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Something I'd like people to think about. [Oct. 28th, 2004|10:01 pm]
Recently, a lot of people have been talking about how nasty things have been "on both sides" of the political divide. And, I grant, there's been a lot of nastiness on both sides. But, there's something I'd like to point out.

This is historical fact: Newt Gingrich decided that it was time to 'brand' the Republicans. Make them a brand name, essentially. You see a bottle of water, bottled by Coca Cola, and you think "Well, if they bought it (or bottled it), they wouldn't fart around with lousy water; I bet it's one of the better waters out there", and that's branding in the marketplace.

But there's two ways to 'brand'. There's that way, "It's Coke's bottled water, they wouldn't market it if it was lousy", and there's the other way: "Pepsi is lousy. Did you know they found a dead rat in this one vat? According to government regulations, they didn't have to dump it, so they didn't. Coke, they find a couple of insects in their vat, and they dump the whole thing instantly."

Negative branding, basically. It's not just that your brand is *good*, the other brand is bad.

It's also public record some of the things he tried to do. Get the Republicans together, complaining about the bad things liberals do. Claim that "liberals" are snotty intellectuals who don't care about God or common decency.

Was politics negative before Newt? You bet your sweet ass it was. (You don't have a gentle-tempered mule to bet? Well, you can bet whatever you want.)

But, here's the thing. I'm not saying "believe me."

I'm saying "start to think about that."

Not now; right now, you might think it's pure electioneering. (I mean, sure, if you *want* to, think about it now. But, that's not my main thrust.)

Think to yourself "What if this weirdo has a point? There'd be a pattern, right? Well, let's see if I can spot the pattern."

That's what I'm asking you to do.

I'm not going to say that the Democrats are saints; they're not. they're ordinary human beings. But, right now, they are not on a wholesale "negative branding tear". Mind: I think if they thought of it first, and were able to go on the offensive, they might have. It wouldn't be right for them, either.

But, I am asking you to think about this.

Are the Republicans still playing this game?

Are they still trying to paint the Democrats, not as "decent people with different ideas about the right way to run things", but as, well, "evil, nasty people, wash your hands thoroughly after touching them"?

I'm not saying that you shouldn't agree with the Republicans on issues; I respect their points of view on many issues. But, if you're reading this, and you're ready to condemn both sides as continuously negative, think about what I said. Is this dishonest, and dishonorable campaign that I'm talking about still going on?

How can politics ever become even remotely positive while it is?

Hey, maybe I'm a paranoid wacko.

Or... or, maybe this negative branding campaign is still going on, because it's working.

I think it is.

I don't want to be believed as an authority; hell, an admitted weirdo witch who is no one in particular makes a pretty cruddy authority to appeal to.

But... I think if enough people open their eyes, think about the patterns, and stop accepting the negativity as normal, they'll see something close to the same thing I do. And, if enough people see it, it might finally break its power.

If you're a Republican, or Republican supporter, remember: it's not your fault if you've got assholes who claim to be on your side. It's only your fault if you realize that they're assholes, and let them stick around because they're useful.

[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2004-10-29 02:04 pm (UTC)
I have an historian friend who avers that nothing in the current campaign beats the Jefferson-Adams campaign for sheer unmitigated nastiness. From a somewhat later nineteenth-century contest I am reminded of the chant, "Blaine, Blaine, James S. Blaine, the continental liar from the state of Maine." [Full disclosure: I'm not sure I'm remembering his given name, or the spelling of his surname correctly.]

But I wish we could change our system. One person, one vote, and you could either use it to vote FOR someone or AGAINST someone. Then we would have an accurate gauge of how deeply revolted the electorate is by the two candidates. How many people will not be voting for Kerry but against Bush, for example, or vice versa? It bothers me more than a little that a vote for the lesser of two evils can contribute to a "mandate."
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From: kightp
2004-10-29 04:31 pm (UTC)
What she said.

I'm the first to admit that the vote I cast for Kerry is actually a vote against Bush. More than that: It's a vote against Bush's unelected advisors, who have far too much influence over what he says and does, and some of whom, as far as I can tell, are flat-out evil.

But the point about negative branding is well-taken. Even liberals are afraid to call themselves liberals these days, because they've let the other side define what that means in the public mind.
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