Not A Bet We’d Make

Has Obama indeed reinvented the art and science of winning elections, or will 2008 turn out to have been a unique moment that suited the particular gifts of one politician? The Democrats are about to lay down $50 million to find out.

It may take a tough man to make a tender chicken as the old tv commercials advised. It takes real cajones (or desperation) for Democrats to drop $50 million this Fall on the Twilight vampire generation hoping to save their congressional hides. That’s the sum Democrats will spend trying to turn out 2008 first time voters and the youth demo responsible in part for ‘Brand Obama’.

Seems a misfire. To us, America electorally embraced Obama but also rejected Bushism. Either way, never in 2008 did we see people clamoring for more of that DNC mojo. How many signs did you see demanding “UNLEASH HARRY REID”? Yeah, same here. It’s a huge risk not only because Obama’s not on the ballot. His coat tails are truncated by circumstance and his decisions as made clear in several elections already. Gallup notes Obama’s personal approval is trending up yet remains below 50%.

Back over at DailyKos, there is bewilderment at some Movement direct ‘mail’ fund-raising. For a sophisticated site it’s surprising they don’t get direct ‘mail’ is irrelevant to actual political positions let alone actual governance. It’s all designed for two things only: (a) to get noticed; and (b) acted upon. Back in the day (before Interwebs, FaceSpace and ‘tweets’) when we did a conservative (sometimes Republican) direct *mail* piece, if 1.5-2% responded, the mailing was a success. Out of maybe tens of thousands. It’s the same now but made harder because people are in IMs, Farmville, reading email, watching video and panicking that the co-worker sexted again after everyone agreed to call it off.

To cut through direct ‘mail’ must impact like emotional dynamite and galvanize someone to write a cheque or better yet, click ‘donate now’. Sound policy, rational dialogue and reason are *right out*. The stuff DailyKos complains about is exactly what a group seeking money (or later get-out-the-vote) needs to do: piss people off in the most lurid ways imaginable.

When we used to mail actual letters (yes in the Dark Times, before Netscape, Whitesnake, Human League or skinny ties) a successful direct mail artist knew the key: it’s all in the P.S. People – if they bother to even read the thing – will skip to the end almost immediately. A true artist concocts a ‘closing’ P.S. of staccato raging threat, palpable fear and tantalizing hope. A good close and P.S. could make or break successful yields.

Which brings us back to the $50 million. This crude stuff works with both parties’ bases. Like Mad Libs, one could do a noun and verb switch between each other’s outreach and likely get fairly harmonious results. Substance aside and all that. Sure would be nice if all of us here could get a chunk of that change. Still, hard to see a soft ‘Brand Obama’ like operation (without Obama on the ballot, no less) that mobilizes young and first time voters in 2008 pulling Democratic levers in November.

Bureaucratically, it may make sense in as a CYA post-election prophylactic. When the finger pointing begins, one can go on MSNBC and say ‘Hey, look we did everything we could to keep the majorities (except govern – ed). We even took ads out on Maxim.com. That’s being aggressive.” We can also see it going the other way. One wonders. An extra $50 million could help get committed but dispirited Democrats and opponents of Movement Revanchism to hold their nose and vote for this crowd again. As the least worst alternative.

Unless people see something we missed (not for the first time).

Comments

  1. Comment says

    re MSNBC prison docs – we know someone who worked in an assisted living facility and this person said they turned off the cable news channels on the weekends because the fare was causing people to be depressed.

  2. RedPhillip says

    @Dr Leo Strauss

    “Maybe Tweety undercover in prison as an expose is the next creative step.”

    Since it would undoubtedly get exiled into that ghastly soft porn pay-per-view gulag on late night cable, their best bet would be to market that property as a direct-to-DVD product targeting certain fetish audiences.

  3. Comment says

    When Tweety praised Barbour as Gov, he really has no idea if Barbour is a good or bad gov – It’s all about being part of the in-crowd when Barbour was a lobbyist.

    Btw – we don’t like to defend the Tea Party, but Tweety’s doc was sloppy and lumbersome propaganda

    • Dr Leo Strauss says

      Agree re the Tea Party ‘documentary’. The NBC/MSNBC/Xfinity/Comcastic independent production company, ‘Peacock Productions’ almost seems like an Ailes re-creation of a Roger Stone ‘dirty trick.’ The leaden pretentiousness almost seems a parody. Peacock Productions has perfected the art for for lugubrious and sloppy. If Buck Henry in his prime were available, imagine the mischief he could have with that sodden material and wall-to-wall saturation promotions, in-show teases, etc. Fox has every reason to chuckle. Peacock’s unit needs either an overhaul or wind up.

      The idea to create a library of air time filler ‘documentary’ content that can be churned and repurposed late nite and even on other channel properties probably makes spreadsheet sense. MSNBC reportedly does quite well saving costs repeating those prison shows. Maybe Tweety undercover in prison as an expose is the next creative step.

  4. Comment says

    Btw – our fearless forcast – Dems will do better in Nov. than expected – They lose one or two Senate seats and they lose about a dozen House seats. The beltway was declaring the GOP dead last year, now they are saying the opposite. Oh well.

    re McCrystal and Rollingstone – We think McCrystal is being less than honest when he says he voted for Obama in the fall. He is trying to paint a picture of disillusion, rather than being a typical GOP mil type. B

  5. Comment says

    Boss Barbour boomlet shows the pathetic insular quality of the clique. Barbour would make Tommy Thompson seem, in retro, to have been a dynamic candidate. We often disagree with Chait over at TNR, but think he is right about Barbour- The idea that the GOP would nominate someone who decorates his office with Jeff Davis memorabilia would make for a nice Party of Lincoln irony.
    Tweety is already lying about Barbour – just as he did with Gore. He said Barbour has not criticised Obama re spill, when that’s actually all he has done.

  6. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Some well connected senior Republican operatives have been quietly talking up a Barbour run in 2012 for the last 6 months or so. Media reports of his preliminary meetings with his kitchen cabinet don’t convey the amorphous but real quiet magnet-like realignment cautiously going on. We don’t get it but these aren’t idiotic kool aiders.

    From what we’ve heard when we’re being spun, the tentative support is because Barbour is a pol, not an ideologue. He speaks what he needs to say but acts within limits of possible. Compared to loose canons ala the Pauls and Palins, he’s viewed as an ‘adult’.

    Tweety’s latest tingle possibly reflects that kind of McLean brunch party talk. Barbour is the kind of Establishment figure whose approval Tweety craves so. Plus, Tweety’s tropism towards the winners and the swells is well known.

    Assuming Republicans do well this Fall – and possibly re-take a chamber – Tweety will work assiduously to erase the last year. By Christmas he’ll loop re-edited old clips to show he was always against the ‘pot-smoking secularists’.

    The upside? Just imagining his peevish emails to MSNBC management whining “I told you so!” about their deeply cynical 2009-2010 marketing campaign casting Tweety as a bona fide liberal. Perhaps he’ll save it for the face-to-face to declaim ‘Oh, and by the way, tell Olbermann and that kid to go eff themselves.’

  7. Euskal says

    50 mil to tell the base to shut up and sit in the back and let the big kids drive? or maybe to clap harder…If it does’nt work, you can blame the dirty hippies for the loss…

  8. Comment says

    Speaking of direct mail we recently saw some appalling stuff that Newt Gingrich sent out telling people to send him money because “Our Church” is under attack now, just as it was under the Soviets. Newt’s squalor never lets up.

  9. rkka says

    I wouldn’t make the bet either. Filling people with hope for change, then spending 18 months stiffing “The Base” and sucking up to rethuglicans digs a deeper hole with “The Base” than can be filled with a big media buy.

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