Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It is not what you say...

The Nader campaign is describing their launch Sunday in glowing terms.

We had a great launch yesterday.

Ralph Nader appeared on Meet the Press with Tim Russert.

Major media outlets throughout the world ran headlines about Ralph’s historic challenge to the corporations that dominate our society.

And the names, the volunteers, the money started to flow.

Now, we’re starting to build a national organization to get Ralph on the ballot so that together we can challenge the corporate political parties in this momentous election year.

There are 2 ways to view this. The Nader Team put the best spin that the can on it However, I have a feeling that these comments by Tom Tomorrow at This Modern World are accurate.
Nader’s critique of corporate power and its corrosive effect on American democracy is spot-on. But if the point of these third-party runs is to inject that critique into mainstream discourse — well, we’re way past the point of diminishing returns, and actually deep into some sort of anti-matter universe, in which information is literally sucked out of people’s brains at the first mention of his name. In the way that Dan Rather’s report on George Bush going AWOL turned into a discussion about Dan Rather, the only debate another Nader candidacy is going to inspire is a debate about Nader himself, and I just don’t see the point.
It is clearly evident that the print media is not paying much attention to what he is saying and doing. I could have written most of their stories before the announcement, they only had to get the right quotes from his talk because they had already made up their minds what the "story" would be before it happened.

In fact, the words used by the Nader Team just underscore that the media assumption was the correct characterization.
Major media outlets throughout the world ran headlines about Ralph’s historic challenge to the corporations that dominate our society.
As long as this is the sole basis for his candidacy, then the prognostication of so-called pundits like ABC's George Stephanopoulos, who characterized the day of announcement as the high point of Nader's campaign, will become the reality.

Republican pollster Frank Luntz subtitled his most recent book. "It's not what you say, it's what people hear." This is not a message that the American Public will hear in this election cycle. A Green Party candidate, or an Independent candidate running with this as their primary message, will not do well. Nader seems to understand that. He opened his comments on Meet the Press with the Health Care issue, arguing for Single Payer. Not a word was heard. A different story had already been written in everyone's minds.

If Nader is going to be successful, he has to find a way change the dynamics of the debate. It is rather like Clinton trying to deal with Obama. If she just goes along, Obama can just move along. If she goes really negative, then it makes her look bad and it legitimizes his stature as front runner. The situation is out of her control because Obama is a phenomenon

The same is true in Nader's campaign. The situation is out of Nader's control, or at least has been so far.

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