Magazine | July 19, 2010, Issue


TO: Members heading home for July and August recesses

FROM: Your Democratic National Committee Media Advisory Team

CC: SEIU “Public Order Squad”

RE: Facing Pushy, Ungrateful, or Downright Rude Members of the Public

Hi everyone! Happy Summer!

We know you’re all heading back to wherever you originally came from all those years ago for the summer recess. And we know that you’re all very concerned about the nasty tone that’s erupted back “home.”

We’re concerned too.

The unregulated use of camera phones, the Internet, and the exploding far-right blogosphere have created a toxic, dangerous atmosphere for all of us, but especially for congresspeople and senators facing reelection. As you head “home” to greet and walk among your constituents, you’ll no doubt be faced with some Ungratefuls who refuse to eat their hot dog quietly and listen attentively.

Please feel free to have one of your staff laminate this guide for handy use.

Q: What if I’m asked rude, insolent questions, like, “Do you support the Obama agenda?”

A: In the first place, stay calm. Try not to touch the person of the questioner, either in a friendly way (which will be misinterpreted) or in a more deliberate manner. Just listen quietly to the question, smile, and say, “The economy has fully recovered, and we’ve created more jobs than ever before . . .” Don’t try to engage the actual question — it’s a trap, designed to force you to make a gaffe, by saying either that you support the agenda or that you don’t support it, or, worse, that you support some things and don’t support others — none of which, by the way, is any business of your questioner. (Don’t say that last part.)

Q: What if a small businessman has the temerity to complain about his taxes?

A: Try to stay calm. It’s best, in these situations, not to respond in the perfectly natural, totally understandable way of shouting at the troublemaker and calling him names. In the regrettably unregulated media world we live in, this will only result in embarrassing clips on YouTube. What’s best is to simply reiterate that President Obama and the congressional Democrats have actually lowered taxes for millions of Americans, to almost zero in some cases. Repeat this until the SEIU arrives. (See “Other Resources” below.)

Q: What if I’m already ten to twelve points down in the polls?

A: Again, try to stay calm. In this case, of course, it’s best to take a couple of deep breaths and remember that when you first came to Washington, from Anywhere, U.S.A. — which for most of you was 30 or 40 years ago — you knew in the back of your mind that this day would come. We here at Media Advisory Services know that this isn’t exactly what you want to hear, but it’s good practice to remind yourself that if “home” isn’t home anymore, then you’re going to have to take a breath and do what it takes to convince the Ungratefuls to do the right thing and give you another 10 to 15 years. So, if faced with any of the above questions — about supporting the Obama agenda or raising taxes — it might be best to say something along the lines of, “Are you kidding? I’m fighting the Obama agenda with all of my might!” and “I agree! Taxes are too high! Which is why I’m spearheading the move in Congress to slash taxes for everyone and get this economy moving again!” Obviously, this is a risky strategy, but remember: Emphatic statements tend to stick. The people back “home” lead marvelously simple lives, and have a childlike need for reassurance and leadership. Trust us on this.

In Summary:

1. Assume that any public gathering will have its share of Ungratefuls with camera phones;

2. Don’t hit and/or make physical contact with anyone, no matter how insolent;

3. Say what you need to say.

Other Resources:

1. The SEIU “Public Order Squad” is a terrific resource that all of our members, no matter how tight their reelection race is, should take advantage of. The POS has skilled members trained in the art of creating giant human roadblocks — imagine how fun some of these barbeques back “home” will be when securely behind a “human wall” of 400-pound union members.

2. Skype allows you to be “home” while still being home. Sometimes appearing on a screen is better. And safer.

3. Xanax, a powerful anti-anxiety medication available by prescription — come to our offices throughout the week; we have samples to give away — is a terrific way to “prepare” yourself to meet and talk to actual voters. It creates a sense of calm and well-being that, on a YouTube clip, looks like confident leadership.

Have a Great Summer! And we’ll see you in September!

Your Media Advisory Team

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