And they know us well. Wow did we just fall into multiple traps. Liberals have so many easily pushed buttons, and they feel like they can just play us like a video game. Picking Sarah Palin was a stroke of genius on many levels. First of all, as they well know, no-one in this country cares about scandals and lack of knowledge. Liberals have been stupified again and again by the folks that have won. Reagan, he's an actor! Has alzheimers! Look how goofy he is! Iran Contra! Dan Quayle is a dim bulb...ha ha! They're going down! Dubya, a drunk party boy who looks like a chimp! How can we possibly lose!
Can anyone tell me the common thread here? Yeah, they all won. So now Palin is in the race, and here comes the liberal/progressive impulse to reel in disbelief, pass around videos of how unprepared she is and scoff at all of her idiosyncracies and vapidities. I think the GOP loves this state of mind. It paralyzes action, gets the conversation into the National Enquirer and out of the inspirational. Aside from getting the right wing excited, they've also gotten us excited--but in an easily defeated way. Think of it like Michigan playing Appalachian State. There's nothing better for an imminent upset than for a team to get super confident, see some bumbling plays, walk out on that field like there's no way you can lose. That's exactly when you lose.
Lakoff has made some really good points about how we're losing the narrative and framing battle, but it isn't just how the campaign is being run. It's also us and our energy and focus and commitment. I found myself the last couple of days just obsessed with Palin. Following every new scandal, laughing with friends about something she said, etc. And then it came to me like a thunderclap when I was at an Obama fundraiser last night--I couldn't remember the last time I'd really passionately spoken about Obama and what he meant to the country in this time. I hadn't volunteered or donated. The GOP threw a Brangelina right down my gullet and I swallowed it hook line and sinker. They would love nothing more than for all of us to gossip around about Palin until November and stay paralyzed on the whisper wheel. They know full well that it won't hurt. She could misspell potatoe and still win. It could be proven she personally did drugs and clubbed a baby seal and still win. As Lakoff points out, Obama has run a brilliant campaign when running with narrative against policy. But against idiocy he, and we, are faltering. How do you argue with someone who just keeps repeating "I know you are, but what am I?" You can't throw your hands up and turn to the audience expecting they'll just agree with you about what idiots they are. You have to bear down and keep messaging, keep the hopeful tone in your voice and hope your story is the one people want to hear.