Sunday, September 17, 2006

Nancy Pelosi and Eight Great Tomatoes

Democrats haven’t the slightest notion of how to win at the polls. They are occasionally the accidental occupants of the White House. Nancy Pelosi faces an election that has twice the potential of Al Gore’s and she’s throwing it away with a greater degree of incompetence than Al in 2000 or Kerry in 2004.


There are things I just don’t understand about those in Washington who claim to be politicians. Not only claim it, but occupy positions at the top of the heap. We keep having these periodic fun-fairs, elections some call them, that offer themselves as democracy in action, the power of the ballot and our freedom of choice.

Winners win, not because they are superior intellectually or more thoughtful observers of the affairs of man. They win because they pay attention. Losers lose because they stop paying attention. It’s really that simple.

Algore Case in point, Al Gore in the 2000 election. Al was the beneficiary (as well as active participant) to eight years of economic ecstasy, the first two-term presidency celebrating the end of the cold war, that actually talked about what to do with the resulting ‘peace dividend.’ Bill Clinton’s and his administration balanced budgets for the first time in recent memory and actually paid down a portion of the Reagan-Bush debt. Everything lined up.

He had at his beck and call, arguably the best campaigner since FDR in Bill Clinton. Forget that economics were in bubble-mode (Alan Greenspan did). Yes, Clinton had embarrassed himself and the country, but everyone other than the far right had forgiven that and most thought he’d been badly done in a phony impeachment scheme.

The election should have been a slam-dunk. Al’s a lousy speaker but a bright guy with all the credentials. His opponent was a lousy speaker with a great smile and no credentials. All Gore needed to do was wrap himself in Bill Clinton, stump along side him, talk up their accomplishments, scare everyone with allusions to a revival of Reagan deficits and coast home. Instead he turned his back on Bill and fell apart, allowing Bush to intimidate both him and the courts in the Florida debacle.

Al Gore has become the Democratic party’s inconvenient truth. He failed to pay attention.

Nancypelosi2 Democrats haven’t the slightest notion of how to win at the polls. They are occasionally the accidental occupants of the White House. Nancy Pelosi faces an election that has twice the potential of Al Gore’s and she’s throwing it away with a greater degree of incompetence than Al in 2000 or Kerry in 2004.

Dana Milbank, WaPo columnist, commenting on Pelosi’s September 14th press conference:

"I hope you all received 'A New Direction for America,' " she said, standing at a lectern that bore the same slogan. She called the manifesto "a compilation of many of the initiatives taken by our House Democratic Caucus that encompasses our new direction for all Americans."

It was a handsome booklet, full of homey photographs and popular proposals, but there was a problem. Democrats have had more "New Directions" recently than MapQuest.

Nancy, sit down, put your feet up and pay attention. Remember? Paying attention is what wins elections, so listen very carefully. Americans do not want your House Democratic Caucus (whatever the hell that is) encompassing any new directions for all Americans. They’ve had their fill of new directions and contracts with America. They’ve been played for suckers one time too many and, no matter what your pollsters say, they’ve stopped buying.

That silence you hear out there, when you pass out your manifesto, is America stopping buying.

Here is the message, Nancy. Eight points. Repeat it every moment between now and November 7th. "The Republican Party;

  • "Destroyed a $155 billion surplus and mis-managed it into a record-setting $400 billion deficit.
  • "Lied us into a phony war and then botched the phony war they lied us into.
  • "Subcontracted that war on the cheap and asks our fathers to die in it and their children to pay for it, all the while giving trillions to their rich friends.
  • "Did nothing when Donald Rumsfeld refused to give his generals the troops they asked for and required to win in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • "So-called conservatives, are pissing away a billion dollars a day and taking it from the poor.
  • "Screwed up Katrina and continues to screw it up a year later, with all assurances made a year ago still in the form of unfulfilled promises.
  • "Fired highly regarded professionals and installed their incompetent cronies across the board, resulting in the unmitigated disasters of Katrina, Iraq and Homeland Security.
  • "Sold out your best interests to the big business interests represented through K-Street lobbying firms who now own your government.

That’s it, Nancy.

Don’t try to play Newt Gingrich. When Newt made his play, the country did not yet know that it was fed up to the teeth with both parties. They know now and won’t trust you with another vague ‘new direction.’ They want the failed directions changed—pronto. Don’t get dragged into how you’re going to turn Iraq or Katrina or the deficit around. Don't let Republicans set the debate.

Pay attention. Just stick to the script. Repeat the script. Then, take a breath and repeat again. Make the script a mantra.

Contadina You remember Stan Freburg's Contadina Tomato Paste ads from years back? “Who put eight, great tomatoes in that little, bitty can?” Contadina stayed on message and sold a whole bunch of tomato paste. Democrats are not as interesting as tomatoes, but these eight points are your tomatoes, Nancy.

Don’t step outside the can.
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Other stuff about Nancy in the current media;