Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Peeking In On Two Republican Strategies

When I saw the headline The President Is a False Prophet I couldn't help but watch the video. Turns out, it was from the recent Republican Fundraiser Dinner. Along with Voight's colorful speech, I also took in New Gingrich's.

It's interesting to see the two strategies that they employ.

Voight's is relatively short and packed with interesting statements, so give it a watch:

Newt's is longer and tamer compared to Voight's but if you can manage it, still worth a listen.

I think Voight's speech is the Democrats dream speech. He makes points like

  • Trying to redefine Bush as an excellent president who was brought down by the Dems. The Republicans have spent much time and energy distancing themselves from Bush, so to reopen this wound seems like a goldmine for Democrats.
  • Making statements like: "We are gathered here today to gain back our power and become triumphant in the next election" only serve to reinforce the political games side of the process. Rather than entertaining any notions of changing, the emphasis appears to be on re-packing the same product.
  • Statements like: "Everything Obama has recommended has turned out to be disastrous" just serve to excite the base and draw a sharper divide between them and anyone who actually may think Obama is doing some good.

Newt's speech struck me as more nuanced. I was impressed that he managed to lift the only non-controversial line that Voight made in his speech and use it as the overarching theme (the part about beliveing that anything is possible). In general, Gingrich's strategy seems to be to paint a picture of the miserable life that's soon to be under Obama - where we ration and quota all things, from gas to who's allowed to live and die. It's a scary picture, though I'm not sure folks beyond the base are going to buy into it. That and he spent a great deal time arguing for things that I think both he, Obama and all people would agree with (say, the importance of the rule of law) - yet he implied that others were against him on this.

With the exception of one comment about education, the speech was a very much us-versus-them attitude. I guess that's not a surprise, as this was a Republican fundraiser not intended to pull in the interest of independents and Democrats. But still, I think one of Obama's smartest moves was to try to reach out to folks in the search for common ground (You're pro-life, I'm pro choice - OK, let's work together to find a way to increase adoptions and reduce abortions) and for someone like myself that really resonates. I guess Gingrich is confident that he can make inroads without doing this.

It's only a mere 1,246 days till the next election. Shouldn't we be starting the debates soon?

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