Magazine | April 19, 2010, Issue

Proposal for Consulting Contract

TO: Democratic Party November ’12 Stakeholders

FROM: MessageMakers™

RE: Midterm Positioning

Greetings!

We here at MessageMakers™ are excited and enthused about the midterm elections and the wonderful things in store for the Democratic party!

What’s that you say? We’re nuts?

We don’t think so.

We here at MessageMakers™ have a world-class staff of campaign-strategy and message experts — together, we’ve managed some of the biggest and most successful campaigns ever, and we’re eager to get started!

We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Gosh, gang at MessageMakers™, how do we get started when we’re way down in the polls and have a president with an approval in the 40s?”

This is a good question.

The traditional strategy is, go negative. Pick apart your opponent. Drive up his negative numbers. Get in there and fling some mud and some slime and some really nasty stuff to take the shine off of the pretty boy heading for your seat.

We know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking: “Okay, gang at MessageMakers™, please tell me who, exactly, we can go after right this moment, so early in the process.”

The truth is, we here at MessageMakers™ have done exhaustive polling and focus-grouping. We’ve gathered stats and response-types from every quartile and sub-tranche of the American electorate. We’ve polled and researched every single state and drilled down in population clusters, from edge cities to pools-and-patios suburbs to urban enclaves to working-class Old Towns.

Here’s what we found:

The American People hate you.

Do you see where we’re going with this? That’s your opponent. That’s who you’re facing in November.

So our strategy is simple.

Go negative on them. Starting now. Soften them up. Take the shine off of those “American voter” halos. Let the American voter know just how untrustworthy the American voter is.

We’re already starting this kind of quiet-phase campaign by reminding normal American voters that normal American voters are often violent, racist, and irrational. The so-called tea-party members, especially, need to hear that tea-party members, especially, are dangerous and radical and unhinged.

What we at MessageMakers™ propose is a spring/summer negative strategy that follows closely along the lines of traditional negative campaigns. Some possible examples:

GENERIC NEGATIVE #1: “What do we really know about . . . ?”

FADE IN: Grainy, out-of-focus footage of normal Americans getting in and out of minivans. Maybe some sinister-looking children. We’ll shoot some old people from underneath, to highlight their jowly, untrustworthy look.

VOICE OVER: “What do we really know about American voters? Are they racist bigots? Are they dangerous domestic terrorists? When President Obama and the Democrats in Congress tried to create jobs and save the economy, the American voter said NO! When President Obama and the Democrats in Congress offered them historic legislation that provides health care to everyone, the American voter said NO! What do we really know about the typical American voter? Not enough. It’s time for us to say NO! to the American voter.”

CUT TO: A waving flag (could be American, but could also be a stylized “neutral”-type banner) and a smiling President Obama. (Note: We could just use the flag and drop the Obama cut-in if that’s the way the testing goes.)

VOICE OVER: “Paid for by the Committee to Restore the Government.”

GENERIC NEGATIVE #2: “You just can’t trust . . .”

FADE IN: Grainy, out-of-focus footage as before. A heavier use of the “Dutch angle” technique, which is an off-kilter frame, lending the scene a bizarre, otherworldly atmosphere.

VOICE OVER: “Whom do you trust to make your most important decisions? Not the American voter. In 1919, they voted to outlaw alcohol. That’s right. Beer! In cities and towns all over America, the voter has raised taxes, cut services, and even allowed America to go to war! And now he wants us to trust the American voter to make our most sensitive and personal decisions about retirement savings and health care? Doesn’t seem like a good idea, does it? The American voter: You just can’t trust him.”

CUT TO: A sea of smiling, lab-coated doctors (of all ethnicities) shaking hands with Democratic congresspeople (we can green-screen in individual faces if you like) as a family gathers around a sick relative in a hospital bed and cheerfully shuts off the life-support machines.

VOICE OVER: “Paid for by the Committee to Restore Heath-Care Authority.”

Those are just two suggestions, literally off the top of the heads of the gang at MessageMakers™.

Conventional wisdom says that November is going to be rough for Democrats.

Ready to surprise the world? We are.

To begin implementation of this plan, please wire an initial payment into our BNP Paribas account listed on the next page. For tax purposes, we are a registered French corporation.

We look forward to working with you!

MessageMakers™

In This Issue

Articles

Politics & Policy

No Margin for Error

Whom should we blame for the enactment of Obamacare? Philip Klein, writing at The American Spectator’s site, nominates President Bush, for leaving Republicans in such poor shape. Noemie Emery reminds ...
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You Think It’s Pricey Now?

From the moment Democrats introduced health-care legislation last year, Republicans focused on the adverse impact it would have on the federal debt.  But what is remarkable about the Patient Protection ...
Politics & Policy

Hardly Healthier

Just before the House of Representatives voted to enact Obamacare, Speaker Nancy Pelosi triumphantly proclaimed, “This legislation will lead to healthier lives.” Democrats and liberal pundits have clung to that ...
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Obama’s Waterloo

Since Obamacare moved unsteadily over the first finishing line, liberals have been jubilant and conservatives wracked by variations on depression, including existential despair. This is a rare emotion on the ...
Politics & Policy

Disarmament Danger

The Obama administration has placed nuclear disarmament at the top of its foreign-policy agenda. Other possible goals, such as modernizing U.S. nuclear forces for deterrence purposes, are now considered either ...

Features

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The Long War

In the depressing aftermath of Congress’s passage of the Democratic health-care legislation, there has been an understandable temptation among conservatives to think that all their effort over the last year ...
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Ryan’s Way

Almost immediately after President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the conversation about health-care reform changed. Advocates of the proposal suddenly hit cautionary notes, insisting that difficult ...

Books, Arts & Manners

Politics & Policy

Dark Continent

Many books have now been written about Europe’s malaise, most making similar observations, but Dr. Theodore Dalrymple has two great gifts and an advantage. His gifts are his prose style ...
Politics & Policy

The Next America

During the 1980s and 1990s, when many believed that Japan was ascendant and the United States was doomed to become an economic backwater, Joel Kotkin offered a strikingly different thesis. ...
Politics & Policy

Run for Your Life

There are two stories intertwined in Greenberg, Noah Baumbach’s painful, grimly comic portrait of bourgeois dysfunction in Los Angeles. One involves a 40-year-old failure, angry, acerbic, and self-sabotaging, who lurches ...

Sections

Politics & Policy

Letters

Having It All Kevin A. Hassett recently opined that racial differences in layoff rates between white and black employees probably indicate ongoing discrimination (“Racial Recession,” March 22). I find both his ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐  May we now call it “big §#*$%@! government”? ‐  During the eight years of George W. Bush, we heard constantly that dissent is the highest form of patriotism. The moment ...
The Long View

Proposal for Consulting Contract

TO: Democratic Party November ’12 Stakeholders FROM: MessageMakers™ RE: Midterm Positioning Greetings! We here at MessageMakers™ are excited and enthused about the midterm elections and the wonderful things in store for the Democratic party! What’s ...
Politics & Policy

Poetry

  TOO MANY BIRTHDAYS Curtal Sonnet #17 “What seems to be the trouble, Mr. Williams?”   — Physician “Too many birthdays.”   — Thomas J. Williams, age 91 The leg-kick that gave leverage to pull         The prop and ...
Happy Warrior

. . . Then as Farce

You’ve probably heard of Geert Wilders, the “far right” Dutch politician currently on trial in Amsterdam for offending Islam. But have you heard of Guy Earle? He’s a Canadian stand-up ...

Most Popular

Elections

How States Like Virginia Go Blue

So this is what it feels like to live in a lab experiment. As a native Virginian, I’ve watched my state come full circle. The last time Democrats enjoyed the amount of power in the Old Dominion that they won on Tuesday, I was entering middle school in Fairfax County. In 1993 the governor was a Democrat, one ... Read More
Elections

Democratic Denial

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Religious-Freedom Voters Will Vote Trump

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Books, Arts & Manners

Why Study Latin?

Oxford professor Nicola Gardini urges people to read and study Latin. He believes that Latin is the antidote for the modern age, which seems transfixed by the spontaneous, the easy, and the ephemeral. His new book, Long Live Latin: The Pleasures of a Useless Language, argues that Latin combines truth and ... Read More