Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sigh. Dick Van Dyke knew all about it.

Sorry.  More politics.  Sorry, RC, no guinea pics yet. The real problem there is that the guinea story is too important- so I keep putting it off, need to do it right.

Politics, on the other hand, is really very simple.  And very annoying at the moment.

I'm going to recycle a little essay here from- oh, 4 years ago.  Just substitute "Obama" for "Kerry" - and sometimes "McCain" for "Bush"- and every thing else is exactly the same.



Here's the thing.

The reason the Kerry campaign is so puzzled by their lack of traction is because they utterly do not understand what they are opposing; or what they themselves are doing. In spite of years of good political experience.

Dick Van Dyke had a brief variety show, I think, after his TV triumph with Mary Tyler Moore. He did a skit I saw, which with complete clarity illustrates the present problem.

Dick's guest star on one show was the current Heavyweight Boxing contender. So they had a skit about a match; between the boxer, an enormous, powerful, charismatic, black gentleman; and Dick.

The boxer boxed. Dick played chess.

I can see the skit quite clearly yet. They both got into the boxing ring; boxer in trunks, Dick in a suit. In the middle of the ring was a chess set, on a table, with two chairs. The referee gave them the rules; they sat down at the table. Dick looked intently at the chess men; and his opponent-- and boldly- made a chess move. The boxer looked briefly at the board; and Dick- then hauled off and clobbered Dick; knocking him across the ring and into the ropes.

Dick was very puzzled. Climbed out of the ropes; half-crawled across the floor to his chair; pulled himself up, sat down... and cautiously made another chess move. The boxer hit him again; harder; leaving him upside down and tangled in the ropes.

Whereupon Dick disentangled himself; crawled back to the chair... and made another chess move.

And the boxer hit him again.

I don't remember how the skit ended; I was kind of rolling on the floor at this point, at the brilliant absurdity. But you can see quite clearly the only possible end.

This is exactly what the Kerry folks are doing; and I don't think they realize it; or they'd start boxing a little.

The Democrats are hung up on logic. They nicely point out that x, y, and z; done by Bush and his gang, are not good; not sensible, and we should all do something else. Democratic voters all say, "Yeah, exactly! How can they not see it??"

The Republicans respond with primal chest pounding: "AMERICA!! FREEDOM!! LOYALTY!!"

Logical analysis of problems has NOTHING to do with this situation. Direct emotional appeals will trump logic every time, with many many voters. Finely tuned logic will indeed just make many of them suspicious. So; do we want to continue to preach to the shrinking choir; or actually reach some Republican voters? The Move On ads I've seen are usually particularly bad about this- they make Democrats feel good, and annoy Republicans. Hello?


Kerry could quite easily handle this. Stand up, and pound his chest back at them- and make a little fun of it all.


I wrote that almost exactly 4 years ago.  Passed it around a bit; but I wasn't blogging then.

Please do pass this around if you find it of interest.  It's not- yet- too late.  Maybe.


Sam Charles Norton said...

You might be interested in this article, which makes the same point in a less amusing fashion.

jewishfarmer said...

I loved this post! What a great metaphor.


Anonymous said...

...and also literally true. During the RNC, whenever a person in the audience would unroll a banner or a t-shirt or shout something in opposition to the speaker the crowd would chant USA! USA! USA! to cover up the sound of them being dragged off by security.

The winning tactics are so disturbing to see in action.

Anonymous said...

The politics is pretty depressing. Thanks for eventually getting around to the guineas. I will wait patiently. I hope they are reducing the tick population successfully.

homebrewlibrarian said...

Sure wish I'd seen that Dick Van Dyke skit. Maybe I'd be more philosophical about the current political election circus. And if one more person asks me what I think of Sarah Palin, I may just have to resort to violence!

I'm with rc - let's hear about the guineas. That's a much better topic to ponder, in my humble opinion.

Kerri in AK

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Ann, who commented on Ronni Bennett's blog, for posting the URL to this brilliant comment. Thanks to GreenPa for writing it. If there were a god, surely, she would make everyone play by the same rules. *Shuffling off in bemusement*
Cop Car

Theresa said...

Wow. This also accurately describes the Canadian election now underway, and while our Bush-wanna-be Harper will win, with a majority this time.

Will the chess players ever win against the boxers? I so want to live in a world where it is at least possible.

Greenpa said...

A little note here: I've just discovered that the skit I remembered- accurately, thank goodness; came from the Emmy winning, short-lived TV show "Van Dyke And Company", newly available on DVD. And the large charismatic black gentleman was George Foreman; Episode 7, I believe.