Saturday, May 17, 2008

Positioning and Framing Democratic Party Problem

Throughout this blog I’ve revealed ways Republicans use “framing” and “positioning” as a way to define their opponents. It puts the opposition Party on the defensive, forcing them to explain themselves within the “frame” they’ve been “positioned” in. Democrats can win the discussion if the start by reframing the topic from their own ideological point of view.

I have also taken the Democrats to task for not taking every opportunity to redefine the entire debate. It has been frustrating, to say the least, when you have at least half dozen issues a day to work with and you do nothing. I remember what the great humorist Ernie Kovacs once said about his television show in the early 50’s, and I paraphrasing, “It’s a formula the media has been using for years, and that is, you take a good idea and beat it to death.”

It’s a formula conservatives have used for years. Look what they’ve done to the word “liberal.” Another recent example deals with voter ID. In the conservative mind, where they don’t trust the majority of people because they’re inherently evil, voters will cheat the electoral process by illegally casting ballots multiple times to win an election. Of course it doesn’t make sense and would be impossible to organize, but they have repeated this scenario over two decades, convincing many casual observers that it wouldn’t hurt to require ID’s. Never mind an April 2007 report by the Justice Department that turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections. A federal panel’s consultants for the Election Assistance Commission found there was little evidence of it across the country. Richard Hasen, an expert in election law at the Loyola Law School, said “what we see is isolated, small-scale activities that often have not shown any kind of criminal intent.”

Yet the majority of conservative Justices on the Supreme Court ideology decided that voter ID would not be a heavy burden to place on the electorate, despite the lack of evidence pro and con.

It took years, but Republican won that battle, even though it was a solution to a non-existent problem.

Another Republican position has been cartoon simple; if you don’t support the war in Iraq than you don’t support the troops. This jingoistic statement has kept Democrats back on their heels. The GOP brand, “the Party of Defense,” is starting to crumble and conservative party members are looking like the biggest hypocrites on the block.
We just learned that the VA sent out emails to employees stating; “Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I’d like to suggest that we refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out.” That’s affects about 1 out of 5 troops who have served in our recent conflicts. Instead, it advises “consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Disorder,” which doesn’t deliver the same level of benefits.

For a party that supports the soldiers, we’re not seeing a huge number of outraged Republican voters holding their elected representatives feet to the fire. In fact, we’re not seeing any public outrage by the “support our troops” magnet buying flag wavers. Infuriated Democratic voters are dismissed and “framed” as Bush haters. As inhumane as the conservative treatment of veterans is, the Party brand is intact.

In a much lighter, non political frame, the Colorado Springs Gazette feature an article on something called “The Tape Project.” It releases music on quarter inch tape, yes, the kind that plays on a reel-to-reel tape deck. I had my first one back in 1963, a Concord, which was then followed by a Wollensak. They are positioning this antique technology as “the most satisfying experience that has ever come from reproduced music.” Five dollar reels of tape sell for $200 to $329 with music on it, and only ten reels are released per year. WOW, I can’t wait.

The kicker for me was in the closing paragraph, framing this relic as if it were something special. “To truly appreciate the format, though, you’ll also need to pick up a sophisticated reel-to-reel player. That’s an extra $7,500.” Now that’s positioning on steroids.

“SOPHISTICATED reel-to-reel PLAYER?” Like my two used tape decks in storage? Oh my god, they even have a space age technology that can transform sound into organized magnetic particles by simply touching the highly advanced “record” button.

I’m taking offers…anyone?

Just for fun, here's a glimpse back to the future, from

"This may not seem small to you, but for a quality reel to reel this is practically a Walkman!
Every part of this hefty recorder exudes quality. The cabinet is cool to the touch because it is made entirely of that mysterious material called steel. The functions are clearly labeled, and everything just plain works. The manual does stretch a point here and there - what they call "feather touch controls" I call 'horse-tooth sized ka-chunkers'. Maybe that's what it takes to make a product that lasts."

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