I don’t often give Republicans much credit for anything, but one thing they do very well is produce a straight-forward and concise message to the public. Now I’m not saying what they say is true — more often than not it’s filled with blatant lies — I’m just saying they do a masterful job at getting their “message” out there and controlling the argument.
On the flip side, this is something Democrats and liberals are often terrible at.
Granted, this is partly a fundamental problem. Both the strength and weakness of the GOP is predicated upon the fact that their voters are easily manipulated and often don’t question what it is they’re told. This combination is maddening for people who like to use those things we call “facts” when discussing the issues going on in this country, but for Republican politicians it’s the perfect set up to ensure that your constituents are all repeating the same talking points in each and every one of these discussions.
Yet, when it comes to liberals, our strength and weakness is also the same thing. While our strength is that we’re diverse in our ideology, our weakness is also that diversity can at times dilute our message. This often weakens our argument by making us appear fragmented and divided.
And the one thing liberals often never do is control the message. Be it the healthcare law, the debt ceiling or the government shutdown—Republicans almost always seem to be the ones controlling the message.
Sure, Democrats get their jabs in, but they always seem to be on the defensive instead of the offensive. It’s the GOP coming out and declaring some absurd “fact” that’s complete fiction, and the Democratic party spending all of their time trying to convince people that whatever nonsense Republicans are regurgitating isn’t actually true.
Even with the shutdown, I really wish every time a Democrat was on national television they just pounded over and over the fact that the entire shutdown happened because John Boehner was blocking the House from voting on a bill that would have prevented the shutdown to begin with. And while I saw it sometimes, it wasn’t near enough.
But even before that, the entire message about the Affordable Care Act has been a disaster. Not that the law has been a disaster, just the message. Republicans, from day one, unleashed a campaign filled with so much misinformation that I honestly can’t even keep up with it. From death panels to microchips to the “government takeover of health care,” the parade of lies coming from the GOP has been absolutely ridiculous.
And while most everything they said was completely inaccurate, they controlled the message well enough that the American people to this day really don’t know what is or isn’t true.
Republicans knew they never had to be truthful — they just needed to create enough doubt that the American people weren’t sure what was real and what was a lie.
But the issue of allowing Republicans to control the message doesn’t just stop at those two issues. It’s a problem that’s plagued liberals for years.
Even now, with the Healthcare.gov site issues, it’s rare I see Democrats calling out the blatant hypocrisy by Republicans to act “appalled” at these “incompetent” issues when we experienced worse issues when Bush’s Medicare Part D rolled out in 2006.
The Republican party has done a good job at trying to paint President Obama as the president who’s trying to spy on the world, when in fact the powers for this level of intrusion started long before he ever became president. Hell, the Patriot Act was passed under Bush with overwhelming GOP support.
But now they want to act shocked? Please.
As liberals we must start controlling the message. We must take to the offensive, instead of constantly being on the defensive. We must take the fight to Republicans instead of countering their attacks.
And once we do this, once we dictate that facts will govern our nation rather than propaganda, the Republican party won’t know what the hell to do next.