October 15, 2008
Obama's Talking Points For Tonight
The Obama Campaign has released its talking points for tonight’s debate. You can find them on DRUDGE.
The ten points blend misdirection, obfuscation and fuzzy math. Here’s a look at five of the talking points and their inherent tactics.
- “This is John McCain’s last chance to turn this race around and somehow convince the American people that his erratic response to this economic crisis…”
Tactic: Fabricate an unsubstantiated assumption that you can use later to claim victory to dishearten your adversary. The “last chance” label is set up as platform for the Obama Campaign to declare, after the debate, that McCain blew his last chance to win and the election is, therefore, already won by Obama.
- “Just this weekend, John McCain vowed to “whip Obama’s you-know what” at the debate and…he’ll be bringing up Bill Ayes to try to distract voters.”
Tactic A: Discount the relevance of your opponent’s anticipated and appropriate criticism by attaching to it a contrived motive – “distract voters” in this case – and then attack the motive. (McCain signaled the Ayers attack in advance. Why?) And...
Tactic B: Accuse the opponent of doing what you do – in this case “trash talk.”
(By the way, Jimmy Carter, when told that Teddy Kennedy might challenge him for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 1980, said, “Let him. I’ll kick his ass.” And he was a Sunday school teacher.)
- “So we know that Senator McCain will come ready to attack Barack Obama and bring his dishonorable campaign tactics to the debate stage.”
Tactic: Classic Saul Alinsky here. Criticize your opponent for a tactic (dishonorable tactics in this case) that you use. If your opponent accuses you, it will sound like "he said - he said."
- “Obama has shown steady leadership during this [economic] crisis and offered concrete solutions to move the country forward.”
Tactic: Make most emphatically those claims that are weakest. Obama’s “leadership” when the economic crisis broke was the “Ghostbuster Strategy:” They’ll call me if they need me.” Leadership from Obama was decidedly absent when the crisis broke. “Concrete” is a misdirection adjective.
(The old Soviet Union regularly used this tactic against the U.S. in their media propaganda.)
- “John McCain has been erratic and unsteady since this crisis began – staggering from position to position and trying to change the subject away from the economy by launching false character attacks.”
Tactics: Use adjectives to attack the character of your opponent (“erratic,” used twice in the talking points, “unsteady,” and “staggering” hinting at McCain’s age) and then accuse your opponent of doing what you’re doing -- launching false character attacks. The use of "unsteady" is also a false opposite of the claim of "steady" Obama leadership.
The Obama Campaign supplements these tactics with a regurgitation of their candidate’s economic promises based on fuzzy math. Pravada would be proud.