Sunday, July 02, 2006

It's the propaganda, stupid!

If you ever doubted that the Democratic Party's "culture of corruption" campaign was one big pile of hypocritical B.S., this article from the Washington Post should erase all of your doubts. Here's a key sentence which explains a great deal of the Clinton phenomenon:
One thing we know about Clinton campaigns: Nobody gets Swift Boated.
If we assume that "getting Swift Boated" is a reference to being the victim of a successful propaganda campaign by an opponent, then this is absolutely correct. The hallmark of the Clintonian election campaign -- and the Clintonian style of governance, for that matter -- is the relentless use of propaganda. On the defense, this is propaganda to muddy the waters of public opinion or to convince the public to "move on" after a cursory investigation of one scandal after another. On the offense, this is propaganda to not only defeat an opponent but to destroy that opponent's ability to compete in future elections.

The classic Clintonian propaganda moment for me was when Senator Bob Dole's 1996 catchphrase "a bridge to the past" at the 1996 Republican National Convention was quickly trumped by President Clinton's "a bridge to the future" at the later Democratic National Convention. Obviously the Clinton's use of propaganda has only been enhanced by this "hacker" point of view.

Here's another key point that the article makes about Senator Clinton:
For those who think that the politics of personal destruction might be rekindled against Hillary or her husband, we can only remind people how consistently that approach has backfired in the past. Bill Clinton would certainly be a huge asset if Hillary decided to run.
Nothing better illustrates the corruption and total unscrupulousness of the contemporary Democratic Party than the fact that it literally couldn't care less about all of the crimes and scandals of the most notorious criminal partnership since Bonnie and Clyde. Until the Democrats demand a full explanation from the Clintons about their many scandals as an inescapable precondition for nominating Senator Clinton as their presidential candidate in 2008, that party will have exactly zero credibility as political reformers.

Speaking of "Swift Boating", anyone who thinks that Senator John Kerry is some kind of big-shot, war hero might want to recall that Senator Dole was a veteran of the 10th Mountain Division. Those guys are elite commando troopers: the best of the best soldiers that the United States ever produced. If you think that military service is a necessity for a well-qualified presidentical candidate then it should have been a honor to vote for Bob Dole in 1996.


Blogger William said...

Well if we're going to dump a huge pile of scandal on the Democratic Party, lets think about another great US President. A man who was so sure he was going to crush his opponent that he decided to take no chances and ensured his great victory.

That's right... It's Nixon and Watergate, stupid!

And I'm willing to wait I know for a fact...that Nixon used propaganda to his advantage as well. Let's think about the Checker's Speech and naming his opponent in a house race, the Pink Lady (of course he then got named Tricky Dick).

Both sides use propaganda to their advantage.. stupid. :D

I shall now curse you into OBLIVION!

6:05 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

A great president, practically guarenteed to win the election, yet desperate to win the maximum possible victory.

Sounds like Lyndon J. "Landslide" Johnson to me. You can view his infamous "Daisy" commercial on the internet and see what I mean.

Yes, everyone uses propaganda to their advantage to some degree or another. So, if your point is that the Clinton's aren't exactly at the Lenin/Geobbels/Chairman Mao level of propagandizing the masses, then I agree. But it seems to me clear that the Clinton's election campaigns are much more propaganda-intensive than their opponent's campaigns.

6:26 PM  
Blogger William said...

Propaganda is a highly subjective thing though. While you look at say Lyndon B(! as in BAINES). Johnson's Daisy Commercial, we can look at other things. Look at say Reagan who's re-election campaign was predicated not on a state by state strategy but a strategy based on making people think he had certain character traits.

We can also note other Republican (and Democratic) uses throughout the late Twentieth century (let's think about the Bear Commercial or the commercial against Dukakis about the guy who was let out of jail for a weekend and murdered someone).

As for the Clinton's campaigns being more propaganda intensive than other campaigns, I would disagree. I would think that this is a case of he just pulled it off well enough so that we are now looking back and going "how were we duped?"

12:51 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

Wow. I typed out my comment way too fast. I can't believe I forgot the B!

2:45 AM  
Blogger Joseph said...

The Clinton era gave us the campaign "war room" and variations of the phrase "drinking the Kool Aid". Do you remember the famous rule of the 1992 Clinton campaign that every charge against Clinton made by a political opponent must be rebutted within 24 hours?

Actually, the one candidate other than the Clintons who has impressed me as a propagandist is our good friend Howard Dean. Remember the college student who got dumped by his girlfriend, then spent a week curled up in the fetal position on his dorm room floor with an empty juice box in his hand, only to find a new meaning and purpose in life as a Dean activist?

3:00 AM  

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