The NYT Magazine yesterday laid out a fascinating scenario for the future of the Democratic party, based on the revolutionary new idea of "talking points." Apparently, staying concisely on a message arrived at through carefully conducted focus groups may help one win a political battle. The test case for this, the article points out, was the Republicans' attempt to eliminate the filibuster. As you may recall, the Democrats fought back successfully, all the way to a draw. (A draw being a success for Democrats.) The story's author, Matt Bai, lays out how they worked this magic:

In an unusual show of discipline, Democrats in the Senate and House carried laminated, pocket-size message cards -- ''DEMOCRATS FIGHTING FOR DEMOCRACY, AGAINST ABUSE OF POWER,'' blared the headline at the top -- with the talking points on one side and some helpful factoids about Bush's nominees on the other.
Basically, by reducing their arguments to note cards, Democrats managed not to lose to the Republicans. Winning will take reducing their arguments to pointing and grunting. Or just give Kerry a lobotomy.

The Framing Wars [NYT]


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