A political narrative is an idea or a set linked ideas that lies behind what elected official says when they are interviewed by media. These narratives are not necessarily fact-based. On a number of recent issues this has played out to the democrat's peril.
Case in point, the Republican Party have stated that it is urgent for our government to extend tax cuts for top income earners so that they will create jobs. Fact, in 2001 and 2003 the Bush administration lowered taxes for top income earners. Where are the jobs these tax cuts created? That's a good question. After cutting taxes for top income earners, there was still zero net new job creation during the Bush administration. In other words, the number of new jobs created equaled the number of jobs that were lost.
But astonishingly, the democrats have not yet put forward any consistent counter narrative to offset the bogus claim made by republicans. And now as we sit on the eve of the congressional debate on the Bush Tax Cuts, the republicans have been hammering from one interview to the next and from one elected official after the other, the same narrative: "Cut taxes for all. Taxes must be lowered on top income earners in order to have more job creation." What has been the democratic response? To simply respond to these false assertions made by republicans. But is that a strategy?
Senator elect Mark Kirk from Illinois was interviewed today about the Bush Tax Cuts and extending Unemployment Benefits. Here is an example of using narratives that are completley false to advance an agenda.
Is it impossible for the democrats to come up with a coherent narrative to effectively go on offense against these type of republican "talking points" that are full of falsehoods?
On another recent debate on health care, the democrats asserted that savings could be found if the way that Medicare payments were structured to physicians were changed. The republicans in turn put out the false narrative" Democrats are cutting Medicare" and it worked. During the recent Midterm elections, seniors overwhelmingly voted republican. Astonishing, when you think of the fact that democrats have been the one party consistently trying to save and protect Medicare while republicans, over the years, have tried at every turn to actually diminish this program. But, this is what happens when you are operating in a political environment with no narrative or story to tell while your opposition is hammering away at you with their false narratives daily.
The narrative tells the public what it is they are doing and why it is important these things be done in order to benefit the public. When will democrats learn the importance of creating narratives to communicate their agenda to the public? Democrats used to be very good at doing this. Franklin Roosevelt's administration was a case study in how you appeal to working class Americans and keep them on your side by utilizing narratives even through the most troubled economy in this history of this nation. By democrats not understanding the need to utilize naratives in their communication with the general public, republicans will continuely win these "message wars." The democrats operate at their own peril if they do not figure this out in 2010.