What do we say?

Response to Republican negativity.

The first thing we need to do is stop letting Republican commentators and letter writers get away with telling lies about Democrats and shading the facts so that they are favorable to Republicans and hurtful towards Democrats.  We must counter their arguments with facts if we have them.  It is always useful to show that your opponent is lying or just doesn't know the truth.  However many topics don't involve specific details that can be countered with a single fact or two.  For these you need to show how their arguments violate the beliefs that our American democracy is founded.  For these you typically don't need to go much farther than the documents of our founding, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.  You can go farther on this,  Jeffrey Feldman has written a book, Framing The Debate, in which he analyzes a part of a speech of several presidents and shows the ideas in them can be used.

Make a positive statement.

A better approach is to make a positive statement and let the Republicans respond to you.  Becides being a better approach politically, we who live in small rural communities have an additional benefit.  The Republican is generally top down.  Their "top" is in Washington DC, they aren't going to respond to us.  Larger communities will have more literate commentators but their aren't a lot in rural eastern Washington who are accostomed to expressing themselves in print.  Most of those who do express themselves so poorly that they end up making points for the Democratic side.

In terms of exactly what to say, there are a number of good sources for ideas.  My web site has a major area entitled "Book Reports" that contains my notes on the books that I have read recently.  Four books in there are very explicit in terms of what nationally known Democrats are thinking and their ideas of where we should be going.  These are Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed's The Plan: Big Ideas for America and James Carville and Paul Begals's Take it Back.  These contain specific, platform like, ideas.  Cognitive Scientist George Lakoff has published two, fairly short, books, "Don't Think of an Elephant", and "Thinking Points".  These two books explain the differences between Republicans and Democrats and how this understanding can help us make our arguements.  

One thing we need to keep in mind is that we are not arguing with the person who is making the comments.  We are using our platform to make the argument to the independents, the bi-conceptuals.  The writer is too convinced that he is right to change his mind.  We just need to counter their agruments and make out own to the independents.  

I will attempt to get copies of the appropriate Democratic Party Platforms and other material that could be useful.