Talking points for the Alabama Dems

The following is cynical, I admit. But it’s not unfair.

This past weekend I attended an impressive campaign school by Democracy for America, a band of “progressive” shock troops for the Democratic Party. I like these people and am even giving them money.

Among the DFA’s many pragmatic teachings is the 27-9-3: a message that is (ideally) no more than 27 words long, delivered in nine seconds, and makes no more than three points. The idea is to impose discipline on one’s political speech, respecting the limited attention that most people feel they can afford to give to politics.

We were encouraged to write a 27-9-3 for our state party. And here is where my troubles began. After some thought I wrote: Continue reading “Talking points for the Alabama Dems”

That press conference

Coverage of tonight’s Obama press conference, as with the health care reform issue in general, has been tediously focused on political tactics and horse trading. Media consumers are being schooled to feel that reform is a prospect to be feared, as it’s bound to be expensive and is likely to make things worse.

They allow that the U.S. health care system is flawed, but the scale and focus of that critique is almost solely on cost — especially costs to businesses — and the consequences for our “competitiveness.” Because this, you see, is how grown-ups talk about public affairs: in terms of profit, loss, growth prospects, and the global marketplace.

Mark Halperin’s post at the Time magazine blog The Page is a study in this kind of trivia and misdirection. It’s a list of “ways that Obama can make news at his Wednesday press conference” — because mature adults should know that the only thing that matters in politics is how an event feeds the news cycle and sets up the next event. Continue reading “That press conference”

Don Siegelman and dashed hopes

I may never forgive Don Siegelman. His election as Alabama governor in 1998 raised hopes for our demoralized state’s future — hopes that were plainly and movingly expressed in an essay that I’ve saved for nine years. It’s called “Selma, Alabama at 4 A.M.,” and it’s by a guy named Will Bevis from Gadsden. (I’m […]