home

The Power of Negative Branding

Kevin Drum  discovers the power of negative branding, in Kansas:

I can name on two hands over a half century the number of Democrats we have endorsed for public office. This year, we will do something different. . . . So, what in the world has happened? The Republican Party has changed, and it has changed monumentally.

You almost cannot be a victorious traditional Republican candidate with mainstream values in Johnson County or in Kansas anymore, because these candidates never get on the ballot in the general election.

Extremism should be a brand Democrats have stamped on the Republican Party for some time. That they have not is a frustration for me.

Joe Klein is of the David Broder independent centrism school. So it is not surprising that Barack Obama's penchant for Liebermanesque decrying of "partisanship" plays well for him:

Obama is doing something pretty rare in latter-day American politics: he is respecting their intelligence. He's a liberal, but not a screechy partisan. Indeed, he seems obsessively eager to find common ground with conservatives. "It's such a relief after all the screaming you see on TV," says Chuck Sweeny, political editor of the Rockford Register Star. "Obama is reaching out. He's saying the other side isn't evil. You can't imagine how powerful a message that is for an audience like this."

Does Obama believe this type of foolishness?

The question of when Obama--who has not yet served two years in the U.S. Senate--will run for President is omnipresent. That he will eventually run, and win, is assumed by almost everyone who comes to watch him speak.

Does Barack Obama expect to win a significant amount of GOP votes? Does he really? Does he think the Republican Party will love him and treat him with kid gloves when his time comes?

Does Obama believe this?

Powell and Obama have another thing in common: they are black people who--like Tiger Woods, Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan--seem to have an iconic power over the American imagination because they transcend racial stereotypes.

If so, a rude awakening awaits him.

Barack Obama dislikes the partisan fight, both from personal inclination and the belief, I think, that it is not beneficial to his personal political ambitions.

If Barack Obama wants to be a leader of the Democratic Party, if he wants to be the   Democratic Presidential candidate, he needs to understand the stark differences between the Democratic and Republican parties, especially today's Republican Party.

If Barack Obama, in today's political climate, facing this Republican President, facing this Republican Congress, can not find it in himself to point out, forcefully and sincerely, what is wrong with what they are doing, then when can he?

I know our conservative readers won't believe this, but I am a moderate Democrat.

I believe in American Exceptionalism. I believe that the United States has been, by and large, a force for good in this world prior to the Bush Administration.  I am a free trader, a supporter of NAFTA and CAFTA. I supported the Panama action, Desert Storm, the Afghan War and a strong position against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. I do not believe that government is the answer to every problem.

My differences with many, if not most Democrats, are significant. But I know what the core values of the Democratic Party are, and they are my values. Economic justice, social justice, compassion, civil liberty, and pragmatic honest solutions to the nation's problems.

Today's Republican Party stands for nothing but paranoia, incompetence, dishonesty and hatred. In short, a Party of Fear.

But we are told that Obama is "eager to find common ground" with Republicans. Here's the question, has he found it? And if he hasn't does he wonder why? Obama does not like the blogs because they don't surprise him he says. Have the Republicans surprised him?

< Bush's Former FDA Chief to Plead Guilty | Bush Signs Military Commissions Bill >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft


  • Re: The Power of Negative Branding (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 11:11:31 PM EST
    I am not as impressed with Obama as a lot of others seem to be.  Unlike you, I'm not a moderate. But if he doesn't appeal to moderates like you, or those on the left, who does he appeal to?  Perhaps you're right, and he's seeking the support of Republicans.

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 11:46:17 AM EST
    He is playing to a nonexistent audience.

    Parent
    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 08:18:11 AM EST
    Extremism should be a brand Democrats have stamped on the Republican Party for some time.

    I agree. While we are on the topic  of branding and mentioning Joe Klein, I watched part of Tabloid Joe Scarborough last night after Olberman and someone (I think it was Klein) said Democrats still have to prove they are not soft on national security issues.

    I say Republicans now have to prove they are not stupid on national security issues.

     

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 09:11:16 AM EST
    I say Republicans now have to prove they are not stupid on national security issues.

    Ummm.... Molly? Just on 'national security issues'? Aren't you making an unfounded assumption there? ;-)

    Parent

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 12:23:33 PM EST
    Yes, yes... Jim. we know very well how social liberal you are. You've memorized that statement  well and made it very clear many times here:

    Posted by JimakaPPJ   
    February 11, 2006 09:16 PM   

    et al - To keep my reputation up, I offer you, Muslim Opinion Be Damned"

    It must have something to do with "The Power of Negative Branding", I suppose.

    You figger?

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 03:09:42 PM EST
    jim, i think i'm confused: how can you be registered as an independent? by definition, independents aren't part of a group. if you register as one, that makes you part of a group, and no longer, well, um....................independent.

    other than that, you're full of it anyway. you're a republican, doing a horrid job of masquerading as, well, whatever the heck it is you're pretending to be.

    go ahead jim, embrace your inner republican, become one with it. do not be afraid, the forces of darkness are with you! remember, not all republicans are rightwingnut looneytunes, just most of them. perhaps, if you're really, really lucky, dick cheney will ask you to be his next target, on a hunting trip. think of the tales you'll be able to tell! :)

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by roy on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 03:40:26 PM EST
    "Registered independent" just means registered to vote, but not part of any political party.  That's what I've done, too.  So he and I are members of a group, but it's not the sort of group people have in mind when they talk about partisan politics, so "independent" makes sense in context.

    Besides, the dictionary lists "free from party commitments in voting" as a definition, too.

    That said, given Jim's tendency to advocate for the GOP, I think he's an IINO.

    Parent

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#13)
    by Gabriel Malor on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 04:39:55 PM EST
    It should be noted that some states (like Oklahoma) refer to folks who choose not to register as Republican or Democrat as "Independent" on the rolls. Other states simply say "No party affiliation." Either is colloquially known as "registered independent."

    Parent
    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#2)
    by jazzcattg1 on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 07:48:20 AM EST
    Very good post, Big Tent - however the following Democrats in name only (who consistantly vote with R's) need to go before any reform is done in the Senate: Lincoln/Salazar/Stabenow/Prior/The Nelsons/Carper/Conrad/Kohl/Landrieu - and of course the biggest cheerleader for the Bankruptcy "Reform" - Biden....not until the trash is taken out will there be any meaningful opposition party/oversight.

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 08:15:21 AM EST
    the hyperbole surrounding mr. obama is just that. perhaps, when he's actually done something substantive, talk of him as a potential presidential candidate can be taken seriously. his mere existence isn't.

    until then, this talk is premature at best, arrogant at worst. outside of his district and the beltway, i submit 99% of the voting population can't tell obama from osama.

    when the democratic party takes control of the political conversation from the republicans, they might have a chance to win. however, at present, they, like the washington redskins, will continue to find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#19)
    by Repack Rider on Wed Oct 18, 2006 at 12:11:50 AM EST
    Obama is intelligent, eloquent, charismatic, and unfortunately, utterly lacking in leadership ability.

    Kind of like Bush, except for the intelligence, eloquence and charisma.

    A leader leads, and does not need anyone to tell him/her to do it.  I don't think Obama got the gene for passion, which is essential to leadership.

    Parent

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#6)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 09:17:05 AM EST
    Molly Bloom writes:

    I say Republicans now have to prove they are not stupid on national security issues.

    I just viewed the AOL home page which is carrying the AP story about Lynne Stewart. Despite a very favorable story, the associated poll shows 83% saying that the sentence is too light. Now the poll is just a straw poll, but I'd say the results are accurate.

    The Repubs will make a big deal about this. They will point out who appointed the judge, Clinton I think, and they will make the case that Demos can't be trusted.

    In the meantime the Demos won't say a word against the sentence, but they will proclaim how they are protecting your rights.

    Molly, people see and hear, and they remember. The conviction of Stewart and the light sentence does two things. It energizes the Repub base and it proves their claim that the Demos are weak on defense. The Left will have made their point.

    As I recall the Repubs (none / 0) (#16)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 07:00:33 PM EST
    made a big deal out of WMD in Iraq too...

    Jim, you are reduced to reciting unscientific internet polls... maybe you should just give up?

    BTW have you started heading for high ground yet? I understand there is a tsunami brewin'...

    Parent

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#7)
    by Edger on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 09:28:08 AM EST
    Yes, the republican base is so energized.

    Something to do with negative branding, perhaps?

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 11:24:59 AM EST
    edger - Yes, the Repubs have successfully managed to connect liberals with the Far Left. And that's a shame, because Liberals are not automatically members of the Far Left.... in fact, true liberals are definitely not members of the Far Left... and Liberals are not automatically Demos....or Repubs..

    I, for example, am a social liberal, registered Indpendant..

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 05:33:25 PM EST
    Edger - Nice to see that you are again claiming that radical Moslems and America are moral equals.

    cpinva - Yes, there is a bit of Catch 22 there, but I would remind you that Independents have no party meetings, no platform... As for your comment re me being am IINO I can only note, again, that I have commented in favor of a variety of issues that good social liberal Democrats used to be for.

    But please, don't let facts get in your way. You never do.

    roy - I think it was in '68 that I became old enough to see that the Demos had become a group of Far Left wingers who, by and large had left us folks who believe in a strong national defense I favor of a policy of appeasement...

    I did, to my ever lasting shame, give Jimmy Carter a chance. Of which he immediately threw away.

    Gabe - They know. They just don't want to admit.


    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#15)
    by jondee on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 06:52:21 PM EST
    A group of Far Left wingers    

    I doubt there's a reputable teacher of American   history in the country that would concur with    assessment from the pre-literate Fox/Talk Radio  complex. Your flag decal wont get you into       heavan anymore Jim.  

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 08:50:33 PM EST
    jondee - As insightful as ever..

    How ya been? Was the food good??

    ;-)

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#18)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Oct 17, 2006 at 08:51:52 PM EST
    oh yeah.. I doubt there is a reputable teacher of American History left...

    Re: The Power of Negative Branding (none / 0) (#20)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 19, 2006 at 06:47:37 PM EST
    Who would you know?

    I remember the reaction to the Dem convention in '68 : definatly a sign that "the far Left" had taken over the party: about as much as the Paris  peace talks were a sign that they'd infiltrated   the Republicans.

    There's reality and then there's that cartoon reel running over and over and your mind Jim.