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View Diary: Five Rules for Defeating Hostage taking Politics. (224 comments)

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    •  Amen! In fact, it is a must-read for the POTUS (37+ / 0-)

      and his advisers (both campaign and administration). How do we get in touch with those "handlers", anyway? They need to read this, and so does every Democrat in the House and Senate!

    •  Except this diary (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeff Simpson, Cedwyn, catfood, Bluesee

      is NOT based on what actual hostage negotiators do.

      Here is a list of what we can learn from them.

      1. Gain control of the situation by insisting on one-on-one talks.
      2. Explore the feelings underlying the other side’s demands.
      3. Allow heated emotions to defuse through the passage of time.
      4. Collaborate on solving the other party’s short-term problems.
      5. Help your counterpart save face when you come out ahead.

      But I agree with the last paragraph of the diary - the best way to defeat HTP is to vote the hostage-takers out of office and let them know we won't put up with it.

      •  Re: "4. Collaberate on solving the other party's.. (9+ / 0-)

        ...short-term problems..."  That seems to have been, and continues to be the major sticking point.  The "other Party's short-term" and their long-term problem happens to be:

        The Democratic Party--and the fact that they have any power at all to stand in the way of the republican agenda.

        Now, short of immediate mass resignation of all elected Democrats with subsequent turnover of all power to "The Other Party"--this is the major sticking point to resolving the hostage situation.  In short--the hostage taking will continue as long as Democrats have any vestige of power.  

        The Democrats seem to be very slow to understand that diplomacy and statesmanship isn't the best tool in their political toolkit when it comes to dealing with opponents that more resemble marauding bands of Vandals than civilized fellow citizens.  The Democrats keep trying to diplomatically negotiate with opponents who are determined to battle rather than to talk.

        IMHO, since those tactics haven't worked in the past 3 years (or three decades)--it might be time to wake up to the reality:  The republicans clearly have no intention of working with the Democrats for the good of the nation--their clear and primary intention is to gain and retain power:  Whatever it take to do so.

        •  Most people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          athenap, FarWestGirl

          miss who is the audience for those tactics.

          Jonathan Chait doesn't miss it.

          The question hanging over Obama's political strategy has always been the endgame. His obsession with seeming reasonable makes sense if he uses it as an asset to spend down at the end. You do everything to show your willingness to compromise, and when the opposition refuses and refuses, finally you assail them for their fanaticism.

          As I said above, the most effective way to end HTP is to get the hostage-takers voted out of power. That's what President Obama is setting up.

          •  The problem: "audience" that's perceived to be (5+ / 0-)

            "watching" consists of real people who are personally experiencing the effects of today's economic and political realities.  They aren't just bystanders objectively watching what is thought to be skillful political maneuvering.

            In the continual quest to "appeal to the broad swath of independent voters" (even if it means) "adopt(ing) the Republicans’ language and in some cases their policies, while signaling a willingness to break with liberals on some issues." -- the political cost of the backlash of that skillful maneuvering could be high:  

            Mr. Obama risks alienating Democratic voters already disappointed by his escalation of the war in Afghanistan and his failure to close the Guantánamo Bay prison, end the Bush-era tax cuts and enact a government-run health insurance system.

            “The activist liberal base will support Obama because they’re terrified of the right wing,” said Robert L. Borosage, co-director of the liberal group Campaign for America’s Future.

            But he said, “I believe that the voting base of the Democratic Party — young people, single women, African-Americans, Latinos — are going to be so discouraged by this economy and so dismayed unless the president starts to champion a jobs program and take on the Republican Congress that the ability of labor to turn out its vote," (Re: "ability of labor to turn out...vote--see the linked article below about "Frustrated Labor Unions May Sit out 2012 Democratic Convention")  "the ability of activists to mobilize that vote, is going to be dramatically reduced.”

            Another factor that is quite possibly being underestimated by the pragmatists is that their assumptions about "independents" may well be at least to some degree:  Incorrect:  The Myths About Political Independents

            The three myths are:

            1) Independents are the largest partisan group.

            2) Independents are actually independent.

            3) Change in the opinions of independents is always consequential...

            Re #1:

            But here is the problem: Most independents are closet partisans. This has been well-known in political science since at least 1992, with the publication of The Myth of the Independent Voter...When asked a follow-up question, the vast majority of independents state that they lean toward a political party. They are the “independent leaners.”  The number of pure independents is actually quite small—perhaps 10% or so of the population.

            Re "Independents are actually independent" Myth:  

            The significance of independent leaners is this: they act like partisans. Here is the percent of partisans and independent leaners voting for the presidential candidate of their party...

            The graphs in the linked article shows that the "independent 'leaners' basically vote for their own party's candidate like the "partisans" they are supposedly "independent" from.

            Again, there is really no difference between partisans of either stripe and independent leaners...Only “pure” independent appear to have evenly divided attitudes as of November, but, as above, these people are only a very small part of the sample—7% overall.

            So--re the effects of deferring to the political demands of the hyperpartisan GOP?

            Obama’s approval declines from 73% to 57%—a drop of 16 points. How much of this trend is explained by the drop in each partisan group?

            Democrats: 3 points
            Independents leaning Democratic: 2.5 points
            Pure independents: 2 points
            Independents leaning Republican: 3 points
            Republicans: 5 points

            Thus, Obama’s declining approval rating is more a story about losing the Republicans who are unlikely to vote for him anyway than it is a story about losing independents.

            And one further take-away: 90% of the public is partisan and about 80-90% of those voters vote for their party’s candidate.

            The constant seeking of the pragmatic "independent" could be costing the support--during the campaign season, and possibly even the votes--of some very powerful, influential, and vital traditional groups:

            Frustrated Labor Unions May Boycott 2012 Democratic Convention:  More than a dozen trade unions plan to sit out the 2012 Democratic convention because of their anger over the site of the meeting in a right-to-work state and their frustration over Democrats’ struggles to create jobs.

            If unions don’t participate, it would deprive the party of millions of dollars that would have been spent on sky boxes and other sponsorships that usually help underwrite the convention. The move could pose a larger problem for President Barack Obama next year if an increasingly dispirited base of labor activists becomes so discouraged that it doesn’t get the rank-and-file to the polls in its usual strong numbers...

            Only time will tell what the outcome will be.  I hope that the Democrats hold the WH, as well as the Senate, and regain the House--but their continued courting of the republican leaning independents and republicans "who are unlikely to vote for him anyway" could cost them some traditional Democratic support.

            •  Just a short followup (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kurious, catfood, mikejay611

              Partisan independents are independent because they like the appearance of being an "indepedent person".  This is kind of a macho myth, a very common one.

              To appeal to them, you need to make a show of strength.

              Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

              by neroden on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 11:40:32 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  D-Leaning Indies *don't show up* (0+ / 0-)

              D-Leaning Indies don't show up when they're disappointed or unmotivated, and they don't get motivated by fear of the other guy.

              Ask Kerry.

              It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don't want and get it. Eugene V. Debs

              by JesseCW on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 03:13:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  No, that's not what Obama is doing. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            itsbenj

            We passed the time for demonstrating "reasonableness" quite a long time ago.  Now the audience to which Obama is supposedly demonstrating reasonableness says "That's not reasonable.  Why are you giving these criminals what they want?" -- and he still gives them concessions.

            The time to assail them for their fanaticism was back in 2010.  It's far, far too late -- Obama has lost credibility.

            Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

            by neroden on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 11:38:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  That's only applicable (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catfood, JesseCW

        to certain types of hostage-takers.  Specifically those with reasonable complaints.

        We're dealing with the other sort: revolutionaries who will not compromise under any circumstances.  Hostage negotiators do not help them save face.  They have them shot.

        There may be some confusion due to the fact that the more reasonable sort of hostage takers have predominated in the 1950s-80s.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 11:36:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That only works with those genuinely believing in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        catfood

        their cause. The Rethugs don't believe in what they say their reasons are, they're just using them as a cynical tool to let the plutocracy continue to make inroads undermining the country and consolidating their grip on the assets.  In fact, this list may be the Obama administration's approach in a nutshell and the fact that the Rethugs are only pretending to believe their stated ideals is why it's failing so utterly.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

        by FarWestGirl on Sat Aug 27, 2011 at 01:21:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not really applicable to most (0+ / 0-)

        hostage taking situations. How would this work against a patent troll during an infringement fight? . Or a government situation, where hostage takers, negotiators, and the hostages themselves all have access to the media and lobbyists, and might well switch roles during the process?

        A revised list:

        1. Gain control of the situation by gaining control: decry hostage taking in public. Call it what it is, anytime and  every time it is brought up. Call in favors and markers; get everyone else who expects to get something from you in the next two years to decry it too.   Might want to make certain all the hostages actually know they are hostages (especially if they are members of the political base of the hostage takers), and encourage them to talk about it. Give them megaphones.

        2. Explore the feelings  OF THE HOSTAGES. How do they feel about it? What do they think about the issue? Do explore the feelings underlying the other side's demands - to find wedge issues. Is everyone over there feeling comfortable putting guns to peoples heads? Maybe some aren't? What else is dividing them?

        3. Use their heated emotions to get them to make stupid decisions and contradict themselves in public.

        4. Don't solve the hostage takers' short term problems, create more short term problems for them! Make those problems the agenda for any negotiation.

        5. Rub their noses in every failure. Make it clear to the hostages who was on their side, and who was not.

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