The Whole World Is Watching!
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
The Whole World Is Watching!
Tactics And Strategy: A Total Battle Plan For Democrats To Take Back America From The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
(Permission here granted to disseminate this entire article)
Also see my new blog (November 22nd):
A Call To March On Fox
For refusing to tell the truth about the rigged election
I double dare you to read this blog
I double dare you to come out of your fog
I double dare you to stand up and fight
I double dare you to utter what’s right
I double dare you to be uncouth
I double dare you to speak the truth
To call them a liar and set the discourse on fire
To expose the sewer they crawled out of
And not bow to false sanction they claim from above
I double dare you to go this far
To pin the word “FASCIST” on their rising star
I double dare you
I double dare you
I double dare you
Was this election a disaster, or a challenge to us to stand up and fight? If we let this time pass without outrage over the crookedest election in American history, with complicity by the media, pollsters, electronic vote companies, judges and everybody else, then we have granted a legitimacy to an illegitimate government that the rest of the world does not want to honor. How can they show their own ridicule if we here in the U.S. don’t? We must not sweep the 04 election rigging under the rug, we must not be silent, and we must deny the Bush regime legitimacy at all cost. It is an illegitimate bastard of a government and no amount of whitewashing will ever obscure that sewer stain.
I am reminded of how many years ago at the end of the Cold War the Germans were talking openly about acquiring guided missiles and other throwbacks to the Nazi era. Finally a woman in the German parliament stood up and shouted, “The whole world is watching!” And that helped restore some sanity there. The same is true for us now here in the United States. If we, as a nation, can not on our own clean our house, then we must at least be cognizant of how the whole world is watching us. If for nothing else than for this we must stop the undemocratic evil that has reared its ugly head among us. We live in an interdependent community of nations and we must recount how their views of us are not irrelevant to our standing in the world. We must remind any American who does not mind George Bush stealing the election that the whole world is watching us! We must keep the stolen election issue alive always and thereby encourage that world community to help our nation restore its sanity by their ridicule and pressure from outside.
We can sit and fantasize about who will run in 08 or win in 06 but none of it will happen for a simple reason. The fascist power structure controls the “truth.” If we don’t get the truth out there no matter how the world hollers against us and tries to shout us down for doing so, we will not win.
Take Senator Chuck Schumer. He ran against one of the most vicious street brawlers in American politics, Al D’Amato. And he beat him. One of the central reasons why was a type of campaigning I proposed to his campaign called “generic response.” Back when Clinton was running in ’92 daddy Bush was getting ready for the usual smear campaign. The Clinton campaign was worried Bush might use the race card again with Willy Horton type ads and so Clinton was making a series of speeches on the virtues of racial tolerance. I called up the Clinton campaign and I pointed out that this wasn’t going to accomplish much because if you could inoculate the election against racist attacks, Bush would just make somebody else a scapegoat, if not blacks, then lawyers.
I told them you need a generic response that economically works for all attacks. That is, a defense that is “economical” in the sense that it is concise enough to become an “on message” sound byte. I proposed the term “fear monger” — that whatever Bush said negatively regardless of the target, he should be called a fear monger over and over. (Kerry could have helped himself by using the same term, or even the term “smear monger” would have been good, and very generic, repeatedly useful.)
The charge of “fear monger” freaked the Bush campaign out because that just happened to be their whole campaign. Then Bush’s people called Clinton a fear monger. I was sad when Clinton dropped the whole thing. This was a mistake. If, in a single week or similar news cycle, Clinton had paused and then resumed the “fear monger” charge, he would have gotten in two jabs to Bush’s one and the fear monger charge would have stuck to Bush. It hurt Bush anyhow. And it hurt because it was not just a defense but an offense simultaneously. It answered the other side while knocking them.
I explained this to the Schumer campaign. They came up with their own generic response and unlike Clinton they persevered even when D’Amato tried to throw the attack back on Schumer. They paused for a moment and then resumed the generic attack. Score? Two to one Schumer. And Schumer kept up the generic attack for the entire campaign. Over and over and over in every single TV ad they ran. It was hilarious. And what was Schumer’s generic attack? “Al D’Amato is lying again!” They said this at the start of every ad. It was true because D’Amato couldn’t stop lying about Schumer all through the election, and it finished him off. Chuck the giant killer slew D’Amato and beat him bad. It wasn’t even close. People were shocked because D’Amato was always presumed to be invincible, an unleashed alligator against anyone who tried to challenge him. On the radio Sean Hannity sulked about a failed GOP campaign and allowed a Democrat to sing a song on the air, “Ding Dong D’Amato’s Dead” to the tune of “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” from the Wizard of Oz.
Compare this to the Kerry campaign, which could accuse Bush of being incorrect, but just couldn’t speak the “L” word — LIAR. Compare this to the statement of Mike McCurry that we don’t want to go too negative because “We don’t want to get in the voters’ faces.” Bob Shrum was yammering about how some poll had shown that people don’t like negative campaigning.
Here is the correct answer to Mike and Bob. It doesn’t come from a poll. It comes from Machiavelli. Machiavelli said in “The Prince” that when a leader has to do something unpopular, he should do it quickly so as to get it over with and get back to popular things.
In our context that means that there are times when you have to tell the truth about the other guy even if it is temporarily unpopular. You can’t judge the truth by whether it got a good reaction in 24 hours. As Nixon said, “When you have said something so many times you are ready to puke, that is the first time anybody will hear you.”
Say the rotten truth about your opponent on Monday, say it hard, say it savage, be really vicious about and make sure you use colorful over-the-top language that guarantees attention in order to draw BLOOD. Do that on Monday. Then spend the rest of the week being nice. Or have one week negative, the next couple weeks positive and back again. But tell the truth about the sewer rat you are running against or the foolish public with its empty local papers and brainwasher TV networks will never know. Again, as Machiavelli said, when you have to do something unpopular, get it over with fast. But do it.
In our context telling the truth, the whole truth about your opponent REAL LOUD is something you have to do. And all this is still relevant because Bush stole the election again and is still in power. Bush is a cokehead. His face and lower mouth are practically falling apart with the neurological jitters and twitches (“geeking”) typical of long, excessive, chronic cocaine use. He was arrested for drunk driving. He’s a hollow shell of a man, a brain dead cyborg controlled by a joystick radio receiver stuck on his back. In his youth he blew up frogs with firecrackers in their orifices and in college instituted a frathouse initiation practice of branding people in their anal crack with a red-hot clothes hanger. In the National Guard he set on fire his feces and then hurled them at the drill sergeant’s house. His flimsy alibi of having since become a Christian does not explain his constant continued use of obscene and filthy language in private.
This sewer rat is still in the oval office, still at large, and discussing that is NOT an “off-limits personal attack” or personal matter that is “none of our business.”
Bush’s wife killed her ex-boyfriend in an “accidental” auto accident and she was a drug dealer in college. (Marijuana.) Bush’s family is full of Nazis and his father has been in bed with Nazis. Does the apple really fall far from the tree? Also Prescott Bush, George Herbert Walker Bush’s father, helped finance Hitler and launder money for the Nazis. President George W. Bush let Osama’s family out of the country instead of interrogating them. He conquered Iraq as a payoff to Halliburton and he sat on his fanny while the World Trade Center burned. Wasting his time reading “My Pet Goat” while the second tower was hit came after he had already heard of the first tower being hit. Yet the World Trade Center had been bombed in 1993. So already the first plane hit was suspicious and Bush should have been on it, ordering the second plane shot down instead of entering that school for his little photo-op. Then he let Osama get away. And it’s all still relevant because Bush is still in power after another stolen election. He can’t run again but we still have a duty to run against him in the next two election cycles, and indeed when his brother Jeb will be cranking up to run for President in ’08 or 2012. The Bushes are sewer rats. Keep the heat on.
You don’t have to rail every minute, but you do have to rail, if you are going to educate the public. Let it sink in. People need time to absorb it and yes, they may tell a pollster they don’t like you for a while for being negative. But tell the truth or you will always be the victim of the GOP’s smears, because they don’t sit and tremble after an overnight poll said they were too negative. They understand that negativity builds up doubts in people’s minds, it’s cumulative and it’s corrosive.
This was part of the genius of Karl Rove’s “Kerry is a flip-flopper” charge. Of course it wasn’t only a tactical attack. It was strategic. Kerry had a liberal background and the GOP knew he would try to move to the center to beat Bush. The flip-flopper charge was intended to pin Kerry down in his liberal territory and prevent a break out.
It was also brilliant because it seemed like a bland attack. Shrum thought Rove was wasting a lot of money and so he did not immediately counterattack. And thus, the first of many doubts about Kerry was allowed to be planted with more to accumulate from there. Negativity is cumulative and corrosive. You have to corrode the other side or you die. Rove’s flip-flop charge was also clever because it was the first blow in a continuous campaign segue. First, Kerry is a flip-flopper. Then, IF Kerry is a flip-flopper, then that means he would be a weak Commander In Chief. It was a gradual conceptual build up of effect in people’s minds. Democrats need to do more of that, and be wise to it when Republicans do it. No offense Bob, but your naive overconfidence about the flip-flop attack was one of the stupidest things in the whole campaign.
We need to stop thinking in terms of “we can’t get violent or have civil disobedience” when everyone knows that is not the real option anyway. There is no law against a lawful, peaceful series of marches and rallies against the stolen election and the right wing media. If thousands can legally protest against NAFTA and right wing trade policies, then the same can be done against the right wing media, and done repeatedly, incessantly, month after month just as people have had numerous rallies against war. We need to hold rallies right in front of news organization and target them specifically as the focus of our protest. We must not acquiesce to their lying and suppression of the truth. If we are silent to the media’s lies, then we become their enablers. And we need to accompany that attack on the media with a clear agenda for the media, and not just reinstitution of the “fairness doctrine,” since the media has vast and perfidious ways of slanting the truth even with the fairness doctrine.
My personal suggestion, one of many that could be offered, is that we should demand that news organizations adopt as a matter of ethics and integrity (not unconstitutional law) trust funds to help pay their bills so they are not so indebted to advertisers and right wing hysteria. Colleges have endowments. Why not news organizations? If you are beholden to base and greedy special interests and the memes they spread amongst the public, that is a problem. An ethics problem. Of course that is only one small suggestion among countless ways the news media needs to reform. But we need to demand media reform and demand it with all earthly fury.
Why? Because none of our other freedoms is worth spit if we scream but a collaborator media refuses to tell that we screamed. How do we bring the evil into the open if the media collaborates in covering it up? Therefore they are a big part of the problem. Every single person and organization that has marched against war since Bush became president and all the rest of us now need to direct those exact same energies and organizations to marching against the lying media because nothing we shout means anything if they continue to suppress it. There are still independent portions of the media and other vehicles of expression and if we start massive protests against the media, eventually people will know that the media are being denounced.
We also need to question, albeit with less hostility, why our own Democratic politicians are quiet as mice while fascism takes over and the GOP runs riot over everything precious in our lives. We need to question them carefully, not letting such criticism be used by the Republicans and their tools, such as independent candidacies by men like Ralph Nader. We must denounce timid Democrats but we must vote solidly Democratic nevertheless.
The loss of Daschle was a blow because it reduced our numbers in the Senate and that is never a good thing. But ex post facto — after the fact — it does have one silver lining in that being from a red state he had to be temperamentally a milquetoast and couldn’t rail against the right as a Democratic leader should. Daschle’s leadership is now being replaced by a senator from a swing state, perhaps an improvement. But beyond this we need leadership that is the Democratic counterpart to a Newt Gingrich. Whether or not Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill gives prominence to people like that, we should encourage and support any Democratic senator and congressman who is willing to really rail against the right and make a stink.
Unfortunately, this has not included Hillary Clinton. She has been far too cautious and calculated in her pronouncements. Too many people complain that she is too calculated about every thing she says to rail against the GOP enough. Too often there is a gimmick to things she says, such as trying to worm children into an issue in order to prove the innocence of the issue. The joke is that someone could be dying in the street but Hillary wouldn’t help him unless he had kids. I like Hillary and I voted for her and I think she is a great asset to the party and a great fundraiser. She can also be dreadfully wooden on the stump, has trouble making eye contact with an interviewer and only won her senate seat because she was running in a very liberal state against a total creep of a Republican whom nobody wanted. She does not have the skills or the charisma of her husband and people need to realize that.
Moreover, Hillary embraced Yasser Arafat’s wife on camera with a big smoochy bear hug. That picture was all over the front pages of New York papers. Mark my word. The Republicans know that many middle Americans hate Hillary, wild, absurd, irrational hatred, and the Republicans are just praying and hoping and wishing and dreaming that the Democratic Party nominates her for president. Just the mere mention of her name in GOP fund raising letters generates piles of cash for the GOP. Hillary Clinton is to millions of Americans what Ann Coulter is to us. Speaking of which, I cannot recall ever receiving a Democratic Party email railing against Ann Coulter. We need to use Ann Coulter the fascist as a lightning rod the way the GOP has used Hillary.
We need to get beyond Hillary and pick a presidential candidate who does not have to spend the first half of his campaign learning from his mistakes. We need to nominate next time a candidate who has run before and has presidential campaign experience that John Kerry did not have, a familiar, known quantity who cannot be labeled a leftist because everyone knows he is mainstream. And that is not Hillary Clinton. The sooner we as a party face this, the sooner we can direct precious resources toward candidates who really do have a chance to take back the White House, instead of candidates who are symbols to us in ways the rest of the country does not share.
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, whether de facto or de jure, need to find their voice and stop being quiet as mice. That does not mean that such a leader should be left wing on all issues in ways that leave the GOP an opening to discredit, and he should be crafty and strategic. Howard Dean made some pretty huge mistakes that a Democratic leader ought not to make. But even on the House side, Nancy Pelosi is nowhere near equivalent to a Newt Gingrich in fire and strategy. I would personally suggest safe-seat Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, just reelected by a landslide, often brilliant, Harvard educated, terrific at getting media attention and making a stink, but a calculated stink that really sticks it to the other side. People like that need to assume loud and vocal roles now as de facto Democratic leaders whether or not they have de jure positions of leadership. If the prissy, polite official Democratic leaders tell them to shut up, we need to be there for them to tell Democratic officialdom to back off. We need to find Democratic politicians on Capitol Hill who will pick up the torch and run with it instead of worrying about making backroom deals with the Republicans in return for a crumb of bread or seat on some committee.
Also, many Democrats will be thinking of retiring now because they are just so WEARY of having to cow to the GOP who have control over what gets passed. Not being able to experience the personal satisfaction of passing Democratic legislation, now isn’t that a bitch. We sympathize. We really do. One can barely find a hanky to wipe a tear. Such Democrats, indeed, all Democrats, need to be told that if they dare quit they better not come round our neighborhood if they are looking for respect. You don’t abandon your family when times are tough. We need to show our hostility for the quitters and slackers right now.
The Democratic Party has to stop worrying about the whimpering middle roaders enough to have fire in its belly. Essentially, these last two electoral disasters have placed the party up against the wall. That is not tragic if we understand that being cornered is the impetus to fight. We’ve lost enough on Capitol Hill that it’s not about building a collegial consensus there anymore. We’re a minority and the Republican majority did nothing to fight the fascists and election rigging so stop sucking up to them. Accept the fact of our minority status enough to recognize the new freedom it confers on us. Now we are free to speak the truth and start shouting.
Even in warfare, an army will sometimes back up to a more defensible position. In politics I don’t advocate ceding ground much and even in a military conflict where one is forced by superior numbers to cede ground, one should still do so very reluctantly and grudgingly. Military historian Karl von Clausewitz said that even if you have to cede ground you should at all cost do so very grudgingly so as not to let the enemy exert its WILL over you. It is a game of WILLS and therefore we must have as our watchwords no retreat and no surrender.
That said, we are now already in a backed up position that was not of our own making. We have been condensed and compacted by the gains of the other side. We must treat such compaction and condensing like a coiled spring ready to leap forward. Either we strike hard with audacity or we suffer further retreats. Machiavelli praised audacity over caution. He was right. We need to come out of our corner of the ring swinging or we will all perish.
To do this we must dare to speak the truth though they stone us with stones. If you only say what’s popular you will never move the goal posts and change the debate. In the ‘04 election almost nothing was said by the main campaign spokesmen about Bush’s arrest for drunk driving, his wife’s drug dealing marijuana back at college, the obvious “geeking” twitches of Bush’s mouth and much, much other evidence of Bush’s ongoing cocaine habit. Bush had Zell Miller rant and rave and some Democrats snickered that Zell looked loony. Bush gained momentum and for the most part never looked back while we were snickering. We need to do the exact same thing and not sullenly, but rather, like the fire-breathing, indignant, self-righteous Republicans. The Republicans would say, “John Kerry had a piece of toilet tissue on HIS shoe and HE didn’t even KNOW it!!!” Until we start to holler and harangue and inflame like that we will never start to regain ground.
I am talking about the tone here, not the specific choice of issues. This is how minority parties become majority parties. NOT by being good little boys. The Democratic Party had power on Capitol Hill for so many decades that it forgot how to be an opposition. The Republicans are IN power because they have not forgotten. Sorry if that is too indelicate for some.