Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur

This Man Is Lying

An important political game that the Republicans are once again proving themselves good at, and the Democrats less so, is Defining The Other Guy: painting him in peoples' minds the way you want folks to see him. The Bushies are trying to paint Kerry as a flip-flopping wimp. The Democrats really ought to hit back appropriately, by socking Bush in his weak spot. He's proven himself a master of the Reagan Big Lie: if you keep lying over and over, smiling while you do so, a great number of people will believe you. That's what needs to be punctured.

So imagine this. A very simple website, called something like "this man is lying dot org". It contains little but a single-page PDF file, which is updated each week. The page has a big splash at the top, showing Bush's picture, with a headline of "This Man Is Lying about: [something]". Each week, the [something] changes, so you get:

This Man Is Lying about: Medicare
This Man Is Lying about: John Kerry
This Man Is Lying about: Iraq
This Man Is Lying about: The Economy
This Man Is Lying about: The Environment

Etc. Each week would be a different topic; I think there are enough meaty subjects to keep the thing busy from here until Election Day.

The guts of the sheet would be simple bullet points of Bush's lies on this topic. Each would show what he said (with date and context), followed by a *brief* description of its falsehood. It would be very important to pick clear falsehoods, and the corrections must be properly sourced: the Bush campaign mustn't be able to contradict any of them. That requires a good deal of work and research, but I'm fairly sure that there's enough material by now to sustain it. (I suspect that the website would need an editorial board behind it, to come up with and check the facts.)

The website is *not* the intended means of distribution, though. The reason for doing it as a one-page PDF is that you then encourage folks to print it out and make copies of it. (Hence, while the PDF might use a little color, it should be B&W friendly.) Have folks leave copies on tables. Post it on bulletin boards. Tack it up on telephone poles. Hand copies out at the supermarket. Whatever: the point is that, while you want to use the Internet as the distribution mechanism, you want the thing to become ubiquitous in the real world. Publicity for this project would be by word of mouth -- the blogosphere would eat this up with a spoon. It has the delightful quality of requiring virtually no money by modern political standards: it could run perfectly adequately off of PayPal donations for maintenance of the website.

Done properly, this would serve two important functions. First, it does a very forthright and honest job of damaging Bush's image. He's tried to paint himself exactly the same way Reagan did: a little stupid, but very much the Good Guy, so you should vote for him. By pointing out, over and over again, that he is *not* the Good Guy, you instill doubt. Not enough doubt to convince the 30% (or whatever) of the population would would vote for him even if he was found eating babies for lunch, but enough to wake up the swing voters to the fact that he's basically untrustworthy.

Second, and really just as important, it gets folks involved at the grass roots. It provides a convenient way for people to get their foot in the door, and feel like they're making a little bit of a difference. Politics nowadays often feels like it's being played out by titans, way over the heads of ordinary folks, and so they get discouraged, feeling like there's nothing they can do without giving their lives over entirely to the cause. But almost anybody can print out a page and give some copies out, helping them feel like they matter and can make a little bit of a difference. That's good for morale, a important quality that is sometimes overlooked in political campaigns.

I'll freely admit that I don't have the energy or will right now to spearhead this thing, although I'd love to help with it. Feel free to spread the idea around, and point people to this posting if you think it's a good idea -- maybe someone with the appropriate motivation and competence will take the idea and run with it...

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