Note to Republicans: Stick to the Issues to Win

Tuesday, 10 Aug 2010 07:42 AM


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The Democratic strategy for the 2010 elections is becoming apparent: Make each congressional and senatorial election a contest between two people and avoid a contest over the issues.

Knowing that they lose over Obamacare, the economy, the stimulus, the secret ballot in union elections, and cap and trade, the Democrats are determined to convert the legislative contests into person versus person comparisons of the candidates.

Rather than focus on issues, they want to look at their biographies, tax returns, business histories, campaign contributions, and misstatements.

Film crews follow Republican candidates to catch them in the odd moment or film their off-the-record comments. The Democrats are relying on a massive game of "gotcha" to win the elections.

Every Republican candidate needs to answer every Democratic attack ad that is run. Every ad, every time. Voters need to be told the truth about the distorted charges Democrats are using to win the election.

Republicans need to counter this Democratic strategy by waging an issue-focused campaign. We need to make the election about healthcare, the stimulus, the economy and our issues, rather than a clash of biographies.

The key to this contest is that we need not run pejorative ads painting the Democratic positions as the incarnations of evil. The simple truth will do just fine.

Ads that are loaded with rhetoric trigger an automatic censor in voters' minds that screens most of them out. But fair, impartial statements of fact make it through just fine. The issues themselves are so potent that we don't need to characterize them. Just state them fairly and clearly.

For example, an ad that goes like this would work well. Feel free to use it:

Do you support the $500 billion cut in Medicare in Obama's health bill? Joe Democrat voted yes. Bob Republican says no.

The $800 billion stimulus financed by borrowing? Democrats voted yes. Republicans say no.

Cap and trade? Democrats yes. Republicans no.

No secret ballot in union elections? Again, Democrats yes. Republicans no.

On Election Day, vote for whoever agrees with you.

This is Bob Republican, and I approve of this message to bring you the facts.

An ad like this one could, logically, be paid for by either side. It simply expounds the facts of the race. In theory, the Democrat should be sufficiently proud of his votes to pay for half of the ad!

It is so much easier a sell than an ad that drips with blood and speaks of the federal takeover of healthcare or the quadrupling the deficit or crippling American manufacture.

In negative media, the more superficially inflammatory the content of the ad is, the more the viewer instinctively rebels and punches holes in it. But the more seemingly dispassionate and impartial the ad is, the more the voter accepts it and relies on its information.

By turning the 2010 elections into contests over the central features of the past two years of the Obama presidency, rather than an exposition of the two candidates, the more likely is a Republican victory.

In any mano-a-mano comparison of the candidates, the incumbent has a big advantage. He is better known and known for a longer time. The challenger is a newcomer and subject to all the suspicions that go with it.

And with most of the Democratic incumbents voting with Pelosi and Obama 95 percent of the time, one might as well elect a voting machine rather than a congressman.

There is no independent thought in the House of Representatives. They are rubber stamps for their party leadership.

All that matters are the issues.

© Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

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