Monday, May 16, 2011

Talking About How We Talk

For the entire recent history of political debate- at least since 2001 I have been aware of, learning about, frustrated by and disgusted about messaging as a skill that Dems and Progressives don't seem to have. Post upon post, book after book, seminar after seminar tell us we are getting killed in the war of public opinion because of our poor skills at messaging.

So, what is to be done? Our endless discussions about how we speak are getting us almost literally no where. We have had a few exceptions- Howard Dean did a great job with the "Culture of Corruption" theme, and we have had a little bit of recent traction painting the Bachman's of the world as extremist. But genereally we spend most of our time talking about how we don't know how to speak. Isn't that the point. We love to hear ourselves discuss points, pride ourselves on our smarts, elloquence, and ideas- we understand that there are grey areas, that the world is complex, and hard to put into a sound bite. But that gets us all of nowhere.

So what I want to see is this...

Before any progressive or liberal dem writes another post or book about messaging and how we suck at it- how about just telling us what we can do- right now- action it. Make a demand! "hey you, progressive- go out there and talk about x in these terms." Say THIS or THAT, and DON'T say THIS. K.I.S.S.

and for all of us foot soldiers- don't wax philosophical. Don't try to impress other progressives. Be hard hitting in your discussions, be fast in your response. Be strong and make it simple- easy to understand. Overly-so. And do it now from your very next response to the insanity out there.

Time to stop talking about talking and just do it.
Think about the headline that will come from your point. Is it a good one-will people remember and repeat it- can we steer the discussion to sane waters- and how fast can we get there and anchor the discussion there. We need to stop reacting and take control. As always, we need to do this from the grassroots up.

Get off our high horses and muck out the stall. If they can shovel shit better than we can, they win.