Monday, August 25, 2008

Suggested Content for Obama's speech in Denver

Drew Westen has some good ideas. In suggesting three different narratives Obama could use to brand McCan't, this is the one I think would work best:
McCain is out of touch with the American people; that he has no idea of the suffering his party and their policies have inflicted on working Americans; that a man who can't remember how many houses he has, whose wife says the only way to get around Arizona is by private jet, and whose closest economic advisor thinks people who lose their jobs or can't keep up with the bills through no fault of their own are just whiners clearly doesn't understand what middle class families are experiencing.

Drawing a clear, unadulterated distinction between how McCan't grew up, how he has lived his life before and after Vietnam, and how his upbringing influences his worldview, and the rest of us is essential. Further, it's a way to downplay the five-plus years McCan't spent in the Hanoi Hilton (which McCan't is using the same way Giuliani used 9/11 during his campaign, as in "Noun/Verb/POW"). It's the economy, stupid.

Here's an idea I don't think would work:
[A] vote for McCain is a vote for continuing the failed policies of George W. Bush, policies that have weakened us economically and threatened our national security in a world whose greatest dangers lie in international terrorism (which require coordination with other nations, not condescension toward our allies, refusal to speak to our enemies, and saber rattling when we have no sabers left to rattle).

It's not a bad idea to call attention to Bush's failed strategy of how we got into this war, and how his foreign policy and economic policies have put us in danger, but that's so 2004. Further, it's a really bad idea to say something like "we have no sabers left to rattle." One, it's not really true. Two, it can be perceived (and used by the other side) as a put-down of our military strength and the soldiers fighting now. And third, it's a malaise-like comment that would invite comparisons to Jimmy Carter (which McCan't is already trying to do by calling an Obama presidency the second term of Jimmy Carter).

Westen believes that reaching voters on an emotional level is the way to win their votes, and he's right. Anytime you can touch a person on that level you will see more of your message sink in. If you don't believe me, just look at NBC's Olympic coverage and see how much they tried to connect with viewers on an emotional level. It's the best way. And Westen has a good idea when he suggests:
And he needs to attack McCain and his allies directly for questioning his patriotism and to redefine turning American against American as un-American.

This is a good way to tap into the unreleased anger of many voters. "Y'know, I see our neighbor every day. I run into them at the store, the gas station, the YMCA. So what if they're voting for the other guy, they're great people! I can still have that friendship and disagree with them! Why is it that McCan't is telling everyone that if I vote for Obama I'm un-American? That pisses me off!"

Since there are going to be very few undecided voters actually watching convention coverage, how are they going to see Obama's attempts to reach out to them? Well, many of you could visit my website and get choice tidbits that I think you'll want to hear. Or surf around yourselves: there will be plenty to see.

Less than one hour till kickoff time.

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