RUSH: The last time that we heard about the Democrats and their message, we also heard about a guy they were relying on to help them come up with that message, his name was George Lakoff, rhymes with. USA Today has a story: ‘Democrats get advice on how to talk about issues.’ It just never ends, these recurring themes that the Drive-Bys continue to pummel us with. We never see stories about Republicans getting advice on how to talk about issues. All we get are stories of Republicans ought not be speaking; Republicans ought to be shutting up. Well, Republicans don’t need advice on how to talk because they all get talking points from Karl Rove, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. ‘Both political parties are in a constant search for advisers who can make them winners. Many Democrats think they’ve found one this year in psychologist Drew Westen, author of a new book on passion and politics.’ What happened to Lakoff?
Westen’s book is ‘The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, released last week, has catapulted the Emory University professor from the ivory tower to the political epicenter. And Democrats throughout the capital are listening to his prescriptions and adapting them for practical use. Westen’s essential point: ‘Passion is what drives us’ in the voting booth, yet ‘the words we use on the left are emotionally barren.” Really? The words on the left are emotionally barren? All the left is emotion. ”The words we use on the left are emotionally barren.’ To stop losing winnable elections, he says, Democrats need to engage the parts of the brain that aren’t activated by facts and figures.’ Well, that makes perfect sense if you’re a Democrat. Don’t tell people the truth and don’t tell people the facts. That sounds like what the prescription is. But rooted in this is the belief that people are too stupid to figure it out and follow it, start giving them facts and figures and so forth.
‘Westen has met with union leaders, political donors and fundraisers, liberal and centrist groups, party committees, members of Congress and all major presidential campaigns. The Senate Democratic Policy Committee is working with him on a ‘messaging project.’ Last week Democratic senators each received a copy of The Political Brain.
The centrist Democratic Leadership Council heard Westen at its spring retreat and invited him back to address hundreds of elected officials this month in Nashville. Westen is also collaborating with Third Way, a progressive, non-partisan think tank, on a strategy memo. The goal, says Third Way President Jon Cowan, is to get candidates of any party to focus on ‘the received impression’ of their words — how people perceive what they’re saying. That means learning that ‘reason and rationality … are not the most effective political weapons’ in a campaign.’ Well, the Democrats have got that down. What do they need to learn? There is no reason, and there’s no rationality. All they do now is pummel us with emotion and fear and trying to scare everybody. Their politics is the politics of crisis and the politics of fear.
‘Republicans have been honing their language since the late 1980s, when Newt Gingrich began mailing training tapes to tens of thousands of conservative officeholders at all levels of government. They learned what issues to talk about — and how to talk about them — as they commuted to and from work.’ All this is fine and dandy, and I understand the desire to learn how to communicate better. Whatever happened to the simple concept here of the truth? Meaning, whatever happened to the concept of, if you’re a candidate or an officeholder, tell people what you really think. Whatever happened to a message of inspiration? Whatever happened to can do attitude? Whatever happened to optimism? Those are the basic things that are missing here in, sadly, too much of both parties’ rhetoric. That’s why I say it’s all fear based, it is emotion. Passion, by the way, Drew Westen is right about that, passion is magnetic. You listen to two people discussing something passionately, and it could be bowling and you’ll stop and listen to it for a while.
RUSH: Heidi, Kansas City, Missouri, you are next. I’m glad you held on. Welcome to the program.
CALLER: Hey, Rush. Dittos from a proud mother of three Rush babies.
RUSH: Thank you. I appreciate that.
CALLER: So you were talking earlier about how they don’t have — that they’re nothing but passion, and you’re right, but — and they are —
RUSH: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not quite what I said. They’ve got this new spokesman. Last year was George Lakoff, now they found a new guy, Drew Westen has written a book.
RUSH: And his point was you gotta be — use emotion.
CALLER: Right. And they do use emotion, and it works for them.
CALLER: They’re just not using any emotion that is tapping into anybody new. Everything they’re emotional about is negative for the country but positive for some special interest group. And those special interest groups are supporting them.
RUSH: Yeah, but they’re going to support them anyway. This is just trying —
CALLER: That’s exactly right.
RUSH: This is campaign fundraising time, this is the primary season, and they’re just trying to feed the beast that’s the kook fringe base. But you’re right, I mean their passion is all negative, and it is all fearmongering. The thing that amazes me about the guy’s book, what the Democrats think it’s so important, is because the book says don’t worry about facts and truth, you gotta hit ’em with emotion. What is liberalism if not an appeal to emotion? Fear, negative emotions.
CALLER: You’re absolutely correct. But the part that they’re missing that they don’t understand, and theory they’re never going to understand, I mean you talk to liberals, they’re, you know, don’t confuse them with facts. And the thing is, is that they think that getting more emotional is going to help them, and it’s not going to help them, it’s not going to garner anything new for them because they’re not going to be gaining the interest of anybody other than who they’ve already gained the interest of.
RUSH: Well, you know, I was singing that song all last year, leading up to the ’06 elections in November.
CALLER: Yeah, but we didn’t vote for the Democrats. People voted against the Republicans because of what the Republicans have done.
RUSH: That’s true. I couldn’t agree with you more on that. But at the same time, I was stunned. I still think it’s going to happen, I still think there’s going to be backlash against them for all this, not just the rhetoric on the war and they’re eagerness for losing it, and they’re already proclamation we have lost it, but just this constant anger, rage, and hatred. It is not infectious. And that’s your real point, isn’t it?
CALLER: That is.
RUSH: Because passion, in order to work, people gotta be talking about what they love.
CALLER: That’s right. I mean, there was tons of passion with Ronald Reagan, and he garnered so much of the vote that had never, ever voted conservative before, because he was speaking about things that spoke to people at their core being. He wasn’t frightening people. He was making people believe in themselves and believe in the country and believe that we had a chance to do something good.
RUSH: That’s exactly right. That’s why people said of Reagan that he made ’em feel good about the country again. And the Democrats are not doing that. It’s not in them to do that. Fear and crisis are the byword, the coins of their realm if you will, because they’re about control in as many facets of life as they can secure. Heidi, great points, I’m glad you called. Let’s go to Steve quickly in Long Island out of New York. Welcome to the program, sir. You’re up.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. How are you?
CALLER: I just wanted to make a comment about the connection between the medical doctors and the terrorism in England.
CALLER: I’m just thinking about if Hillary gets elected, then what is she going to do when medicine is no longer a job that Americans are willing to do? Where is she going to get doctors from and how is she going to make sure they’re safe?
RUSH: So, yeah, this is a problem with socialized medicine.
RUSH: All the good doctors start private clinics, if Mrs. Clinton would allow that. You know, those have sprung up in the UK, by the way.
CALLER: Yes, I know that.
RUSH: And people who are able to afford their own health care are going to these private clinics, and that’s got everybody roiled and has for some time. That’s why it’s a good point. That’s why in the UK they’re having to import doctors from around the world.
CALLER: Well, it seems to me that she has some explaining to do exactly how she’s going to staff national health service —
RUSH: She’s not going to get anywhere near that kind of detail. That’s the whole point of talking about this book. She’s not going to get in detail. Their advisors are telling them those details are just going to confuse people and in truth it’s just going to scare people. They’re going to keep talking about health care in one of these sop, sob story emotional ways. All the children that don’t have it; we’ve got to do something; we’ve tried the private sector; we’ve tried this, there’s nothing working. It’s going to be a totalitarians emotional appeal, and it will work on some people. Nobody’s going to ask her those questions.
CALLER: Well, we’re too stupid to understand the details anyway, aren’t we?
RUSH: In their minds. Some of us aren’t. See, they know some of us aren’t. The ones that are smart enough to understand it are listening to this program and hosting this program.
RUSH: So something has to be done about that.
CALLER: I agree. Thank you very much.
RUSH: Okay, Steve. I appreciate the call. Thanks so much. Oops, hit the wrong button. We’ve gotta take a brief time-out here. Coming up the break at the bottom of the hour. But try this headline: Scientist tests husband’s DNA, fidelity. A scientist tested the DNA in her husband’s underwear and found out he had been unfaithful and she’s the one in trouble because it’s a violation of the law.