I would love to get onto more sophisticated concepts in this blog, but the big newsmakers keep making the same basic strategic mistakes so I, like Sisyphus, am doomed to keep pushing the same rock up the same hill. A good example is the new Democratic mantra "Our views are
right correct; it is our message that it wrong."
Good strategic analysis requires, REQUIRES, that you asks outsiders for their viewpoint on your position. You must question your analysis, but if you rely only upon your own viewpoint, you are blind to many defects that you just cannot see from your perspective. The Democrats don't get this. Howard Dean just announced that he is going to the red states, not to listen to them, but to "educate" them about Democratic positions. The assumption being, of course, that it is only their benighted ignorance that keeps them from voting Democratic.
If Democrats had run their new mantra by any objective observer, they would have learned that it sounds like the Democrats are saying either: 1) we are psychologically incapable of expressing our views, or 2) we need to get better at lying about what we stand for. Given that the Democrat spent somewhere over $500 million in the last election trying getting the right message out, you think that they would have been able to break through their emotional barriers or at least polish up their lies. Apparently not.
However, the problem is not and never has been their "message." A message plays no role in developing a strategic position. Message naturally fall out of your position. A strategic position is defined by philosophy, trends, ground, leaders, and methods. The Democrats have problems in every area with perhaps the fewest problems in the "methods" area, which is a realm which includes the message. Their biggest problem is with philosophy and until they understand that, they will have a big problem indeed.
Philosophy is the unifying factor in a strategic position. The Democrats are a house divided against themselves. There is the anti-war and pro-defense divide. There is the liberal leadership-more conservative membership divide. There is the Kennedy "liberalism forever!" and the Clinton "third way" divide. There is the postmodernism and traditional values divide. Until the Democrats bind up their wounds and choose a philosophy while clearly rejecting those who cannot agree with that philosophy, the Democrats will continue to lose members. I say this as a life-long (but indifferent) registered Democrat but someone whose real interest is in having two viable parties instead of one solid party and one failing one.
Unfortunately, I think the new Democratic mantra might be their new philosophy. They are saying, "No matter how much we disagree with each other on core philosophic values, we can agree that we are the party that is right correct and has the right moral superiority to rule and those who disagree with us are, by definition wrong and evil."