Conservatives “have no place” in New York

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York often mentioned as an alternative to Hillary Clinton as a Democratic presidential candidate, doesn’t want pro-lifers, Second Amendment advocates, or believers in traditional sexual morality in his state.  Here is what he said on the radio:

“Are they these extreme conservatives who are right-to-life, pro-assault weapon, anti-gay? Is that who they are? Because if that’s who they are, and if they are the extreme conservatives, they have no place in the state of New York, because that’s not who New Yorkers are.” Only “moderate Republicans have a place in this state.”

Michael Gerson points out that this illustrates a familiar tactic the left has been using:  Don’t argue about the issues with people you disagree with.  Present them as unworthy of being members of “our” society.  [Read more...]

Income equality?

The Democrats’ big new issue is “income inequality.”  What they are referring to is that wealthier people are benefiting more from the current economic growth than those with lower incomes and that there is a growing economic gap between the two.  The Democrats want to address this with such policies as raising the minimum wage.  But surely adopting those policies, which might be worth doing, would do little to make incomes “equal,” would it?

If the problem is “income inequality,” asks Kathleen Parker, is the solution “income equality”?  Is the idea really to work towards everyone having the same income?  If that were to happen, would that be a good thing? [Read more...]

Dog whistles vs. smiley faces

In the context of a discussion about  “income inequality” (we’ll discuss that later), Kathleen Parker talks about political rhetoric and the different styles of each party.  Republicans, she says, use “dog whistles,” using loaded terms (big government!  tax-and-spend!  anti-family!) to summon the true believers.  Democrats use “smiley faces” to cover up unpleasant truths with positive emotions (“reproductive freedom” for late-term abortions).

Those are my examples.  What are some others on both sides? [Read more...]

Move the nation’s capital to Nebraska

We talk about politics here at the Cranach blog, being careful to keep the two kingdoms distinguished, but we don’t do politicking, in the sense of agitating for one candidate or another.   But I wanted to show you this campaign video as a virtuoso example of the genre.

Ben Sasse is running for the senate in Nebraska.  I have known him personally for a long time in different capacities, and he’s a good guy.  He’s a Lutheran, and I’ve worshiped with him at  Immanuel in Alexandria, where he attended when he lived in the D.C. area.

I know at least one of you will cringe at the exaltation of rural midwestern values, and I admit that some of the conventions of the genre–brilliantly realized in this video–can get kind of cheesy (the waving flags, the obligatory interview with the wife and kids, etc.).  But Ben presents himself ridiculously well.   As for his signature issue here, I am pretty sure he is (mostly) being ironic and metaphorical, but he’s got himself a clever slogan, one that voters will remember and that sets him apart from the pack in the Republican primary.

We are certainly not endorsing him, knowing nothing of his competition or of the issues in the state of Nebraska.  But you’ve got to see this video, after the jump. [Read more...]

Benching sports metaphors

Figures of speech are not just ornamentation.  They can shape the way we think about what they express.  Dana Milbank, annoyed with the way Barack Obama  keeps saying everything is a “game-changer,” points out how the use of sports metaphors in discussing politics and government today is distorting the way we think about them. [Read more...]

Planned Parenthood as political organization

The most effective political organization in America, judged by the recent elections, is Planned Parenthood.  As reported by Sarah Kliff:

Planned Parenthood Action Fund earned an honor this campaign cycle that had nothing to do with women’s health: It was the most effective political group in the 2012 election.

Over 98 percent of its spending was in races that ended with the desired result, according to an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation.

Planned Parenthood pulled this off, pollsters and strategists say, with a two-pronged strategy. First, it turned Mitt Romney’s words against him. Then the group used algorithms to identify a group of 1 million female voters, largely in swing states, who were particularly receptive to the group’s message. . . .

Planned Parenthood started with focus groups in the spring, trying to figure out how much voters knew about Romney’s positions on women’s health issues. The answer seemed to be: not a lot. . . .

After that, O’Rourke and her team began testing out what messages worked best to define Romney. They would put up online ads that had personal messages or ones that leveraged Planned Parenthood as an authority on women’s health. . . .

Figuring out the best message was only half the puzzle; Planned Parenthood had to figure out who would be most receptive to their ideas. For that, they turned to micro-targeting, identifying 1 million female voters who were likely to support legal abortion and the health law’s contraceptive mandate.

The group spent about $15 million this year, more than tripling the $4 million it spent in 2008. It wanted to make sure those dollars were targeting the voters who would be open to their message.

“Those were the women that we were going to relentlessly target over and over and over again between June and November,” says Planned Parenthood Executive Vice President Dawn Laguens.

If you were among the women in that group who lived in Virginia, you received five pieces of direct mail and dozens of phone calls. You would get visits from canvassers, who might hand you a folded-up brochure, styled to look like a pocketbook, that told you Mitt Romney could cost you $407,000 over your lifetime by not supporting no co-pay birth control or equal pay legislation.

via Inside Planned Parenthood’s campaign strategy.

My first reaction is to wonder if conservatives and pro-lifers could ever get that sophisticated.  My second reaction is to think that no one should be so manipulative and mendacious.   “Romney will cost you $407,000.”  I’m sure many of these scientifically-targeted and brow-beaten women thought, “But I don’t have $407,000″ and voted accordingly.


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