Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Lessons of Alan Grayson

Chris Bowers:

There were several important differences between this and most of the other attacks from the Republican manufactured outrage machine. Other Democrats in Congress could stand to learn from them:

  1. Grayson specifically chose to use rhetoric that echoed earlier rhetoric used by many prominent Republicans. Lesson: Throwing Republican rhetoric back at them can potentially be more effective then just condemning Republican rhetoric.
  2. Too often, Democrats allow policy discussions to be derailed by Republican rhetorical excess. By contrast, Grayson used his rhetorical moment to shift to a policy argument about tens of thousands of people dying from lack of health insurance. Lesson: rhetorical moments like these can allow you to control the debate, as Republicans long ago learned
  3. Many Democrats in congress are oblivious to the existence of the progressive netroots or even progressive media. As such, they think no one will be around to support them if they pick a fight like this. Alan Garyson, by contrast, hired Matt Stoller, thus making his office more aware of the netroots than anyone else in Congress. His non-apology yesterday was targeted directly at the progressive netroots, and earned him $100,000. Further, progressive media like the Huffington Post and the Daily Show immediately produced reams of quotes and video showing Republicans using the same sort of rhetoric over the summer.

    Lesson: If you want to pick a fight, and if you understand the medium, progressive media and the progressive netroots can help you.

It is a landmark moment for a freshman Democrat from a marginal, R+2 district to win a rhetorical fight with the Republican smear machine like this. Hopefully, it will become a teachable moment for other Democrats in Congress.
As J.N. put it over the weekend "the media also learned that democrats can have balls".

It's amazing what happens when you stand up for yourself.

1 comment:

  1. if grayson keeps doing well maybe we can convince everyone to switch obama out for him during 2012? unless obama suddenly starts to feel like doing a good job instead of a mediocre-to-OK one, of course.