March 24, 2005

Evans challenger plays morals card

Jim Mowen, a recently announced Republican challenger for Lane Evans' 17th district seat, is apparently more than willing to play the God card, judging by a recent article in the Dispatch/Argus.

"I see a void in economic development, in jobs. I look at the voting record and see a lack of moral leadership and moral values," he said.
Ding, ding, ding... extra points for wedging in "moral" twice in one sentence AND equating Democratic views with immorality.
"I think it's fair to say that after 22 years of losing the election at this level, that the Republican base is fragmented. I think it's going to take a serious effort to run a campaign and coordinate a silent majority that is probably feeling beat up, to accomplish what needs to be accomplished," he said.
And points for using the code word "silent majority" to appeal to the fundamentalists.
"I think that being a business person, a husband and a father, someone who lives day in and day out a pretty normal life, that I understand what 'Joe Quad-Cities' feels and I understand what representation means. I don't mind going to Washington and ruffling some feathers."
Hmmmm. Now he gets down to business. He borrows one of Bush's more queer habits of constantly assuring us he "understands" broad concepts. He's a husband. Guess if you get hitched, that pretty much makes you fit for office. He's a father. Well, he reproduced. That counts for something, though I hear it can actually be fun. And he lives "day in and day out a pretty normal life." Well hell, that cinches it. And the feather ruffling is just icing on the cake.

And notice how he stealthily implies by contrast that Evans, who is unmarried and of course, doesn't have children, is somehow not "normal". Yep, that tactic sounds like it was torn right from Ralph Reed or Karl Rove's playbook. A good Godly tactic to be sure.
He also has taken seven missionary trips since June 2000.
Well damn. He's even tried to convert the heathens. It will be tough for Evans to run against Mowen and God. I mean, you can't beat God's name ID, though his "right track/wrong track" numbers aren't so hot.


At 3/24/2005 2:18 PM, Blogger Fly-on-the-wall said...

I have enough trouble with politics on this side of the river, so I don't really have much of an opinion about Cong. Evans or this erstwhile opponent. Nonetheless, your entry brings up the question of phrasing/parcing within the campaign context. And there are some very interesting concerns there. Concerns not just to me (although I have been thinking them over somewhat lately), but also on some of the bigger blogs (e.g., DailyKos that I sometimes frequent).

At it's essence, the proposition would be this: Our principles don't mean squat unless we win elections and gain some control over the levers of government power.

Frankly, I hear a fair amount of support for the above proposition from Demos. And I have no doubt it has a lot of support among Repubs.

So maybe Mr Mowen truly regrets the necessity of framing the campaign in such terms. Maybe he recognizes that campaigns can drive wedges and sow divisions that are damaging to communities and society at large. But perhaps he (as I'm sure others have) has concluded that a greater good is served and there's a net gain achieved.

What you're seeing in Mr Mowen might be being repeated across the country by Demos and Repubs alike, each using their own separate set of "code phrases" to motivate their own bases and define their opponent in a bad light. It's politics in America in the 21st century.

At 3/24/2005 2:42 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

All valid points. After all, politics ain't beanbag, or as Gene Lyon's observed, it's not a PTA meeting either.
It's obvious that Mowen is very adept at sowing that subtle insinuation while throwing red meat to the base.
While I certainly wish that sort of thing wasn't considered necessary, and the hypocrisy of those on the right that choose to wear their religion on their sleeves is incredibly galling, the fact remains that by today's standards in politics, Mowen's doing a good job.

And of course, I think the Dems need to sharpen up on these kind of tactics as well. The problem is, there are no comparable code words and tactics as the right has been the beneficiary of years of incessant propaganda efforts. People now are conditioned to respond to such codes as "normal" and "morals", etc. They've all been taught how to react.
Newt Gingrich pioneered this when he came out with his list of words to use when describing Democrats, such as "abnormal" "depraved", etc.
It's been pushed so hard and so long that all the right needs to do is throw a few of these terms around and it instantly conjures exactly the exagerated image they desire.
Does the term "conservative" have as much negative conotations as "liberal"? Hell no. Democrats haven't constructed this elaborate yet simplistic overall picture of the nasty right.

Anyway, I'm just sorry that such tactics are now regarded as absolutely required. And the fact that they operate in this way while spouting off about their superior morality and piety, well, it's extremely frustrating and pisses me off.


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