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Sound and Fury

February 12, 2010

One of my favorite lines from any Shakespeare play is Macbeth describing life as,

…a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

It is much the same for politics, as we all know.  The elected officials, candidates, media personalities, and of course we bloggers are all part of the din that swallows up intelligent discourse turning it to incoherent yelling and name-calling.  I accept my role in this, as my yelling into the wind really doesn’t change the volume, and nobody reads this crap anyway.  That being said, as someone with a bit of experience dealing with wingnut rubes and other loud mouths on the right, I would like to offer up some pointers to our timid friends in Washington who call themselves Democrats, just in case a couple of them stumble through here.  Listen up.

They’re never going to like you.  They’re never going to work with you.  They’re never going to play fair.  That is the reality you need to understand.  These people have no shame, and no compunction.  Remember that.

They pay no price politically for obstruction and lying.  None.  They will however pay big time to their bat-shit crazy base if they so much as pretend to go along with anything you want to do.  You will not change this situation by having conversations with them.

If you want to push forward with your agenda than do it.  Quit this “bipartisan” fantasy nonsense and get to work.  The American people don’t give two shits about how many people on each side voted for Medicare, they do, however, overwhelmingly love the program and think it was a great idea.  Nobody is going to count the votes on an effective jobs bill and wonder to themselves if the paycheck they’re receiving had bipartisan approval.  Do Your Job!!!

Now it should be noted that if you go this route, the Republicans will say mean things about your policies and pretend that you shut them out of the process while crying crocodile tears to their media friends.  However, I should also note that if you don’t go this route, they will do the same fucking thing.  Remember when I told you earlier that they have no shame?  Well they don’t.  If you find yourself under attack in this manner, which you will, there is a simple way to combat it.  Here is a ten step outline that any capable Democrat should be able to follow.  These steps apply whether you’re in front of a camera or not, but it’s much more effective when there’s an audience.

  1. Grow a spine.  You’ll need one for later on.
  2. Gather your talking points together in a way that will allow for easy absorption by the public.  We’re dealing with insane news cycles, adult A.D.D., and three minute interviews here, so keep to the point.
  3. Get in front of a camera.  The media clowns love confrontation, so this should be easy.
  4. Remember that you’re not a Republican, so you’ll probably be met with hostility either from the host or from the “expert” they have on to “debate” you.  Don’t let this scare you.  (I know it’s hard.)
  5. Keep in mind that the imbeciles on cable news think they have to “balance” the truth with bullshit, so get your main points out quickly and don’t back down.
  6. Once the firing starts the only way to go is forward, so do not allow them to push you back.  Remember that you have facts on your side, so use them.
  7. The host or the other guest will try to cut you off and filibuster the whole segment.  That is their shtick.  Don’t allow it.  Even if you have to interrupt them, point out what they are doing and say what you went there to say.
  8. When the host or the guest say something stupid, ignorant, or flat out lie (which they will), call them on it immediately.  Don’t let it go.  Make them own up to it on air.
  9. Change the dynamic of the interview by asking the host why they allow their Republican guests to lie with impunity.  They are terrified of being considered illegitimate, and it will go a long way in making them more responsible in the future.
  10. Remember that the “expert” you may be talking to is quite possibly no expert at all, so making them look foolish on air will make them think twice about coming back.  Don’t worry about looking mean or arrogant, they’ll call you that anyway, just remember to stay strong.  If you can make them storm off the set, that’s even better.

Well maybe by some incredible twist of fate, someone in power will actually read this and use it.  I doubt it, but it’s nice to dream I guess.  Feel free to distribute, and let me know if you have anything to add.

The key to success in politics these days, unfortunately, seems to be directly related to your volume.  There are a few key Democrats who have had success at this recently, but only a few.  Hopefully some of the leadership will wake up soon and realize that while the Republicans are all sound and fury, signifying nothing,  that doesn’t mean Democrats should stay out of the fight.  The sound and fury will always be there, it’s time to push forward and, for the good of the people, make it signify something.

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