Friday, September 16, 2005

Raise don't call

The current endlessly debated question among Democrats is "how can we start winning elections?" Democrats, long the majority in the House and in control of the Senate more often than not is playing catch-up. The House went Republican in 1994 and the Senate in 2002. The White House, well, we all know that story. Since 1980, Republicans have been in the Oval Office 17 of the last 25 years. How do Democrats win elections? Fielding better candidates is a good start but without a "brand" it's just someone trying to sell you something rather than you being excited about buying. They knock down the doors to buy iPods not Democrats.

David Mamet in the Los Angeles Times has a brilliant poker/political strategy piece that is must reading for anyone interested in how the Demcrats can win elections. It's what the Curmudgeon has been saying, although not as eloquently as Mr. "first place gets a Cadillac, second place gets a set of steak knives, third place you're fired." I've said ala The Untouchables, if they pull a knife you pull a gun, if they send one of yours to the hospital you put two of theirs in the morgue. That's the Capone, Chicago and political way.

Mamet wrote, "In combat, in politics, in poker, there is no certainty; there is only likelihood, and the likelihood is that aggression will prevail." Another gem, "The Republicans, like the perpetual raiser at the poker table, became increasingly bold as the Democrats signaled their absolute reluctance to seize the initiative." Whereas, "[t]he Democrats, similarly, in their quest for a strategy that would alienate no voters, have given away the store, and they have given away the country." Amen.

I don't know what the magic branding needs to be, maybe something George Carlin talked about on Real Time With Bill Maher, that is that the right wingers - Republicans, are mainly interested in property and property rights and left of center - Democrats, are mainly interested in people and human rights. Not a bad place to start. A sort of grand unification theory for Democrats and Republicans. Look at Katrina, Republicans are interested in the looting of some televisions, (except in Iraq), who gets free $2000 debit cards, no-bid contracts for their friends at Halliburton and Bechtel and suspending minimum wage laws for workers doing the reconstruction. Democrats are interested in getting food, shelter and a chance for a better life for the victims of Katrina and bad government. It's a clear difference.

Leading i.e. raising, is not about following the pack and running ahead to get in front of it. It's about getting the pack to follow you when you are already in front. Take a stand, go all in. If you lose elections in the short run it won't be much different than what's going on now. Let the Republicans show the country how bad it can get under their governance. People are figuring it out. They will see the bad product they are buying. Offer a better, bolder more elegantly designed product and they will beat down the doors to vote for it.

On the other hand, the real world example of a bad product that runs poorly is a monopoly/dictatorship. Microsoft Windows, a error and security-ridden operating system has over 90% of the market and a bold, brilliant and elegantly designed, perfectly functioning and secure product like Apple OS X Tiger has about 3%. So much for relying on the good sense of the American public to figure it out. But it's still worth the risk.

BONUS POSTING: Last night on Faux News' The O'Leilly Factor, Former judge Andrew Napolitano, identified as not just a "judicial analyst" but a "senior judicial analyst" said of the recent pledge of allegiance ruling that "under god in the pledge of allegiance is not religious, it's not an affirmation of religion, it's cultural and historical accepted since 1954." Uh-huh. And the nativity scene is just a argument for better pre- and postnatal health care.


Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

The problem with choosing an operating system with 3% of the market share is that you have a system with 3% of the market share. The reason the entire world rejects them has to do with their strategies in the earlier days and that strategy had to do with greed. The massive aftermarket never developed while the hardeare and software options for Widows grew. Beta was a better system initially than VHS as well, but there is more to better than better.

Then there's the culture factor, There are Japanese car owners who ignore the shortcomings of their cars while condemning the faults of 30 year old American cars as "evidence" of superiority. Sometimes there's nothing more to better than self fulfilling perception.

11:53 AM  
Anonymous BBBetz said...

If you just read the comments on this post, you will realize why you have lost the elections. If you believe that the republicans are the only crooked politicians then you are very out of touch. Every politician, regardless of party, are crooks. It is just like Bush is at fault for all of the minority kids being stupid. A majority of minority children live in large metropolitan cities. If my memory serves me, most big cities are and have been controlled be Democrats. Explain why these children are forgotten? How about the great state of Louisiana? Democrat, They let their state go to shit. Now it looks like it.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Sticky Fingers said...

In regards to this terrible natural disaster if one believes in your assumption that Republicans are more concerned with material things being looted at Wal Mart than why did some of the recipients of debit cards buy Louis Vitton bags, forcing the suspension of the give away. I would argue that a free lunch is what everyone wants from their government. It is just that the Dems think small ($2000 debit cards) and the Republicans think big (Haliburton). If Kerry had won maybe we'd all have gotten a free bottle of ketchup.

If Dems really want to win a national election either get more mainstream candidates or wait until the GOP screws up so badly that we all run for Democratic cover.

12:22 PM  
Blogger d.K. said...

I agree with 99% of your insightful piece, but I'd argue that dictatorships are not necessarily poorly run; they are in fact MUCH more efficient at governing than democracies in most cases. This is an objective observation that attaches no morality to either type of rule.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

To Sticky Fingers:

Once again you prove my point. You are only interested in the few who loot tvs or abuse the $2000 debit card and not the 1,000,000 displaced people. Typical.

Secondly, it was Republicans not Democrats who came up with the $2000 debit card which was announced, only given out in Houston Astrodome and then stopped. Nice plan there. Nice execution. Announce then say never mind.

12:58 PM  
Anonymous Sticky Fingers said...

getting cranked up;

This terrible disaster was nature's harms way, not Republicans harms way. Next you'll be telling me that since Republicans are God fearing that they had influence with the almighty to crush the poor people of New Orleans just so they could gain riches from the event.Hmmm............ by the way I do believe there are many God fearing people in the Gulf region, Republicans and Democrats who are not nearly as critical of the response as you and the other blue staters are. Of course this is a great time to make politics.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

Cuz Republicans would never make politics out of this or anything else. Right? That's why Karl Rove is head of the reconstruction since he's qualified for that and why the Department of Justice sent out an internal email, which the Clarion-Ledger has asking various U.S. attorneys' offices: "Has your district defended any cases on behalf of the (U.S.) Army Corps of Engineers against claims brought by environmental groups seeking to block or otherwise impede the Corps work on the levees protecting New Orleans? If so, please describe the case and the outcome of the litigation."

Gee, I wonder why they are interested? Protect the man, W, not the country, always.

1:54 PM  

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