CommunityPam's House Blend

Dean to overhaul Democrats?

Unless he’s going to pull up a dumpster and just shove out all the entrenched, tired, hangers-on at the DNC, he’s not going to get much done. Most of the things mentioned in Ron Fournier’s AP piece are common sense items:

* Merge political information about voters with their consumer habits to figure out how to appeal to them.
* Make Democrats the party of values, community and reform; recast the public’s image of Democrats with a unified message.
* Build a 50-state grass-roots organization, using the same Internet and community-building tools that took Dean’s presidential bid from obscurity to the front of the pack before Iowa.
* get outside help from private-sector consultants who specialize in creating and strengthening corporate images — or “brands.”

The piece also addresses some of the discussion here about the Dems lack of ability to make hay of the GOP’s current implosion. The main problem is that calling attention to the issue without something to offer has left Dems twiddling their thumbs.

The lack of a message or brand makes it difficult for Democrats to capitalize on Bush’s political slump and a series of GOP scandals. While the party is unified in accusing Republicans of creating a “culture of corruption,” Democrats still need to give voters a compelling alternative to GOP rule.

A March 23, 2005, memo by DNC pollster Cornell Belcher found that most voters view politics through a values-laden prism rather than through the economic framing traditionally used by Democrats. On a list of issue choices, “moral values” ranked in the middle of the pack and well ahead of abortion and gay rights. That suggested to Belcher that moral values has a broader meaning for voters than do social wedge issues.

“When voters think about moral values, they may in large part be thinking about the strength, leadership and moral fortitude of the candidates … rather than the candidates’ positions on specific social wedge issues,” Belcher wrote.

Dean’s take on the polling is that Democrats must recast the values-and-morals debate. “It’s morally wrong that so many children live in poverty. It’s morally wrong that we have so many working poor people who can’t pull themselves out of poverty,” he said. He also believes that voters are more interested in a candidate’s intangible leadership qualities than his positions on lists of issues. “We have to appeal to people’s hearts and not just their heads,” he said.

Exactly. The GOP knows to target the heart, more precisely the fears, of the sheeple, and that’s what we saw in 2004. Swift Boat diversions, endless gay-marriage-baiting, terror alerts jerking people’s emotions over and over, scaring the sheeple, training them to look to the Great and Powerful Oz for support and guidance.

With Katrina, The Great Oz is exposed, and he’s a tinier, more incompetent little half-wit than the sheeple ever imagined, and all his friends are corrupt little meglomaniac Munchkins with their hands in the cookie jar. If Dems can’t capitalize on this, they are doomed.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding