Sunday, September 14, 2008

Stay on message: McCain lies. It's about branding, not debating.

Here's a paragraph from an AP piece documenting McCain's lies.
'In the last two election cycles, the very notion that the facts matter seems to be under assault,' said Michael X. Delli Carpini, an authority on political ads at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication. 'Candidates and their consultants seem to have learned that as long as you don't back down from your charges or claims, they will stick in the minds of voters regardless of their accuracy or at a minimum, what the truth is will remain murky, a matter of opinion rather than fact.' [Emphasis added.]
So Obama should learn the lesson. His message should be: McCain lies. It doesn't matter whether facts support that claim—although they do. What matters is that we say it loud enough and often enough to make it stick in people's minds.

This should become an Obama position, like his economic position, his health position, his position on the war, etc. The point of saying it is not to make McCain admit that he's lying. The point is to get the image of a lying McCain established in the mind of the public.

When I say this to people they often tell me that we need credible, i.e., non-Democratic, sources to say that McCain is a liar. And they must be prepared to back up their statement with solid evidence. That's not the point. It isn't a matter of conveying an honest and believable message or having a credible (to the unthinking) source say that McCain lies. What matters is that the message be repeated over and over and over and over until the people who don't think and who aren't impressed with logic, or evidence, or credible testimony get it drilled into their heads. After all, McCain is not a credible source for information about Obama. But his campaign tells lies about Obama with the objective of having those lies seep into the consciousness of people who don't think. That's the point. It's not a debate; it's a battle of advertising and branding. We must brand McCain as a liar, not convince anyone about it.

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