Category Archives: Strategy Fail

Biden’s Funny, but Biden Didn’t do His Job.

Joe Biden was funny! Biden was sarcastic! Biden controlled the conversation — but Biden didn’t do his job. Biden, as usual, is now the distraction from what the Democrats would like to be talking about.

For weeks, Democrats have been trying to convince the country that Paul Ryan is an Ayn-Rand-fueled radical that is pushing an irrational brand of libertarianism. Biden barely touched on that, and except for a few appeals asking seniors “who do you trust?” Biden missed the last big opportunity the Democrats had to brand Ryan as an extremist that makes Romney not worth voting for.

Democrats seem happy that Biden was entertaining — but guess what? This morning, no one is talking about Paul Ryan’s medicare stances. No one is talking about the “war on women,” and no one is talking about income stratification or taxation. No one is talking about anything the Democrats want to talk about.

Joe Biden’s job was to scare people away from Paul Ryan — instead we all got a good laugh, and undecided voters got a 90 minute taste of the shouting-interrupting-no conclusions-made politics we’ve all come to hate.

Joe’s funny, but Joe failed.

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“Forward” Reaction Needs a Rewind


Normally, a blog post in the Washington Times stays just that — a blog post.

But yesterday’s post that Obama’s new slogan “Forward” has illicit ties to socialism and communism is possibly the dumbest thing to go viral on the far-right since Donald Trump’s candidacy and/or considering a national default. If you want to save yourself the brain cells and not read the article, it argues (more like awkwardly explains a Wikipedia litany,) that “Forward” has, in the past, been the name of socialist publications and party newspapers. And now, Barack Obama has chosen it as his slogan. Why this has any relevancy on US politics or our election remains to be seen — but the insinuation seems to be clear, Obama is secretly telegraphing that he is a socialist to the (apparently?) millions of Americans who are secretly socialists.

There’s just so much wrong with this. First off, that anyone on the Right took it seriously — and a quick google search proves that they did — suggests just how giddy folks are to share even the silliest thing that re-enforces the false notion that the President is some kind of secret communist.

Next, the entire idea that a US political slogan “Forward” has something to do with socialism smacks of a total lack of both a political education and an understanding of branding. If “Forward” is a secret communist telegraph, then what the heck does “Take Our Country Back” mean? Did Bush’s “Keep Us Safe” or “Strong America” have anything to do with fascist anthems of national unity? What’s next? God Bless America is suddenly out the window because Islamists also invoke God’s blessing?

Taking it a bit further, the right needs to kill off, rather than give a second life to the idea that the President is a socialist. He’s going to be campaigning as a moderate pragmatist. He’s actually logged a few tax cuts while in office. He just signed a bill that boosts start ups. He’s yet to back gay marriage. His most socialistic idea since taking office, the public option (which wasn’t even really his..) was to create a government corporation that competed with private insurance companies. Socialists nationalize public utilities. They take over private transportation companies. They shut down foreign investment. He’s not a socialist. Be happy he isn’t. He’s an economic liberal. The right needs to stop saying he’s a socialist, before they force Romney into saying it, and losing even more of his credibility.

This has nothing to do with socialism. This is just the slogan that dial-tested best during focus groups.

The problem isn’t so much that some dope at the Washington Times wrote this, (their other strokes of brilliance include a suggested article that popped up while I was reading the “Forward” piece called “Obama Embracing Islamists?”) but rather that the Right-leaning Internet took it seriously. Team Obama is about to spend a billion dollars blasting “Forward” into every American voter’s home (well okay, just those in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida,) and the Right is focused on whether or not it has something to with 20th century communist newspapers.

If connecting Obama to long-dead Soviets is the gameplan for how right-wing blogs online are going to act in 2012, we may as well just start planning Obama’s second inauguration now. An increasing number of Americans are getting their news online, and relying on blogs for their information. The online right has a pivotal role to play in electing a new President. Talking about socialist newspapers is not the way to go.

Is This the Worst Political Ad Ever?

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged here — but Rick Perry’s latest ad was enough to get this blog on politics and perception up and running again.

This ad might just go down as one of the worst ads to ever air. The premise — that something is wrong with America because gays can serve openly in the military, but American kids can’t pray in school — is one of the most absurd juxtapositions I’ve ever seen. Let’s break it down:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school. As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.
I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.

Putting aside that a super majority of Americans supported gays being allowed to serve openly in the military,  Perry’s ad creates some sort of moral equivalent between sexual orientation and school prayer, as if there’s some sort of morality thermometer measuring the whole country that goes up when students pray, and down when gays have guns. For most Americans, the military and school prayer have absolutely nothing to do with each other. Rick Perry is essentially asking: “In what sort of country do gay people serve in the military while schools don’t allow prayer?” The easy answer? A secular republic. And that’s what we’ve got.

That’s why this ad makes you scratch your head. Perry is criticizing the natural end of an individual rights based society — respect for religious pluralism in government schools, and a lack of discrimination by the government. Perry is essentially criticizing the system of government that he’s supposed to protect if he’s elected; while clearly selling and showboating his faith.
In regards to that last part, here’s a quick bible study lesson for Governor Perry from Matthew’s Gospel, Chapter 6:
 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father in Heaven, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Stop Cheering for Dead People

Last night’s debate was finally a little different from the back and forth we’ve had the past two or three months. Michele Bachmann was aggressive, Mitt Romney re-styled himself as a sensible policymaker and Rick Perry was forced to reveal his moderate stances on a few issues — namely, immigration.

But there was a glaring similarity to last week’s debate that I hoped wouldn’t repeat itself.

Last week, when Brian Williams noted that 230+ people had been executed in Texas, the crowed at the GOP debate cheered — and it was no fluke, they cheered again for Rick Perry’s reiteration of Texas’ execution policies.  Continue reading

Romney’s Uphill Climb to Beat Perry: Higher Than It Seems

With about two weeks of polling showing that Mitt Romney has fallen 15+ points behind Rick Perry, there’s no doubt that Rick Perry has gone from Mitt Romney competitor to GOP front-runner.

The primary narrative is now focused on a simple dynamic: how is Mitt Romney going to tear down Rick Perry? In this (essentially) two-man race, Romney has to take about 5-7% worth of the GOP electorate directly away from Perry. But as Tim Pawlenty reminded us just a few weeks ago, candidates can drop out of the race at any moment, sometimes unexpectedly.
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Attacking Rick Perry: A PR Strategy That’s Got Some Gaps In It

Democrats unloaded on Rick Perry following his comments that evolution is simply a theory — and one that’s got some gaps in it. They did this just weeks after slamming Perry for holding a prayer rally that sought divine intervention in America’s current downward spiral.

Despite their efforts, Perry continued to rise in the polls — both for the GOP nomination, and nationally against President Obama.

A poll out this morning might explain why the Democrats’ PR strategy failed to launch: 45% of Americans believe in creationism. Another 24% believe in some combination of a God-guided process and evolution. In all, 69% of Americans believe in a God-guided creation of the world. Looking further into the poll, 77% of Americans believe that prayer can and does heal sick or hurting individuals.

Who exactly are Democrats trying to win over by going after Perry’s religious views? The 31% of Americans who think Earth just got lucky? Or the 23% who don’t say their prayers?