As I read the stories surrounding President Obama's speech to school children, his content was predictable based on his years of giving speeches, and the responses by Republicans was also predictable as they continue to do the same thing over and over and over again. Their strategy of oppose everything he says and does until they decide they cannot oppose it, then they backtrack and say they created a change when no change occurred.
Build up a strawman and beat it down, then claim victory. It is a strategy that has been used for thousands of years, but one has to wonder if it will work much longer. While Socrates tried to illustrate the problems of irresponsible rhetoric 2,500 years ago, it wasn't carried globally in seconds, in a time when people all around the world have a voice.
The strategy worked long ago, but it is mocked in today's online chatrooms. That suggests that while it may work for a time longer, at some point, a new generation that is more communication savvy is going to take over, and the effects may not be as significant as they once were.
In the short term, it will play with the base, but it continues to erode the support for the GOP in the middle. That doesn't mean that President Obama and Democrats necessarily reap the rewards of support in polling numbers, but rather it means they have the opportunity to.
One might ask why that is true, but all one has to do is to look at the history and obviousness of what is going on. During the elections, the right shouted socialist, communist, and many other extremists labels at President Obama. They made the debates and his nomination speech vital, and he showed them why they matter. Independents and moderates tuned in only to find out that President Obama was none of those things, but rather a pragmatic liberal. It helped to cement President Obama's victory, but more importantly, it began to undermine the GOP's credibility to all but their most loyal base.
The right is attempting to use the decades invested into mass media to disseminate propaganda and hope that it both erodes President Obama's support, as well as attempts to sway public support for Republicans and their causes. The problem is that as they portrayed President Obama's school speech as indoctrination into socialism, President Obama's remarks were about students taking personal responsibility for their own futures, the exact opposite of what Republicans espoused.
While the propaganda will hurt President Obama's numbers for a time, he will regain numbers as his actions find success in the fall sessions of Congress. However, it will continue to erode public confidence in what the right is telling them. I don't know if it is the ego of the talking heads of the right, or the strategists, but getting too propaganda focused will undermine the audiences of the talking heads eventually.
I believe they think Fox will be their safe spot, where Glenn Beck can continue to make wildly inaccurate statements without repercussion. Where they go wrong is that it will eventually turn Fox into what the left already calls it: Faux News, home of right wing propaganda. Swaying the middle will become a lost cause for them, as even now, moderate Republicans admit Fox is not a credible news source.
As this goes on, it creates opportunity for Democrats to step up and move the country forward in ways that could create another 40 year reign in the Senate, and controlling political power. But they cannot, they will not do it by attempting to negotiate with those that will not negotiate. They must both moderate themselves to prevent the far left from turning America into socialist Europe, and push through the changes necessary to move America forward and build a better nation for tomorrow.
If they have the courage to do this, instead of the fear of the right wing echo chamber, they will become the majority party for the next one to four decades.
That means serious environmental and energy changes that turn America into the global leader in clean, sustainable energy sources that even the third world can utilize for development.
That means a health care system that doesn't just have the best medical technology, but also has medical care that everyone can afford.
That means an economic system that re-invigorates small business, not that already exist, but new start ups; and builds an economic base designed not simply for American consumers, but global consumers and their development needs.
That means a system that works to responsibly use debt, instead of trying to live in debt; that seeks to minimize debt, but isn't afraid to use it when necessary.
That means an educational system that revolutionizes education in a way that creates both opportunities for help for those who struggle, and opportunities for advancement and faster learning for those seeking the challenge.
That means a building of an infrastructure for the 21st century, instead of relying on a 20th century infrastructure and hoping it survives another century of use as it leaves us behind.
That means learning the lessons of the Cold War, where the Soviet Union collapsed because they put so much into military their infrastructure collapsed; yet we continue to overload the military in expenditures long after they are needed and the infrastructure suffers.
As Republicans push for short term gains to struggle to stay afloat and barely relevant in the 21st century, President Obama's speech illustrates just one more way where Democrats can put the nails in the GOP coffin. But speeches are just one step. Democrats must act smartly and boldly for this possibility to become a reality.
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