Muddled Message

by William Skink

When you lose a competition you were trying to win, one course of action is to figure out why you lost in order to adjust for the next go around. The Democrat machinery has apparently put the cogs into motion to generate an internal report, as reported by McClatchy DC (h/t jhwygirl):

Democrats have become a confused political party with a muddled message and an inability to turn out enough of its loyal voters, a party task force charged with how to revive the embattled party said Saturday.

“I am here to tell you the Democratic Party has lost its way,” said Gov. Steve Beshear of Kentucky, who presented the report to the Democratic National Committee WINTER.

Ok, I’m a sucker for the platitudes of moral failing, so let’s see what this process of reflection has produced.

“In order to win elections, the Democratic Party must reclaim voters that we’ve lost, including white Southern voters,” the report said. But the party also has to “excite key constituencies such as African American women and Latinas.”

Beshear talked tough about the DNC shortcomings. “This should be the time for Democratic leaders to rise up to the forefront as defenders of the people and we think we have,” he said.

But, he said, “the American people by their votes don’t agree with us.”

Hmmm, maybe it’s because you just aren’t explaining it pretty enough for us.

The Democratic Party, he added, “has too often allowed its message to become muddled.”

Placating a patchwork of demographics is a difficult job, and Democrats aren’t doing it very well. The other side has no problem lying (the real translation of muddled message) to their constituents in order to create enough blind outrage leading “white Southern voters” go out and vote…for Republicans.

So what did this internal report advise?

The Democratic task force, which will continue meeting through the spring, offered some general recommendations for change.

It called for an effort to “create a strong values-based national narrative” that encourages people to vote. Beshear urged better defining the Democratic brand, rather than just appear to be a series of policy statements.

Democrats had counted last year on strong turnouts by women, Hispanics, younger voters and African-Americans, but turnout was down from 2012. Get people out, officials said Saturday, and Democrats will do well.

“When we vote, we win,” said Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

A strong values-based national narrative? What the hell is that? What it’s not is an admission of the real problem: what Democrats actually do (or don’t do) once elected.

The McClatchy piece ends with this:

Though hundreds of millions were spent last year on ads, organizing and other strategies, party leaders insisted they’d prosper if they stressed their commitment to helping the middle class and the less fortunate.

“Democrats care about so many things. Republicans only care about taxes,” said Patsy Keever, North Carolina Democratic Chairman.

Sometimes, the insiders said, people got too many messages. “There are so many things Democrats care about, but not every Democrat cares about every issue,” Keever said.

Too many messages? That’s rich. I guess hundreds of millions of dollars spent on ads can’t change the reality people are actually experiencing in their day to day lives.

If I had to write a quick poem about it, it might go something like this:


I like my national narrative
values-based, and strong
like how NATO helped out Libya
with lots of helpful bombs

and in this wondrous story
we help our friends, Ukraine
but only the western ones
who never shoot down planes

I like my national narrative
and the freedom fighters we arm
who never become jihadis
who blowback helpful harm


  1. When you boil it all down its about who wants to be a slave and who doesn’t.

    “You see there are two kinds of people, those who cannot be enslaved, they ( you and me ) have that natural born urge to be free. Then there are those who cannot NOT be slaves, the ones who just can’t live life as free individuals. Now Mohammad realized that his people would always be slaves, it was just in their DNA. So he cooked up a religion (more like stole it from the Jews and turned it on its head) that conveniently makes everyone a slave to GOD. TRUMP CARD! Mohammad has insured that his people will never ever be slaves to anyone or ANYTHING ELSE ever again. Brilliant! Leftist have a soft spot for Muslims because they have this same affinity for being enslaved. Being slaves to socialism or communism or the collective, they can relate. But being a slave to a half baked collectivist ideology is simply no match for being a slave to God, they are rank amateurs compared to Mohammad.

    On one side you have Judeo-Christian INDIVDUAL Free Will – aka Freedom. On the other, you have Slavery to …(fill in the blank)

    Islam = Slavery to Allah
    Communism = Slavery to community
    Socialism = Slavery to society
    Nazi-ism = Slavery to nation
    (Socialism in Patriots clothing)
    Liberalism = Slavery to victimhood
    Progressivism = Slavery to change

    But this ain’t about religion, mine or anybody else’s. It’s about Individual Free Will vs. Slavery. IT’S JUST THAT SIMPLE!”-Polecat

    • Words fail me.

      • Quite often we’ve noticed.

    • steve kelly

      What kind of anarchism is this? I take it that you do not view the Christian church or Jewish syngogue as a “repressive force.” Do you also not see collaboration between church and state? Is “Judeo-Christian” not religion?

      By ignoriing the obvious contradictions of being “American,” maybe Polecat made things a little too simple. Muddled.

    • lizard19

      it is difficult to respond when you regurgitate such idiotic crap.

    • JC

      You still tithe your 10% to the christian god of your choice? Or are you an atheist now, to to go with your anarchism? Or are you just a cursed “god robber”?

      And if you really paid any attention to the IS, it is enslaving apostates. Yes, they are coming for you, Swede. If one is surrounded by apostate slaves, is one really enslaved to their god?

      And for the western oligarchs, now that they are surrounded by serfs enslaved to them, do they really need to display any form of christian behavior? Because if they were enslave to the christian god, they sure wouldn’t be exhibiting oligarchic behavior (which is most definitely anti-christian).

      • “Both socialism and Islam are parasitical fascist systems where the elite bosses feed as vampires upon the productive citizenry under their control. Under totalitarian Islamic Sharia Law, productive “people of the book” (Christians and Jews) are tolerated as “dhimmis” (officially subjugated 2nd class citizens) to the degree that the local emirs and sultans decree they should be tolerated. This allows the Muslim bosses to ease their grip or tighten it at will. In socialism this relationship finds many parallels.”-Matt Bracken

  2. Turner

    To me, the biggest contradiction within Montana’s Democratic Party is a loyalty to labor on the one hand and to environmentalism on the other. But they’re not evenly weighted loyalties. If you’re a pro-labor Democrat, you’re expected to be for anything that creates jobs, even if it has a negative impact on the environment.

    So Tester et al are pushing for Keystone XL while saying nice fuzzy things about what’s left of our natural world.

    Internationally, the positions of the Democratic Party are scarcely distinguishable from those of the Republican Party. Both parties sold out a long time ago to the Military-Industrial Complex, which means perpetual war. The rhetoric of the Democrats is a little softer, that’s all.

    But all this is pretty obvious stuff.

    • steve kelly

      An example of “…loyalty…to environmentalism…” would help me understand.

      Virtual (building roads, clearcutting, grazing, etc) privatization, and deregulation — principles of neoliberalism — are no less ecologically destructive than outright title transfer, just on a slower walk.

      Crony capitalism has added a new wrinkle, crony non-profit collaboration. Domestic full spectrum dominance, except for the occasional “extremist” or “obstructionist” trying to enforce existing federal statutes, the current target of bipartisan deregulation.

      Where is the daylight between Daines and Tester and Bullock when it comes to raping and scraping our irreplaceable national forests?

      • Turner

        Matthew Koehler’s lengthy response to the Bozeman Chronicle article linked to above is worth reading. Neither political party is really pro-environment. But Daines pretending to care is especially disgusting in its blatant cynicism.

        • I’ve always found the open opposition of Republicans preferable to being patted on the back by Democrats as they pee down our legs.

  3. JC

    In the recent AP article in the Missoulian (and everywhere else), dems are posing a rhetorical question:

    Democrats are struggling to answer a simple question — “What’s a Democrat?” — and must do a better job of explaining their core values to voters, according to a task force formed after the party’s dismal showing in the 2014 election.

    After reading the article though, it seems that the meat of the question was never answered: just what do democrats stand for? There is no reporting on what the dems may stand for in the 9-page report it refers to. It does say that they stand for voters rights.

    So dems strategy is to communicate better that if we allow them to govern, they will restore voting rights. Of course, in order for them to govern, they need to have people vote for them, which is a bit of a catch-22 here.

    So basically, the article and the report don’t state anything at all about what dems’ core values are — except for needing to get elected. Par for the course. I think I’ll sit out 2016, unless a good third party dark horse gets involved somewhere.

  4. Eric

    It’s easy to describe. The Dems are a big round table, and the chairs around it are the competing factions. You’ve got the Militant Gays, the Gun Control Crowd, the pro-abortionists, what used to be called Hippies, older Roosevelt Democrats, rabid environmentalists, pro-labor union people, the anti-war crowd, and the pro-cannibas crowd.

    Those groups don’t like each other very much – so you’d have to call them a loose coalition. That’s why you don’t see environmentalists having beers with refinery workers on Friday nights.

    So Steve Beshear is onto something, but there’s nothing that the Dems can do to salvage their image unless they do one of two things – to be even more ambiguous, not letting the voters see who they really are (aka Obama) – or realign themselves with everyday Americans.

    The GOP has a similar setup, kind of like the Lion and the lamb in the same cage at the circus – you have to keep the lion well fed, or replace the lamb often. They’ve got the pro-lifers, the NRA, pro-business, lower taxes, etc., but their messaging was simply better last year.

  5. Craig Moore

    When the message is muddled, just turn off the sound and watch the bellybutton. In basketball, with all of the fakes and misdirection, the bellybutton never lies on which way the player is going. Now, in the political area when the party, and supposed defender of free speech, actually practices McCarthyism. The bellybutton never lies as to where the body is moving.

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