Republicans Seize Educable Moment

The Minnesota Republican Party was savvy to immediately launch a television ad blistering the transportation tax increase passed by a bipartisan super-majority in the Legislature.

It’s not a particularly good ad. It looks like a thousand other doomsday political attack ads, and its glum tone is so over-the-top that many will tune out. The Governor appears so upset with the limpness of his Taxpayer Protection Pen that his mullet is standing positively on-end, which surely will impress his suitor Senator McCain.

But as Woody Allen said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up.” And this ad is successful mostly because it shows up at the right time. The ad launch got Republicans a boatload of free news media coverage. They may get as much advantage out of the news coverage of the ad as out of the ad placement itself. (Curiously, political reporters seem to not understand or care that they are being used as pawns in this way.)

Moreover, the key message repetition that paid media delivers will cement this framing in voters’ minds during this “educable moment,” when the issue is still fresh in Minnesotans’ mind. Political parties typically dump all their TV ads on the air in the final weeks before an election when there is so much message clutter that everyone is tuning out. The Republicans are wise to frame the issue now, when the stage is less crowded.

The Republican’s preference for taxing the next generation (through bonding), rather than the current generation (through gas user taxes) is shameful. But this communications tactic serves their electoral interests well.

– Loveland

tax refund kind

13 thoughts on “Republicans Seize Educable Moment

  1. “Educable”? Hang on. I left my dictionary over at…

    OK, I’m back. Just making sure.

    I love that, when answering its own question about who’s to blame for tax increase, the ad (of course) fails to mention the several Republicans who jumped ship to vote for it.

  2. jloveland says:

    Actually, my understanding is that the free thinkers are no longer known as “Republicans” by the Big Tenters. They are now known as “Lepers.”

  3. jmaustin says:

    I think you’re underestimating our press corps. They know full well that they’re giving a boost to the GOP but don’t care because it fits their criteria for “a good story.”

    Let’s dim the lights and go to the Powerpoint we all use when media training, specifically the slide that explains what makes a story newsworthy. Mine lists the following:

    – Change
    – Timeliness
    – Impact
    – Prominence
    – Proximity
    – Conflict
    – Unusualness/novelty
    – Currency

    This story pushes at least six of those buttons so – badda-bing, badda-boom – instant story and we’ve got time for lunch, boys and girls!

    – Austin

  4. jloveland says:

    Great point. Agreed. Maybe add:

    – Visual

    It’s TV-friendly.

    This is another example showing that the media may be personally liberal, but their coverage is neither pro-liberal nor pro-conservative…it’s pro-newsworthy, even when it’s clear they’re being used as a pawn. If you fit into their filter, they’re covering it. If you don’t, they won’t. If they were pro-liberal, they wouldn’t be covering this story so enthusiastically.

  5. Archie Bunker says:

    It’s not that journalists are non-partisan (they are partisan), it’s that they’re generally ignorant and unsophisticated.

  6. Archie, do you think journalists are more ignorant and unsophisticated than the average Joe? I think one could make the case that they’re just as likely as anyone else to be ignorant or brilliant or mediocre, but their jobs tend to make any of those qualities more visible and open to criticism.

  7. jloveland says:

    The truth is reporters as a group are much more intelligent and savvy about games flacks play than the general public. I love your participation, Arch, but I strongly disagree with your assessment of reporters.

  8. Archibald C. Bunker says:

    Reporters – even beat reporters – are like the Platt River: 12″ deep and 1 mile wide.

    They know a lot about very little and, as such, they to do a tremendous disservice to the public when they attempt to cover subjects about which they have little understanding, which is just about everything other than car wrecks.

    So “meat heads” is appropriate in their case.

  9. jloveland says:

    Arch, looks like the meat heads at Bloomberg are coining a term about you: “Obama’s Momentum Runs Into Speed Bump of `Archie Bunker’ Voters.

    Story-in-a-nutshell: “Ohio exit polls show white Democrats voted for Clinton 70 percent to 27 percent. ‘Race played a significant factor in Ohio,” said Cuyahoga County Commissioner Timothy Hagan, who supported Obama. ‘The state’s white voters aren’t bigots, but the image they see every day of black America is drugs, crime, guns and violence.’ ‘If Obama gets in, it’s going to be a black thing and it’s going to be all blacks for blacks,’ said Victoria Mikulski, a 63-year-old clerk in Edison Park. ”

  10. Archibald C. Bunker says:

    The corollary to this is that blacks tend to vote for blacks, which should be held up as racism, too.

  11. jloveland says:

    By the way, Archie, I didn’t mean to imply you were racist. I just pointed the article out to you specifically because of the author used your nickname in the headline, not because I think you’re a racist. I really should have made that more clear. Honestly, no attack intended.

  12. Could, not should.

    A black person voting for black person BECAUSE he or she is black could be considered a form of racism. Without knowing that motivation, though, that’s a tough case to make.

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