The message and the messenger

O-Dub has his doubts about Nancy Pelosi, the new House Minority Leader. He thinks she won’t be as effective as Martin Frost or Harold Ford would have been because she’s sufficiently in touch with American opinion.

That may be, but I don’t think it matters. Whoever the lead Democrat in the House is, he or she is going to have to deliver a message to the public for all of them. It’s not going to be about what Nancy Pelosi stands for, it’s going to be about what Democrats stand for. It will have to be big picture stuff, aimed at a large audience.

The point of most Democrats’ anger isn’t that the message in 2002 was too far left or too far right. It’s that there was no coherent message. You can’t fight something with nothing, and you can’t get elected simply by saying “I’m not my opponent” (just ask Doug Forrester).

Nancy Pelosi is not going to go off into a room by herself and come out with the Official Message Of The Democratic Party. Martin Frost and Harold Ford aren’t going anywhere – in fact, I expect Frost to be Minority Whip and Ford to be the Caucus Chair. I guarantee their thumbprints will be all over whatever mantra Nancy Pelosi chants.

I can see Oliver’s point, and I’ve no doubt that the right-wing attack machine is licking its chops over Nancy Pelosi. But let’s face it: They’d be doing the same thing to Frost or Ford. Rush and Hannity and Coulter don’t care about the subtle distinctions between them. They’ve already got their scripts written, with blanks to be filled in with the appropriate name.

In the item below, I note that any message has a better chance of being received if the messenger is the right person. The reverse is also true: A really compelling message can be successfully delivered by just about anyone. For the national Democrats, what’s being said is going to be more important than who’s saying it.

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2 Responses to The message and the messenger

  1. Pelosi will at least rally the Democratic base, although I can’t help but think that she was better suited for the position of minority whip – working behind the scenes for the most part – than she is for minority leader, where she will need to be a spokesperson.

  2. She did a pretty good job as whip, garnering quite a few No votes on the Iraq resolution over Gephardt’s decision to go along. I agree that she’ll help rally the base.

    It certainly is possible that she’ll be better off away from the cameras instead of in front of them, but that’s a worry for later. Getting a message and unifying behind it is the first step.

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