Saturday, September 18, 2010


Here's Charles Blow, talking about the Democrats' midterm prospects, on the op-ed page of today's New York Times:

The Democrats' strategy of highlighting the scary Tea Party-supported candidates isn't working for them. Fear factors don't provide much traction. They turn off instead of turn out.

These voters came to the polls in 2008 because they were inspired and hopeful, not angry and scared. They need to be inspired anew. Democrats must ignite their fealty, and they must do so with a positive, idea-based message.

"Fear factors don't provide much traction"? Is he nuts? What the hell does he think Republicans have been doing for the past 21 months? (Or, arguably, for a generation or two?)

Yes, you need a positive message -- that's what all those tricorn hats and all that tea party claptrap about going back to the Constitution is all about. But the Republicans' enthusiasm gap is based on fear and anger.

The Democrats aren't succeeding with a fear-based campaign for the simple reason that they're not trying very hard -- they seem to think it's against the rules to talk about Republican craziness across the country except in vague generalities.

They're also failing, obviously, because the economy sucks and they seem to have done bugger-all to improve ordinary citizens' lives. But stoking fear about barking Republican lunatics isn't a failed strategy -- it's a strategy that's barely been implemented.

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