Will Rogers

Will Rogers

”I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.” — Will Rogers.

This week members of the press received an email from the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee that outlined talking points lawmakers should make during the week in tweets and while talking to the press.

Minutes after receiving the email, the press got another email from Murphy Bannerman, communications and research coordinator for ADLCC apologizing for the earlier email and saying: “A recent email was sent out titled ADLCC Weekly Talking Points, was not intended to be sent out to the Press.”

Oops.

That’s right, the email outlining what Democratic lawmakers should tell the public and the press was mistakenly sent to the press ahead of time.

That kind of defeats the purpose of a talking point. Will Rogers would be proud that his party continues to live up to his prophetic statement.

The document was a glimpse into how the Democrats try to organize their positions on issues. The email listed specific topics and then presented “tweetable talking points.” When presenting talking points you usually want them to relate to one or two topics, but the Democrats for this week suggested numerous talking points related to a wide range of topics from criminal justice bills to the Equal Rights Amendment.

The problem with Democrats is they have a problem staying on topic. Any issue or position taken gets quickly hijacked by special interest groups and before you know it the position is weighed down by bureaucratic language that goes off in all sorts of directions.

Take the Green New Deal proposed by progressives. It started out as a sincere manifesto to save the environment by achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while creating millions of jobs. But that issue got turned into a vision focused on social justice. Lumping climate change with other social issues dilutes the whole point. They are separate issues.

But that’s what Democrats do. They take a good idea and do all they can to make it a bad idea.

I know this because like Will Rogers, I too am a Democrat. I know how hard it is for Democrats to stay on topic.

By the way, did you see where Utah is considering making the Gila monster its state reptile? That’s absurd. The Gila monster takes its name from the Gila River and is a majestic creature that is found mostly in Arizona. It is our reptile. Utah can find some other lizard to honor.

Now where was I? Oh yes, staying on topic.

In 1992 when Bill Clinton was running against sitting Republican President George H.W. Bush, his chief campaign strategist James Carville coined the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid!”

That wasn’t meant as a campaign slogan. It was meant as a reminder to all campaign workers and Democrats to stay on point and focus on that issue in particular. He didn’t say “It’s the economy, and the ERA, and pollution, and social justice, and transgender rights, and citizen initiatives, stupid!”

As we know, Clinton went on to defeat Bush, despite the president’s popularity following the Gulf War, and then win re-election to a second term.

If Arizona Democrats want to make progress, then they need to focus on one or two topics as the minority party and work from there.

And they should also avoid sending emails to unintended recipients when trying to make a point or two.

The way many Democrats run campaigns reminds me of another historical quote from a standout political pundit of his day:

”We have met the enemy and he is us.” — Pogo.

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You can reach Andy Howell at ahowell@pinalcentral.com.

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