This started as a comment on a post by David Green I read this morning suggesting that key words will decide the election. Green argues Republicans have been better at using simplistic language to tap into the instincts of voters. In this election, he says, the words GOPers are using to hammer the soft-minded proletariat into unwitting allies are entitlements, redistribution and job creation.
Green says Democrats should turn these words around and use them against the Jackbooted Thugs of the Oligarchy. (some of these characterizations, if you haven't guessed, are mine.)
While acknowledging words are important to people who do their own thinking, I disagree they're the primary drivers in herding the sheep to the polls to pull the GOP lever and sweep the thugs into power over them (oops...did we screw up or what? oh, well, American Idol is on now, we'll worry about losing our unemployment benefits later...).
Words alone don't tap the instincts that rule the "thinking." The dynamic is subtler and more visceral - body language, an air of competent confidence, grace, courage. We want a daddy figure to reassure us everything will be all right. The right words help spin this impression, the right tone of voice, all of those little things we call charisma. Romney tries too hard to project it. Ryan's better at it - we'll see how he handles the debates.
Carter lost when the cartoonists started making him smaller and smaller. With H.W. Bush it was "the wimp factor." I'll never forget Dana Carvey's impression of Bush begging on his knees to "pleeeeeze pleeeeeze vote for me!" Then there was Dukakis peeking out of the tank and Jon Lovitz rising up on a hydraulic lift to reach the podium in SNL's depiction of a debate. Old Blinky McCain with his bimbo beard.
The words are easy rationalizations for emotional adolescents who've already decided who they want to be their daddy. The words are most effective when they trigger those instinctive associations. "Malaise" and "Read my lips" are to be avoided at all costs.
This go-round the elephant in the room is The Black Man, whom we can diss only in code - entitlements, redistribution - unless we're in the country club locker room, hoo boy. The closeted bigots let "that one" slip into office in '08 because they thought Ol' Blinky and the Bimbo couldn't be beat. Ooops. The bigots have been burning ever since. They hafta grit their teeth to call Romney "daddy," but anybody - ANYBODY!!! - would be better than letting That Black @#$%^& hang around another four years! (bad pun, but you know that's how those bastards think).
Evening in America? Probly so. Let's hope we get past midnight with our real Daddy, obvious flaws and all, still in charge.