Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why Are Congress' Ratings So Low? Dem Answer: Messaging

The Hill has the story:

Democrats are losing the battle for voters’ hearts because the party’s message lacks emotional appeal, according to a widely circulated critique of House Democratic communications strategy.

“Our message sounds like an audit report on defense logistics,” wrote Dave Helfert, a former Appropriations spokesman who now works for Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii). “Why are we defending [the State Children’s Health Insurance Program] instead of advocating a ‘Healthy Kids’ plan?”

Helfert sent the memo this week to an e-mail list of all Democratic press secretaries and communications directors after staffers met on Monday to discuss rolling out the Democrats’ latest message.
Helfert thinks that Democrats don't work hard enough at appealing to emotion? Is this the sort of dry, clinical argument that Democrats need to avoid -- in favor of more emotional connections?

Appeals to emotion are all that Democrats offer. The whole of their argument about Iraq and the War on Terror -- the pre-eminent issue of the day -- consists of 'the war is lost; let's support our troops by bringing them home.' SCHIP is painted as an effort to do something for America's poor children -- never mind that that's a fiction, which Democrats ignore by refusing to debate the merits of the competing proposals.

Democrats would do well to take policy seriously, and attempt to offer real solutions. It would be a refreshing change, and it's the sort of unexpected approach that might actually fool the voters into taking them seriously.

If that doesn't work, well -- it could just be because the American people don't agree with you.

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