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I believe it was Robert Heinlein who said that the greatest mistake any political organization can make is to be taken in by its own propaganda. (I am paraphrasing from memory). As such, Heinlein would surely have been amused to read the report, recently released by Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that concludes that the Party’s dismal failure in the 2014 midterm elections (in the words of Russell Berman, writing in The Atlantic) was a “problem [of] packaging, not what’s inside the box.” The report evokes the same feeling that you get watching cute little puppies chasing their own tails. Aren’t they just adorable?
The report does not hide the cognitive dissonance that underlies the contradiction (from the DNC/liberal viewpoint) between liberal message and voting reality – in fact, it practically revels in it!
It is clear that Americans overwhelmingly support the people and issues that the Democratic Party fights for every day…
We have suffered devastating losses at all levels of government since 2008 including:
– 69 House Seats
– 13 Senate Seats
– 910 State Legislative Seats
– 30 State Legislative Chambers
– 11 Governorships
It takes a certain kind of courage to write two phrases like that back-to-back…like stepping off a building because you know you can fly. This is not cognitive dissonance — this is cognitive whiplash!
The report does propose a remedy for the titanic electoral failure that Democrats recently experienced. You can probably guess what that might be.
Got your answers?
Yep, that’s right. The Democrat Party needs a better narrative.
No area of this review caused more debate or solicited more ideas than the belief that there is no single narrative that unites all of our work and the issues that we care about as a community of Democrats. It is strongly believed that the Democratic Party is loosely understood as a long list of policy statements and not as people with a common set of core values (fairness, equality, opportunity). This lack of cohesive narrative impedes the party’s ability to develop and maintain a lifelong dialogue and partnership with voters.
The Task Force recommends creating a National Narrative Project to work with party leaders, activists, and messaging and narrative experts to create a strong values-based national narrative that will engage, inspire and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats.
A “National Narrative Project!” The NNP. The DNC-NNP! A turn of phrase worthy of the late, great Rod McKuen. It is breathtaking!
Let me help out here.
One of the basic confusions of the liberal intelligentsia is rooted in a very simple, lexical error – namely the double meaning of the word “popular.”
Democrats never tire of informing us of how popular their programs are. Massachusetts’ own Tip O’Neill once went so far as to say that it was government programs that made America great. This was, coincidentally, around the time that Ronald Reagan was peering over the Berlin Wall into that paradise of great government programs, the Soviet Union, and saying “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” — which was, as it happens, a job that ordinary Eastern Europeans were only too happy to do; having had at that point more than enough greatness; wanting, in fact, to trade some of that greatness in for, like, some shoes that weren’t made out of cardboard.
But I digress.
Government programs are popular to people the way bread crumbs are popular to ducks. More breadcrumbs equals happier ducks.
This contrasts with a different meaning of the word popular, exemplified by, say, Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is popular insofar as people will pay money and take pains to go and watch her perform or listen to her music. Swift’s popularity is gauged by how much people will exchange for the products of her artistry (which are considerable).
What Democrats mean when they say “popularity” is something like what the rest of us mean when we say “dependency.”
But the Democrats are convinced that they are Taylor Swift popular. They send out the checks and the people roar their approval. Nancy! Harry! Get back on stage for one more!
And Nancy and Harry and Debbie simply can’t grasp why people, when it comes time to vote, don’t fathom the “underlying narrative” that unites the givers and the myriad takers of government checks — that distinguishes them as more than just a collection of grievance-mongers, losers, and the truly, pathetically broken souls who depend on bucks from the rest of us to get by week-to-week.
Democrats don’t understand why people cannot perceive the transcendent principle that animates all their actions as they dispense other people’s money to all who will take — softening and ultimately obliterating the need for the recipients to face harsh reality.
The problem, of course, is that people grasp that transcendent principle all too clearly. It is the principle, as Hayek understood so clearly, of serfdom.