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New Democrat strategy: We must stimulate the amygdalae!

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By Michelle Malkin  •  October 26, 2007 09:50 AM

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This is high-larious. The Hill reports on an internal Democrat strategy memo complaining that the Democrat Party is too hyper-rational and lacks emotional appeal.

For real. They think “SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILLLLLDREN!” is too bland and accountant-like:

Democrats are losing the battle for voters’ hearts because the party’s message lacks emotional appeal, according to a widely circulated critique of House Democratic communications strategy.

“Our message sounds like an audit report on defense logistics,” wrote Dave Helfert, a former Appropriations spokesman who now works for Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii). “Why are we defending [the State Children’s Health Insurance Program] instead of advocating a ‘Healthy Kids’ plan?”

Helfert sent the memo this week to an e-mail list of all Democratic press secretaries and communications directors after staffers met on Monday to discuss rolling out the Democrats’ latest message.

He said the meeting left him cold because it focused on what polling shows voters want rather than how to present persuasive messages. Republicans have done a better job by developing poll data into focus group-tested messages like “culture of life” and “defending marriage,” along with attacks like “cut and run” and “plan for surrender” in Iraq, he argued.

My favorite part:

“I’m not trying to stage a coup,” Helfert said. “I’m hoping leadership and some of the members will embrace these principles.”

His memo is sharply critical of Republican policies but also suggests a neurological explanation for Republican message success: By using emotional appeals and warning of dire threats, Republicans can trigger neurons called “amygdalae” in the temporal lobe, which is the seat of the “fight or flight” response in the brain.

“Almost every Republican message contains a simple and direct moral imperative, a stark contrast between good and evil, right and wrong, common sense and fuzzy liberal thinking,” Helfert wrote. “Meanwhile, we’re trying to ignite passions with analyses of optimum pupil-teacher ratios.”

Yesterday, it was a “vote against S-CHIP is a vote against Jesus!” Last week, it was “Bush blows up people for his amusment!” And, of course, there’s the “MaglaGONG” strategy to deflect criticism of Democrat campaign finance shenanigans. And the open-borders DREAM Act agitprop.

The Democrats’ problem isn’t understimulation of the amygdalae. It’s overstimulation. Perhaps a political lobotomy–separating the nutroots lobe from the party’s thalamus–might be a far more effective prescription.

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Ed Morrissey: “The Democrats have no problem exciting the amygdalae of their followers. The problem comes when the rest of the people use the rest of their brain to analyze their agenda and their tactics. Helfert might want to have the Democrats address those issues if they want to discover why they keep getting outboxed by a lame-duck President.”

Betsy Newmark: “Democrats just can’t believe that sometimes, people actually like Republican ideas but must just be fooled by a deceptive message. And why is he so convinced that Democrats don’t know how to craft emotional messages? What about all those “do it for the children” messages that Democrrats are constantly using? Isn’t that an emotional appeal?”

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