Democrats pitch not emotional enough?
Maybe it was not emotional enough.
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.
He said the meeting left him cold because it focused on what polling shows voters want rather than how to present persuasive messages. Republicans have done a better job by developing poll data into focus group-tested messages like “culture of life” and “defending marriage,” along with attacks like “cut and run” and “plan for surrender” in Iraq, he argued.
In particular, Helfert points to Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who helped develop the 1994 “Contract with America” and is credited with helping Republicans come up with terms for polices like “Healthy Forests” and “Death Tax.”
“Republicans have been kicking our rhetorical butt since about 1995,” Helfert wrote.Democratic leadership aides were not impressed, and indicated that the memo did not have a vast and immediate impact.
Democrats may be losing some rhetorical skirmishes but it is not from lack of emotion. Look at the recent SCHIP debate where they use kids as human shields to make their weak argument and accuse the President of wanting kids to get sick and die. When it comes to the war in Iraq the Democrats have been so emotional they are bordering on hysteria. As rhetorical ploys go, redefining the word lie and disaster in a desperate attempt to get people to buy into losing the war has to be pretty high on appeals to emotion.
Jules Crittenden has fun with the message strategies. Michelle Malkin looks at the Democrats' appeal to the “amygdalae.”