GOP's Short And Long Game

Atrios makes both points about this weekend's GOP leadership sketch on SNL: it wasn't all that funny, but it did nail the the big points of the Republican message strategy in a way that most pundits don't.

Smear opposition short-term, proclaim failure long-term.

That long-term strategy tells us why Republicans have no motivation to support Democratic policies today: they want to proclaim them a failure tomorrow.

Few in the traditional political media get it. When liberals describe Washington as a town fixed in favor of Republicans, we're not talking about all the hard-core conservative journalists filing stories for major newspapers. We're talking about the fact-and-policy-agnostic stance most journalists take: give both sides of a debate equal credibility, no matter what they say. And knowing that, Republicans will say whatever they want and enjoy legitimacy regardless of merit.

So Democrats argue that tax cuts are a bad choice to create jobs while Republicans say they're great. But facts always face the uphill battle in a world where journalists think there's actually a difference between spending and stimulus.

Three total Republicans voted for Obama's stimulus, because just six months from now (if that long), they'll declare the legislation a failure, months before any evaluation is reasonable. Their declaration will be treated as legitimate.

Meanwhile, the traditional media dutifully reports Obama's supposed failure at bipartisanship.

Too bad most political reporters aren't funny. We might fix some problems if they traded jobs with comedy writers.

Tags: Barack Obama, GOP (all tags)



I think one solution would be

the reinstatement of the Fairness Doctrine.  Several talk radio shows as well as Fox News can get away with boatloads of lies and smears without any response.  Couldnt Obama reinstate it by executive order?

by Kent 2009-02-16 01:53PM | 0 recs
Re: I think one solution would be

I really hope they don't push for the Fairness Doctrine. For one, it would confirm the paranoia that they've been pushing for years now. For another, it would still not solve the real problem. Having Hannity followed by Cenk Uygur doesn't affect anyone listening to Hannity. If MSNBC added a nightly show hosted by Bill Kristol, I wouldn't watch it either.

The problem is that news shows present opinions at all. It has turned news shows into 24 hour editorial pages, and now that's what everyone expects.

by vcalzone 2009-02-16 05:59PM | 0 recs
Re: I think one solution would be

Right now the Dems control both houses of congress by a huge majority and the Presidency.  So what will the fairness doctrine accomplish other than infringe the first amendment?  

On the other hand, with the Fairness Doctrine in effect, Ronald Reagen won a devastating land slide over Jimmy Carter.

Someday a Republican will be elected President and will control the FCC. Do you want that government controlling what gets said on the airwaves?

Are you comfortable with a Republican administration dictating what fair and balanced is? What goes around comes around.

Think about it.

by dMarx 2009-02-16 06:32PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

I disagree that the media does not get it. I think the real point is that they do not care because it affects their narrative . To have the narrative of bipartisanship or "equal guilt by both partiies", one must have an audienc that believes that both parties are capable of redemption. Your explanation fo the narrative is not very interesting drama. You know the one party is irredemable. Thus , you know how the story is going to turn out. How is that good television?

by bruh3 2009-02-16 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

Well, that has been the failure of our party the last several years. Obama has an ability to mock them in an entertaining way. Pelosi and Reid simply aren't watchable, and even Barney Frank doesn't come off any better than Eric Cantor, although he regularly kicks ass in a debate.

Perhaps Al Franken will be one part of the solution here. He can feed lines and make mincemeat of the Republican party in a way that most in Congress cannot.

by vcalzone 2009-02-16 06:01PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

No- the narrative needs to make the Republican leadership interesting villians. That bipartisanship is not something the Dems are denying them, but that they choose to have a temper tantrum over. You want the media to carry the water of that frame. So that even if they don't bring on another Democrat to refute the Republican- that starts to become the public narrative.

Here's an example:

I saw this today, and thought this is brilliant. It reframes the whole discussion of what bipartisan means in a very dramatic story type of way. You go into the story thinking you got one thing, and then it flips on you. But in a Democratic friendly way. We should always be thinking about ther dramatic tension.

by bruh3 2009-02-16 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

That is why it is important for Obama to be on the road.  Every week he needs to go to places that are hiring or building and show off the stimulus in progress.  The media will be forced to report it, even if they don't like it.

I think they get it at the white house, and I'm not worried that they somehow won't get it.

by LordMike 2009-02-16 02:22PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

Yeah I agree. Happy to see him use the platform.

by Josh Orton 2009-02-16 02:37PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

Josh I am becoming less concerned about this.

The disconnect that the media has with reality is not unrelated to the concurrent decline of its economics. So it will probably start self-correcting soon.

by Judeling 2009-02-16 03:01PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

why do you think it will self correct?

by bruh3 2009-02-16 03:27PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

Judeling, this is a very intriguing point. Could you explain somewhat further why you think the self-corrcting will occur?

by undoctored 2009-02-16 04:18PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

That's so not true. The most successful news network by FAR remains Fox News. If there were any chance of this getting better strictly through ratings and economics, that wouldn't be the case.

by vcalzone 2009-02-16 06:03PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

What? By what measure?  Fox doesn't have nearly the ratings that ABC, CBS, and NBS have. Fox accounts for less than 10% of TV news consumption in America. It really is overrated.

by dMarx 2009-02-16 06:37PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

which narrative controls the airwaves?

by bruh3 2009-02-16 06:49PM | 0 recs
Re: GOP's Short And Long Game

News NETWORK. And it still is indicative that things aren't changing. Until MSNBC has a decisive lead on MSNBC or cuts into FNC's lead again.

by vcalzone 2009-02-16 07:03PM | 0 recs


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