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I’m afraid my Democrats still don’t get it: politics is about character, not policy.

You think we’d learn after Al Gore and John Kerry. But no. The cycle repeats itself this election cycle.

Democrats all over the country, it seems to me, are running ads attacking Republicans on complex policy issues.

Republicans, in the final days, run ads that have one goal: make the Democrat simply unacceptable to voters. And stir up the base.

That’s what the “white girl/Playboy party” ad against Harold Ford in Tennessee is about.

That’s what Robin Hayes’ ad against Larry Kissell (“Wrong”) is about.

That’s what Vernon Robinson’s sexual-innuendo ads against Brad Miller are about.

Maybe the tide is strong enough that those attacks won’t work this year. I hope. Regardless, they’ll be back in 2008.

Democrats need to learn (how long, Lord, how long?) that politics is not an NPR, political science discussion.

It has become a reality show. It’s about which candidate the voters like and trust. It’s about character.

It’s about time we learned.

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6 comments on “Getting Personal

  1. WhalerCane says:


    Something we agree on. Republicans are always focussed on calling Democrats ‘bad people’ and mearly use issues to do that. It’s not that Larry Kissel opposes Bush’s Drug company payoff known as Medicare part D. but that he is “Wrong” for NC.

  2. John Burns says:

    Boy. If only two of the preeminent democratic strategists in Wake County were around to do something about it…

  3. John Burns says:

    Plus, I’m not sure I want to be in a society that finds Vernon robinson more likable and trustworthy than a guy like Brad Miller.

  4. mike says:

    Absolutely correct. Trust and Character matter.
    It is increasing not “party” anymore. Look at folks who don’t claim a party when they register in NC these days. Unaffiliated voters will become a force that politicians will have to deal with before long. These folks want government to serve them, not the “party”. Maybe that will catch on again. Oh Happy Day (s) will be here again!

  5. smelton says:

    It’s about branding. After all, at the end of each election cycle, what do any of us really know about the character of any of the candidates. We learn about their character over time as they perform their public service (or not) function. Mr. Pierce is absolutely correct, however, that the best, most successful brand images andbrand positioning campaigns are simple, not complex.

    Rs are branding Ds, and have been for the last eight years at least, because Ds have failed to brand themselves.

  6. jstegall says:

    I think Democrats do a fine job branding themselves. They do so with their actions, which the Republicans gleefully point out to voters, with predictable results. To most voters the Democrat ‘brand’ is socialist economics (big government, high taxes, centralized buearacracy, stringent regulation), libertine morality (coddle criminals–unless they’re white collar, sneer at Christians), and blame-America-first foreign policy. Republicans didn’t “make” Democrats this way, the dems did this to themselves over the years with some of the outlandish positions they have championed.

    What’s more, they used to be proud of it (when they were winning). It’s only been in the last decade or so that the dems have taken to blaming Republicans for calling their behavior to the attention of the voters.

    Now, do Republicans exagerate and over-simplify when talking about the Democrats’ positions? Yes, of course they do, just as Democrats have always done when talking about the “greedy, heartless, corrupt Republicans.” That’s the way the game is played. Complaining about it doesn’t help. It just makes you look like a whiner, and no one respects a whiner.

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