Saturday, September 06, 2008

David Frum: What matters

David Frum, a conservative author and former speechwriter for President Bush, talks about why it's important for Palin to be out in front of the debate over her qualifications to be VP as well as why it's essential to be able to make your case forcefully, and not just preach to the choir.

A question I am often asked when I give talks or lectures is: Why did the Bush communication effort end so badly? How did an administration that once commanded such public support end by losing all ability to make its case?

My answer is that the ultimate failure was encoded into the initial success. The president's communication team - of which Nicole Wallace was an important part - shared the same disdain of "elites" that permeates so much of my pro-Palin correspondence. It was not just the media elite that they disregarded. (Who could blame them for that?) It was the policy elite too. When the president wished to advocate, eg a tax cut, he did not argue his case before the Detroit Economic Club or send a surrogate to Jackson Hole. He made a rally speech before cheering supporters. That made for effective soundbites and exciting images. But it abdicated any effort to make an argument that could convince people who were not predisposed to be convinced.

- Murphy

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