0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
Democratic rhetoric is become ever more desperate and overheated as we approach the November midterm elections. Last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that GOP positions on immigration were motivated by racism. She was followed by Representative Steve Israel, the head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, who said, “To a significant extent, the Republican base does have elements animated by racism.” Even some leftists, such as Ruth Marcus of the Washington Post, have rebuked the excess of these attacks. Referring to Democrats’ use of the “equal pay” issue to buttress claims that Republicans are waging “a war on women,” Marcus wrote, “The level of hyperbole — actually of demagoguery — that Democrats have engaged in here is revolting.”What is going on? Increasingly, journalists who cover the White House are concluding that the smears are part of a conscious strategy to distract voters from Obamacare, the sluggish economy, and foreign-policy reverses; the attacks are intended, the thinking goes, to drive up resentment and hence turnout among the Democratic base.Major Garrett, the CBS White House correspondent, has talked with White House aides who confirm that the administration is working from the theory of “stray voltage,” as developed by former White House senior adviser David Plouffe. “The theory goes like this,” Garrett wrote. “Controversy sparks attention, attention provokes conversation, and conversation embeds previously unknown or marginalized ideas in the public consciousness,”Deliberately misstating information about key issues in order to keep certain issues before the public is often a premeditated strategy. “The tactic represents one more step in the embrace of cynicism that has characterized President Obama’s journey in office,” John Dickerson wrote at Slate. “Facts, schmacts. As long as people are talking about an issue where my party has an advantage with voters, it’s good.”Frank James of NPR is another mainstream journalist who has concluded that the use of incendiary rhetoric is part of an electoral strategy. “Social scientists who have studied voters have found that voter participation rises when voters are emotionally engaged,” he noted. “For some voters, suggestions that some of the opposition to Obama and his policies is more than just honest disagreement — and is indeed racially based — could help do the trick.”