:
Democrats are about to face an untold amount of fear and savagery in the upcoming Congressional races. Once the niceties of the primaries are done, the Republican campaign machine is going to go into overdrive in a way that'll make the Swift Boat Vet attacks look like flea bites. If you're a Democratic candidate and you've ever scratched your ass in public, you can be sure that a picture with your hand on your own ass will be spread around with the implication that you are gay because you like finger-on-keister action.
What Democrats need is a message that says, "We're not playing." The beauty of what Keith Olbermann has been doing lately on his MSNBC show Countdown is that he's made it safe for public figures to use a certain kind of rhetoric. When he says that Bush needs to hope for forgiveness (as he did last night), he's put out language in to the air that can now be built upon, much like Rush Limbaugh did for the right (and, Christ, no, the Rude Pundit's not saying that Olbermann is the Limbaugh of the Left). But it's gotta be tailored, simple, easy to recite and easy to remember. And the Rude Pundit's got it.
Follow the bouncing ball, motherfuckers; it's gonna be a weird ride:
See, Republicans like to say that they are the party of personal responsibility. They're the ones who believe that if you give a man a fish, you feed him for one day (which is a reductionist view of welfare), but if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. Republicans think they are teaching. But their philosophy is actually something more along the lines of "You deal with your own shit. Suffer or learn. Sink or swim."
Liberals (which a couple of Democrats actually are) are the ones who wanna teach the guy to fish, but they also know (as the Rude Pundit's said before) that the guy needs a fishing pole, string, bait, and maybe a fish or two to eat while he's learning. That was the idea of the New Deal, the War on Poverty, and everything else that the right has undone. The liberal philosophy says we know you wanna deal with shit on your own, but we recognize that it's a path to get there and you might need some help along the way.
This gets us, through a bizarre, fucked-up route, back to fear. Republicans have to sow fear again and again, but they don't give anyone the tools to deal with the fear other than to demand that the citizens become dependent on the government for safety and parental oversight. What were Bush's speeches last week except a series of statements on what there is to be afraid of and how we should be scared enough to hide while the government takes care of all the monsters under the bed.
Democrats need to counter that message not by saying that they'll be better parents - that they won't fuck the neighbors or they won't blow the bank account on high-quality smack. No, instead, they need to offer a message that appeals to the American desire to have the guts to stand up to bullies big and small; a message that says that your vote doesn't have to confirm your fears, but it can be a method of saying that you're not afraid anymore. So howzabout this one:
"Don't let Osama Bin Laden tell you how to vote."
Focus group that motherfucker. It becomes shorthand for the bullshit hysteria the Republicans have wanted to provoke. It reminds people that Bin Laden is still out there without explicitly saying it. It says that for the last two elections, the American people have voted because Bin Laden scared them into voting a certain way. It evokes the constant quoting of Bin Laden that Bush has been doing, quotes that'll certainly be echoed by the media and by congressional candidates.
Look at this short speech segment that's possible: "My opponent has said that Osama Bin Laden wants to destroy America. My opponent wants you to be very scared. He says that's why you should vote for him. Well, I say to the people here in [insert podunk town, USA], 'Don't let Osama Bin Laden tell you how to vote.'"
One simple message, Democrats. One that'll echo in people's ears as they go to the polls where they can see the act of voting as an act of defiance, of Bin Laden, of Bush.