Democrats & Liberals Archives

Democrats Think; Republicans Feel.

Which is more memorable: “The doctor then sucks the baby’s brains out”; or “The excess liquid from the hydrocephalic fetus is then drained”?

How about: "Cut and run", versus "A timetable for a phased withdrawal of troops"?

Perhaps "Moral values" and "Compassionate conservatism" will help to clarify.

This administration shapes the political landscape by framing its policies in loose, ambiguous language that stirs feeling, but contains little or no substance.

To the voting public, it’s easy to respond when someone says they stand for moral values. After all, don’t we all? Dammit, I have moral values – perhaps I should be voting Republican, like the one in five voters in the 2004 Presidential election who said that ‘moral values’ were their number one reason for their vote. (79% of those went to Bush.)

But the expression of those values is hard to find, at least in any Republican Party literature.

It’s a catchphrase, a slogan. It’s marketing, and pretty good marketing at that. What it’s not, however, is a policy.

According to the Pew Research Center, "Those who cited moral values as a major factor offered varying interpretations of the concept. More than four-in-ten (44%) of those who chose moral values as the most important factor in their vote from the list of issues say the term relates to specific concerns over social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. However, others did not cite specific policy issues, and instead pointed to factors like the candidates' personal qualities or made general allusions to religion and values."

In other words, ‘moral values’ didn’t really mean anything in particular. But it stirred the hearts (I can’t say ‘and minds’) of the voters to such an extent that millions and millions of them thought it the most important aspect of their decision.

The Democrats have long struggled to express what they stand for in soundbites, but the truth is that their policies are more cerebral, and less effective when condensed. Look at probably the most contentious debate, over abortion. Republicans (mostly) are Pro-Life. And once again, who isn’t? I mean, life is good, right? Life is what we’re here for.

Democrats (with some notable and very annoying exceptions) are Pro-Choice. CHOICE! I’m not for life, I’m for choice! (And the inescapable implication is that the woman made the choice to become pregnant.)

The debate has been framed in such a way as to give the Democrats an instant disadvantage. Life vs Choice? For most people, it’s easy to feel more for the former than the latter. Democrats have to justify this word, choice. They have to illustrate the circumstances surrounding choice. They have to talk about exceptions for health, and clarify their position as the debate shifts. They are constantly struggling to negate the ‘it’s not a choice, it’s a child’ crowd.

Feeling is easier than thinking. It’s easy to feel angry at ‘illegal immigrants’ because, well, they’re illegal. It’s harder to analyze the extent to which out economy depends on them, and to express their importance to the country. (Which of you wants to pick fruit for $3 an hour? In Colorado last year, tens of thousands of acres of crops were left to rot in the fields because undocumented workers face some of the stiffest penalties in the country, and just fled the state. Prisoners under armed guard were eventually drafted to save some of the crop.)

Thinking is uncomfortable. We have to process information and arrive at an informed decision, rather than simply repeat whatever fear and hatred the Republicans want to spout at us this week.

Democratic issues require debate. Republican ones merely demand a gut response. Don’t be surprised when another buffoon with the IQ of a hamster makes it into the White House – after all, with his one-issue hate-filled politics, an idiot like Tom Tancredo has everything it takes to be President.

Posted by Jon Rice at April 23, 2007 2:31 PM
Comment #218168

The Republicans in office have played hardball politics with every issue, framing them in such a way that they can move forward with radical proposals that will be supported by a slim 51% majority. They have no interest in consensus or bridging divides; they have a radical agenda that is purposefully divisive.

That, or they don’t even bother to pretend they are on the same page as the rest of us. Did anyone see that Bush recently congratulated Gonzales for having done so well with his testimony and being so straightfoward and honest. What?

Posted by: Max at April 23, 2007 3:40 PM
Comment #218173

Is the point of this article to make the case that republicans are dumb? That’s a good example of an ineffective tactic.

Posted by: Schwamp at April 23, 2007 4:14 PM
Comment #218175

I for one feel the same way about the Republican party.

I also feel the same way about the Democratic party.

I think both parties spend far too much time trying to make themselves appear better than the other.

Instead either party should start spending that time actually working for the people of America.

Imagine a party that instead of spending billions of dollars to slander the other party actual put that money towards finding flaws in the current system and dedicated themselves to finding new policies that benefited everyone in a mutual manner.

Wow, if either party could do that, the other party wouldn’t be able to do a thing to them.

I think the two parties are only able to battle it out so viciously as a result of their both being equally flawed.

One wants a flourishy and well invested economy while resricting personal rights, the other wants a more responsible government while tax the living crap out of the already poverity ridden communities.

Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at April 23, 2007 4:38 PM
Comment #218184

The Dems are better than the Reps? Puh-leeeeze! That’s like saying the Crips are better than the Bloods… They’re all a buncha thugs bent on staying in power by snuffing out any real thinking opposition like the Libertarians or (bleh!) the Greens… they both employ the same tactics just with a little bit of a different package… all the points the author made about the Republicans are absolutely true… abortion, illegal immigration, etc… and the same could be said for Dems on issues like gun control (law abiding citizens can’t own a gun because the will kill people) and education (the answer to all of our educational problems is simply giving teachers more money)… there are an equal amount of nut-jobs in the democrat camp as there are in the republican… not more, just equal…

vote Libertarian… or, if you must, Green…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at April 23, 2007 6:39 PM
Comment #218186

Oh, come on now, your premise is ackwardly framed and complete nonsense.
How well I remember Bill Clinton talking endlessly about “I feel your pain”! No thought, just well-acted emotion. “Pro-Choice” is the liberal mantra while the “Pro-Life” folks are called anti-abortion, anit-women and worse. All full of feelings with no thought to the murders involved of new human life.
My personl favorite is Clinton’s grand pronouncement of “The era of Big Government is Over!” Obviously no thought here, just blathering as no plan was forthcoming. The liberals have always been the part of the Democrat party with “feel-good” ideas and legislation with no thought of how that might affect Americans and the U.S. Now the mantra is “man-made global warming” and still it is feel-good rehtoric with little real science…merely some concensus among scientists trying to save their precious funding and huge corporations just slavering at the mouth to cash in on the sheep-like stupidity of blind followers. Al Gore and John Kerry are the king’s of feel-good thoughless slogans. How about “carbon-offset” for example. What in the hell does that mean to anyone? For absoulute certain it won’t mean a damn thing to the global weather. How about Hllary reading poems in her ridiculous attempt to imitate black syntax. I am sure a lot of thought went into that.

Posted by: Jim at April 23, 2007 7:05 PM
Comment #218187

Jon, playing with language isn’t the sole province of Republicans, of course. The Democrats want to “adjust the alternative minimum tax” but what they mean is they want to eliminate it for middle-class taxpayers and tax the uber wealthy more. I’m a liberal but that doesn’t mean I support disingenuous arguments.

Posted by: Gerrold at April 23, 2007 7:46 PM
Comment #218189
Which is more memorable: “The doctor then sucks the baby’s brains out”; or “The excess liquid from the hydrocephalic fetus is then drained”?

What does that have to do with “thinking” vs. “feeling”?

Using a clinical-sounding euphemism is not “thinking,” but a way of evading the reality of a situation. It’s the same reason that the military will say that “We’ve neutralized the objective” instead of “We blew those guys to smithereens and riddled them full of bullets.”

And is that even what pro-choice people say in defense of abortion? Seems to me that at an abortion rally you’re more likely to see images of clothes-hangers than placards that talk about “draining the excess liquid from the hydrocephalic fetus.”

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at April 23, 2007 7:57 PM
Comment #218191

The partial birth abortion is a loser for you guys because it is grusome and immoral. You can describe lots of things clinically. I think that is the ultimate deception.

Posted by: Jack at April 23, 2007 8:37 PM
Comment #218207

“Democratic issues require debate. Republican ones merely demand a gut response.”
Jon Rice

Finally, somebody understands why liberal Democrats repulse some of us. Democrat issues are won by trying to talk us into ignoring our gut feelings of right and wrong by bringing in some rarely applicable gray situation to justify that which our gut tells us is wrong. It is called “desensitizing the American conscience”. And it works!
They show images of killers and their uncommon dirty deeds while demanding the removal of guns from the law-abiding.
They bring up rape and incest and the life of the mother, while women, for example, an old high school friend of mine back from college told me she had an abortion because she only liked the guy. I was pretty disappointed with her. I believe this is the typical reason in most cases.
They scream that we will be burned to ashes if we do not fix our emissions. Yet, themselves waste as much as any greedy Republican, if there is such a thing.
They talk of the poor and middle class getting screwed by the rich Republicans, while the poor and middle classes have seen a doubling of their incomes in the last fifteen years. Isn’t it coincidental that there are more poor and middle class voters than rich voters? No wonder they have targeted these groups claiming the super rich Democrats in Congress are really “for them”. It’s a numbers thing when it comes to votes.

It seems to me the mind and the gut are exactly what Democrats hope people will not use. But, have it your way, Jon.

My Dad and Grandpa always taught me that when it comes to making up my mind about things of which I am unsure, the gut feeling can tell you a lot. More times than not, that’s been pretty darn good advice!


Posted by: JD at April 23, 2007 11:19 PM
Comment #218242

Jon you are not alone in this realization. While I agree with the general premise I do not feel it fair to present all republicans as being so easily duped with the tagging tactics of their party. What is unfortunate is that such a large percentage will so easily accept without thought those tactics. I don’t think it is that they are dumb, just that they see no wrong and are unable to fathom the consequences of unquestioned devotion. I think that placing all of ones trust behind the premise of which party is presented as more moral is simply an easy way out for those who are not willing to take the time to make fair comparisons.

You have presented a valid point here with regards to the sleazy tactics of the republican party of the last twelve years or so. They rarely campaign on an honest platform of issues. Instead they rely on the demonization and demoralizing of any who hold opposing views. It makes it easier for them to push their own behind the scenes agendas while their constituency is distracted by all the tagging bulls—t. Lets hope that all too easily duped percentage has had an awakening of late.

Posted by: ILdem at April 24, 2007 9:30 AM
Comment #218267

On the subject of speaking mannerisms.

““The doctor then sucks the baby’s brains out”; or “The excess liquid from the hydrocephalic fetus is then drained”?”

Both of those sound almost the same to me. Scratch ‘excess’ from the second qoute and they would be the same.

The only real difference I can tell is that the second qoute came from some one who knew what they were talking about, while the first came from Joe Average who was just chatting.

I think this is more a matter of speaking intelligently to intelligent people vs. speaking plainly to plain people.

The great thing about speaking plainly is that everyone gets it.

That is why soap operas are written at a third grade level, the news at a fourth grade level, and the highest grade level of television is on PBS (sesame street included).

Kind of tells you something about our culture doesn’t it.


Posted by: Bryan AJ Kennedy at April 24, 2007 1:53 PM
Comment #218336

Actually, Democrats think they feel, Republicans feel they think. In any event, they’re probably both wrong.

Posted by: Tim Crow at April 24, 2007 10:47 PM
Comment #218653

I agree with your point in principle. Basically it boils down to this: When the issues are based on intellect, Democratic candidates have historically done better. When the issues have been based on emotion, Republican candidates have historically done better in elections.
For example, the issue of war generally gets a better voter turnout from republicans, while things like budget issues or pollution generally get a better democratic voter turnout.
One hot button issue for both sides is abortion, because those on the right view it as murder, while those on the left view it as a question of the government taking away a woman’s rights. Those on the right can’t understand that it can be viewed as objectively as that, even though the overwhelming percentage of those on the left are adamant in their opposition to abortion while, at the same time, do not want the government to be involved in that decision.

Posted by: Cole at April 28, 2007 1:02 AM
Comment #270466

The sad thing is; this country will soon be history.
Apparently, God is about done with us, so whatever reaction you want to have, go and have it, but it will not help anything.

The fact that one president could be blamed for everything bad, that is happening in the world, and another could be expected to remake the whole world, should give any person with common sense, something to think about.

I feel for the African-Americans, and I can understand their pride of having some of their dreams realized, and having the cruel chains of slavery being broken, but…the world is in trouble, and Mr. Barack Obama has been made captain of a sinking ship.

Something soon will happen in the Middle East, that will astonish the world, but that is only the beginning of the world’s problems.

Posted by: Charles Nickalopoulos at November 17, 2008 6:21 AM
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