Thursday, March 12, 2009

Focus on ideas, not politics

Jim Hansen has a Reader's View in today's Statesman, wherein he argues that Idaho Republicans are failing to plan ahead and to invest in Idaho's work force. A well reasoned and supported opinion piece.

But, unfortunately, probably emasculated by the headline: "Idaho needs to reverse GOP course."

Jim's audience was independents and perhaps moderate Republicans, to persuade them to consider Democrats as an alternative to parsimonious Republicans who refuse to support important needs of the State. The headline, I suspect, will cause most of that group to skip the opinion. Most folks like to hear and read stuff that reinforces their thinking, not challenges it.

The thrust of the piece was, indeed, to elect Democrats and reduce Republican control in the Idaho legislature. Jim wrote about a couple of different failings of the GOP, so the headline was fair.

Perhaps Jim might get more of his target audience if he ignores Republicans. I suggest that he, and any other Dem who gets to have a Reader's View, ignore the politics and focus on the good ideas. Make a case for what is the best idea, and voters will just naturally move toward the party with that idea, or with the most good ideas.

Idahoans aren't all that deeply informed about politics, but they have an almost reflexive affinity for Republicans. So, if the battleground is Republican vs Democrat, the Democrats are going to lose. If the battleground is what plan will prevent the curtailment order, for example, people affected by the curtailment will support the party with the best idea.


Julie Fanselow said...

Alan, you make a good point here. In Jim's defense, I'll just say that the headline on the original op-ed when we sent it out was "Idahoans need real economic foresight and responsibility."

Op-ed writers seldom have a say in what winds up in the headline.

alan said...

Yeah, I know that you are at the mercy of the headline writer. And it was good op-ed, well written and all. No criticism intended.

Sisyphus said...

Excellent post Alan. Glad the Statesman finally got a "news hole" to publish Hansen's editorial.