This is the Archive site for Firedoglake. To go to the main site please click on the following link

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

On Image: Part Two

On the final day of a film shoot when they call out "it's a wrap" only a tiny fraction of an actor's job is done. The real work as far as the studio is concerned comes when the film is ready for release. When that day comes no matter how much you hate the film, want to kill the director and secretly hope IMBD loses the tag from your name to that piece of shit in their database, you have nothing but fucking hot monkey love for it when you sit down in the middle of a press junket. You can air your dirty laundry on Leno five years from now when it has played out through all its various markets, but for today it is the Greatest Movie Ever Made. To say otherwise is blasphemy, the one unpardonable sin in Hollywood from which you cannot ever come back and everyone knows it.

I realize the movie business is quite different from others and my master's degree is in motion picture business so maybe someone can explain to me what the hell is up with the Democratic party. Every time someone on the right opens their mouth they do nothing but bash and besmirch the Democrats in a wholly successful effort to define their public image that always goes unanswered.

Do the Democrats not realize that their brand is under attack?

Scratch that. The Democrats have no brand. What's their slogan? Together we can do better? Who ran that fucking focus group, Ed Gillespie?

Merck doesn't wait for a bunch of people to drop dead from taking Vioxx before they start defining their brand. They spend billions shaping the public image of both the company and their products and when something bad happens the CEO doesn't just sit back and wait for things to blow over. No effort is spared to get there message out there that everything is fine, they are still to be trusted and look at all the arthritic little old ladies they have helped. Damage control is full-frontal and relentless.

I am on this current tilt because I can't believe the thundering silence that has arisen from the Democratic Party in response last week to the acknowledgment by the Washington Post that they were trying to shut down their one vocal critic of the Administration in response to complaints from both the White House and the Republican Party. The Democrats have been fist-fucked and shitcanned by the GOP as they bully the media into submission and at the same time spread the meme that they are the victims of a liberal press, and there is no answer from the Democrats. Ever. As a business person I am continually gobsmacked.

It was the perfect opportunity to both demonstrate that the GOP noise hounds are completely full of shit and head the very problem that continues to plague them off at the pass. They got killed last year because news outlets like the WaPo gave endless play to that Swift Boat nonsense and nobody said squat. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD we gave them cover, there were two thousand comments on the WaPo website expressing outrage over what was happening to Froomkin, and nobody spoke out. Not a peep.

Fine we know the big Democrats are all stuck in the Senate bathroom blowing Lindsey Graham. But when the GOP knew they had a problem on their hands with Murtha and the Preznit couldn't do the honors, it was time to call on someone from a solidly wingnut district like ol' Mean Jean and remind her how much money they'd dumped in her campaign at the last minute. Anyone who thinks that was not orchestrated by larger forces within the GOP is probably also sitting around waiting for those Nigerian millions to arrive in their bank account from Dr. Okon any minute now, too.

This is simple Marketing 101, it is not that complex, and it astounds me that the Democrats keep shoveling millions of dollars to Bob Shrum to lose key elections and nobody figures this out. The Republicans know it. Ralph Reed has spent the better part of three decades organizing the extreme wackos of the right into a highly effective weapon he points and shoots with tremendous accuracy. Is the GOP embarrassed by the lunacy, the bigotry and the ignorance of these people? You bet your ass they're not. They embrace them. They run to them. When Justice Sunday comes around, they send Bill Frist to stand with them in pride as they babble and foam.

They know those people are the money in the bank, the letter writers, the activists who put boots on the ground and deliver elections for them. It was Digby who pointed out that the right runs toward their freaks in the off-season and then distances themselves at election time. The Democrats do just the opposite. When the ANSWER people decide to protest the war or Cindy Sheehan is sitting in a ditch outside Dubya's rehab ranch well it's all just too unseemly for the Democratic leadership to be associated with. But come election time, who do they start pumping for cash? They bungled the whole K Street thing. The strains of the Mighty Wurlitzer leave them battered and bloodied in the mainstream press. The lunatic left they spend so much time distancing themselves from suddenly turns into the only cash machine they've got.

Look I understand they're all afraid of being Daschled as they stand there trembling and furiously clutching their few coins of lunch money in their sweaty palms and hoping that the highly effective, organized rage of the schoolyard bullies doesn't land on them. But sitting around hoping that the GOP fucks things up so badly that 2008 will make everything all better is delusional. It won't. The machine is still in place and being out of power will not make the right miss a beat. It was extremely effective in hijacking the Constitution and impeaching Bill Clinton at the height of his popularity, and it is not going away tomorrow until someone puts some muscle into fighting it.

The Democrats need to get to it. Embrace their freaks, stop running from the word "liberal" and send SOMEBODY, anybody, some minor congressperson from a safely Democratic district over to the Washington Post to have a loud and very public word with Len Downie and John Harris and ask WHAT THE FUCK IS UP over there that they are so accepting of Republican efforts to squeeze any critic of the administration out of their pages that they talk about it like it is no big deal. Until they are willing to organize and do battle with the beast where it lives they will continue to be scattered and picked off one by one by the GOP machine and no amount of "comity" will ever change it.