Is the GOP losing its messaging mojo?
The latest from the conservatives-who-make-your-head-explode crowd [yes, that
may be is redundant] is the attempt to label the stimulus bill, “The Generational Theft Act of 2009.” ThinkProgress has an excellent post on the right-wing message machine’s effort to turn Michelle Malkin’s label into a fatal brand.
Fortunately, the label is doomed to fail for two simple reasons — the message is not simple, and it lacks reason.
First, thank goodness conservatives no longer seem to be making much use of the services of word-meister Frank Luntz (see Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah“). He would never try to push a slogan based on a five-syllable word.
You’d have to look long and hard in the annals of advertising, politics, poetry, religion, and speechmaking to find a single memorable phrase with a five-syllable word in it. Go on. Try to find one. I dare ya!
As Churchill wrote in an unpublished essay, “The Scaffolding of Rhetoric,” at the age of 23 (!), “All the speeches of great English rhetoricians … display an uniform preference for short, homely words of common usage” (see “Why scientists aren’t more persuasive, Part 1“).
Second, if any group of people are guilty of generational theft, that would be conservatives.
The Bush tax cuts for the wealthy — that would be generational theft.
The Iraq war and its trillion dollar liability, including hundreds of billions of dollars in Veteran’s costs for decades to come, all “paid for” with money borrowed from our children — that would be generational theft.
[It would be funny if it weren't sad to hear conservatives adding in the future "interest" payments to talk up the full cost of the stimulus bill. They have never cared about future interest payments or the full cost of anything they do (see, for instance, "The Iraq War Will Cost Us $3 Trillion, and Much More").]
And, of course, the Bush administration’s successful effort to block domestic and international climate action, the steadfast opposition of conservative politicians to climate action, and indeed, the effort by the entire conservative
movement stagnation to ridicule scientists and spread disinformation aimed at delaying action — that would be generational theft.
Indeed, the latest science makes clear that if we continue listening to conservative deniers and delayers for many more years, we won’t just be thieving some money from the next generation — we will be stealing a livable climate from the next 50 generations (see NOAA stunner: Climate change “largely irreversible for 1000 years,” with permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe).
You want to debate Generational Theft, conservatives? Bring it on!
[I'm going to consider this part 14 of my series on the conservative stagnation, but I think I'll drop the numbering, at least for posts with long headlines already.]
- The conservative stagnation, Part 13: New RNC chair coined phrase “Drill, baby, Drill”
- The conservative stagnation, Part 12: Cap & trade bill will return GOP to power “in 2010″³
- Notes from the conservative stagnation, Part 11: CAFE standards caused car companies’ woes
- Notes from the conservative stagnation, Part 10: Grover Norquist
- New GOP energy message — same as the old GOP energy message
- 64% of GOP voters say Palin is their top choice for 2012, 69% say Palin helped McCain
- Krauthammer, Part 2: The real reason conservatives don’t believe in climate science
- The Deniers are winning, but only with the GOP
- The intellectual bankruptcy of conservatism: Heritage even opposes energy efficiency
- The American Enterprise Institute: Still crazy with denial and delay after all these years
- The intellectual bankruptcy of the Cato Institute
- Can This Planet Be Saved? Not if conservatives rule
- George Will nails the difference between conservatives and progressives