Bill Maher used the example of changing the name of food stamps to Christ coupons to demonstrate how Democrats can win the issue by winning the political war of words.
Republicans are always confident they can move the needle on any issue because, A, they know they have the right words to make the hamster hit the peddle, and b, they have the discipline with those words. PErhaps you’ve noticed how everyone on the right noticed at the exact same moment Obama’s “weakness” is what “emboldened” Putin to take Crimea. And that’s not a matter of great minds thinking alike, because for that you would need great minds. No, that’s because once the word is decided on every single Republican from the presidential contenders on down to the feces throwers on talk radio all chant it like Rain Man over and over until it is beaten into our skulls. Now, I have no hope that Democrats will ever get that organized, but they could at least keep up the winning steak in the word game.
Starting with liberals must stop saying they believe in climate change, or believe in evolution. Evolution is. It’s not a matter of believing in it. I don’t believe that water boils at two hundred twelve degrees. That’s how hot it is when it happens. It’s not ideology. It’s soup. Just remember, you win the word game. You win the issue. Jesus was for feeding the poor. Rename food stamps Christ coupons. Marijuana legalization should be called creating green jobs. Abortion is a natal do over, and illegal aliens are refried Americans. And solar energy has always sounded way too gay for rednecks, instead say, invade the sun and take its oil.
Bill Maher hit on some points that we write and talk about often here at PoliticusUSA. Democrats and the left have a consistently bad habit of battling over issues on Republican terms. The most recent example of this is the Democratic panic over how to combat GOP political attacks against candidates on the ACA. Instead of taking a defensive position on the ACA, Democrats should be fighting back by talking about issues that really matter such as jobs, the minimum wage, and equal pay. If Republicans want to campaign on Obamacare, Democrats need to challenge them for wanting to do away with a law contains policies that are popular with the American people.
Words do matter, which is why I use both of the terms Obamacare and the ACA when writing about the healthcare law. It is necessary to use them both, because Republicans have successfully created two separate entities. The Obamacare monster that they campaign again, and the ACA itself, which is a law that, in function, most Americans agree with. Using both term is a way to bridge the intellectual gap that Republicans have created, while reinforcing the fact that the Obamacare is the same thing as the law that doesn’t allow people to be discriminated against for having a pre-existing condition.
Democrats shouldn’t run away from terms that they don’t like. They should fight to redefine them. The reason why the Democratic Party has had a sustained run of policy success under President Obama is because it is unified on a set of core principles on issues like healthcare, immigration, women’s rights, jobs, and the economy. There is very little of the policy infighting that has torn the Republican Party apart happening on the Democratic side. Democrats know who they are and what they stand for.
The problem is that some on the left can’t get past their own egos and communicate a unified message. Democrats have a popular message. They have the right positions on the issues. Some of them need to stop thinking that they can go through life ignoring Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the rhetoric of Republican politicians. The unwillingness to win the war of words is what has allowed the Republican Party to stay relevant.
Ignoring right wing media and the Republican politicians that they influence is a form of surrender. If you don’t challenge them, and push back, they win. As Bill Maher put it, you win the word game. You win the issue.
Some Democrats need to stop running in fear, and start playing to win.