Monday, February 20, 2006

Best Advice I've seen

I have no clue who "Pachacutec" is. I have no clue if Pachacutec is a "he" or a "she". But I do have some suspicions. For instance:

I suspect Pachacutec is an "elder statesman" of the party because he/she is able to correctly reference the last 30 years of the Neoconservative agenda.

I suspect Pachacutec is a political professional because he/she correctly differentiates between policy and personality in politics.

I suspect Pachacutec is RIGHT!

From Pachacutec:

Political parties are like brands in business.Nike has a brand, a "personality:" winning. It's also young and a little edgy in its self-conscious presentation

.Of course this is absurd. A corporation is not a personality, though corporations and organizations do have cultures. There are ugly dark sides to Nike's culture, and I won't get into them here (it's a tangent).People buy brands as a way of buying an identity, or at least, buying into one and declaring it by way of the brand's label. Think of all those Apple people who rebel, as an identity, from Microsoft.Political parties are brands.

The Republican brand as it has developed over the last 30 years is aggressive, masculine and "moral." They have built this branding image by promoting personalities and "policies" designed to be products that position the brand. These policies are not focused on governing but on brand placement, and as a way to wedge the competing brand.

In a two party system, you can only force dominance of your brand by rebranding your opposition in the worst possible light. They've been doing that for 30 years too.

So, essential to their attempt to brand themselves as strong, masculine, aggressive and "moral," they have done all they can to define Dems as wimps, charlatans, profligates and pansies. Add a heavy dose of racist code language, stir and repeat repeat repeat, and you have the history of the last 30 years.

For us to turn the tide, many have rightly pointed out that the Republicans could not have succeeded without cowing the media into submission. Notice that the 80's were saturated with books and arguments about the liberal media.That chestnut does not get the saturation it once did, since the media war has been won by their side. We're just beginning to fight back now through citizen voices. The Internet has allowed for the wide dissemination of voices not controlled by corporate editors.

The Dem establishment has grown up in this last 30 years, and they don't know the game. They've become veal on farms.

To rebrand, we must accept some things. One is mentioned above, that personality in a media age precedes policy. Policy is only meaningful insofar as it betokens personality.To rebrand the party, we must

1 - fight, fight, fight

2 - be coordinated when we fight, because that's the only way to connote strength

3 - play to personality before policy (Senators are bad at this. The Senate tends to bleach out passion, though Feingold is against the grain)

4 - Slash, burn and discredit their brand. We need as much of what I call "honest calumny" as we can get. Be brutal. We do it on this sight.

It's true the top carrier of our brand should be more sunny and affable in his or her personality, but he or she needs to be backed up by brutal attack dogs like us.

We can rebrand them as corrupt, aristocratic, incompetent, cowardly and dangerous (elements, for example, that all exist in the shooting story on some level). In fact, we must do this, if we are to win and change the 30 year tide. We must rebrand ourselves as honest, public spirited, accountable, aggressive and tough. We can revive elements of the FDR brand but we can't replay it without updates, in my opinion.

If we can do this, then the branding war will have turned around. In the long term, if we want to make policy matter more, then we must promote education. But the dumbing down of America has served the Republicans (don't think they don't know it), and it will take some time to redevelop the nation's brain cells.

This essay should be a Sunday afternoon discussion for one of our groups. Anybody up for it?


1 comment:

LoLo said...

I see a lot of truth and much need for action on our part from reading this. In several ways, the thoughts in this blog parallel the reframing messages in Don't Think Like an Elephant. Thanks, Ed, for posting this.