Deep secrets of the banana

Rumpole of the Bailey had “She Who Must Be Obeyed” (his wife). Now Dems have the Word Which Must Not Be Spoken.

At National Journal Charlie Cooke directs attention to the advice disseminated to Democrats by James Carville et al. in a memo summarizing poll results for Democracy Corps, the survey research and message development arm of the House Democratic leaders. Cooke explains that “[f]or tax reasons, all results have to be publicly released, thus giving outsiders a look over the shoulder at some of the highest quality research out there.”

In year 6 of the Age of Obama, Democrats running for office are advised not to use the word “recovery” to describe the economy. In Cooke quotes the following paragraph from the Carville/Greenberg memo:

Democrats have to be hard-hitting and focused on the economy. As a start, Democrats should bury any mention of “the recovery.” That message was tested in the bipartisan poll we conducted for NPR, and it lost to the Republican message championed by Karl Rove. The Democratic message missed how much trouble people are in, and doesn’t convince them that policymakers really understand or are even focusing on the problems they continue to face. That framework gets in the way of a direct economic message.

In the Carter era, of course, Carter economic adviser Alfred Kahn employed the use of the word “banana” in lieu of “recession” or “depression.” Carville stops short of recommending this useful device from the Carter era, but it’s time for Democrats to get creative, and you can be sure they will.


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