If you're like me, you're waking up every morning praying to whatever higher power you believe in that the Democrats will suddenly grow a large pair of cajones and rip the GOP a new one.
The 2008 battle for the White House, one that will literally determine the fate of the world, is being fought as all battles are today -- in words and images. As a novelist, I understand the power of the written word, as a screenwriter the incomprehensible power of pictures.
Sorry to tell you folks, but Sarah Palin and John McCain come complete with riveting visuals -- McCain with his prisoner of war footage, and gorgeous-by-anyone's standards Palin standing with her foot on the head of a moose. If I were their campaign manager I'd be pinching myself to see if I were dreaming. Obama, handsome and dignified as he is, still has brown skin and big ears. And Joe Biden, bless his heart, is about as visually interesting to look at as a bowl of cheerios. Right now the Dems are sadly outmatched when it comes to images.
It kills me to think that such earthshaking decisions as this election are determined by such lowest-common-denominator factors as these. But all you have to do is remember Nixon's five o'clock shadow, or JFK's big, handsome, toothy smile to realize I've got a point. So what are we left with here?
Words. That's all.
But let there be no mistake. Words can win this. They simply have to be chosen wisely. The other day a friend of mine, Don Paul, uttered a simple phrase that struck me like an ice-pick to the brain.
"Just call them Republicans."
In recent weeks I'd come up with my own ideas for campaign advertisements -- an endless loop of John McCain claiming he didn't know much about the economy; another of Phil Gramm calling Americans hurt by the mortgage meltdown "whiners." But Don Paul's concept had mine beat by a mile.
Every time you utter the words "Palin" or "McCain," he said, associations are instantly made. Those dramatic images come to mind -- brave, handsome soldier returning home to a hero's welcome; beauty queen with high powered rifle shooting wolves from a chopper.
We can change those images in a heartbeat. All the Democratic attack ads (and make no mistake, that is exactly what is needed now) should stop calling these jokers by their names and just start calling them Republicans. The visuals to go along with the word are legion - the horrors of the Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina, streets lined with foreclosed houses, $4.00 a gallon gas, neglected war veterans, McCain kissing W's neck. Just use your imagination.
What's in a name? When that name is "Republican" and it's leveraged by the architects of the Democratic campaign, nothing less than an Obama/Biden landslide in November.
Use it...or lose it.
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