Tag Archives: politics

LAWBI #75: Democrats, It’s Time for a Rebrand

Democrat DonkeyWe long ago reached the point at which government became analogous to corporate competition. It’s Coke vs. Pepsi. And if the government shutdown was the Republican Party’s New Coke moment, then the Democrats squandered their opportunity to capitalize on it with HealthCare.gov — a Crystal Pepsi debacle of their own, if you will.

What do corporations do when they’re desperately in need of a boost for their market share, and their big new product has tanked? They rebrand. If you’re not familiar with marketing, a “rebrand” is — to both criminally trivialize and accurately describe it — a reworking of all of the most superficial public elements of a company’s identity, while making the fewest possible changes to the actual way the company’s sausage gets made.

Great at ideas, and terrible at getting things done, the Democratic Party is a perfect candidate for a rebrand. There’s no need to change its fundamental ideology or process; a few key changes to the standard verbiage should put a whole new face on left-wing politics, for a start. Let’s take a look at what can be done to make our liberal leaders a bit more attractive to a wider audience.

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LAWBI #69: The Politician’s Dictionary

Look: At some point, everybody misuses certain words.

It’s just a fact of life. At some point today, you’re going to be having a conversation with someone, and they’re going to say “literally” when they mean the polar opposite of “literally,” or “over” when they mean “more than,” or “chromatophore” when they mean “three-ring binder,” or whatever. Sure, it can be irritating, particularly if you’re obsessed with exactitude, or just someone with a respect for the language.

Usually, though, it’s not really that big a deal, because usually, you know what the person misusing the word is trying to say.

Politicians, though, are another story. When a politician misuses certain words, the results can be provocative or even downright disastrous. Generally not for the politician in question, but more often for the people who misunderstand what the politician intends.

Were I a more cynical person, I might suspect that politicians occasionally attempt to redefine certain words to fit and color their respective agendas. Luckily, I’m not; I just think that our duly elected representatives sometimes throw out a 50-cent word without looking it up, that’s all.

So, in the interest of education, clarity and avoiding any unpleasant miscommunications, let’s take a look at some of the terms most often misused by politicians — and exactly what they mean.

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LAWBI #54: Why Rombama Spent All That Money

This week’s column was posted early to the Creative Loafing site last night.

By this time tomorrow, America (we hope) will have elected a new president.

And the two main candidates (and their most dedicated boosters, the super PACs) will have spent well over a billion and a half dollars in their efforts to sway the 19 people in the country who hadn’t made up their minds who they were going to vote for while sitting at the family dinner table when they were 8.

A billion and a half dollars. It’s a conservative estimate.

It’s also 24,000 times the nation’s average annual household income. It’s five of the world’s most expensive private jets, the $300 million Airbus 380. It’s 100,000 new Volkswagen Jettas. Eight million train trips from Tampa to Chicago and back. Eighteen million tickets to see Aerosmith at the St. Pete Times Forum next month. One and a half billion bags of freakin’ ramen.

Spent by two men. Each of whom was trying to tell the world he would be better at balancing the country’s budget than the other. On a popularity contest.

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LAWBI #44: Change is a Pain in the Ass

So I started to write about the 2012 Copenhagen Consensus findings. About how these brilliant economists — several of them Nobel Laureates — got together to study affordable real-world solutions to the problems of underdeveloped nations that would have rapid and lasting beneficial effects on the global economy. About how, every four years, this project keeps returning to the same straightforward conclusions: spend pennies preventing malaria, dysentery and tuberculosis rather than dollars treating their effects; educate impoverished citizens on the power and potential of education itself; distribute inexpensive nutritional supplements and promote higher-yield farming techniques of healthier crops to more than offset the cost of dealing with health issues that arise from poor diet.

It’s kind of nauseating to learn how cheap and easy it would be not only to improve the health of some Third World populations, but also to ease the world’s financial crisis a bit by freeing up some of the billions wasted on the back end due to inattention, ignorance and the glacial pace of bureaucracy.

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