As much as I despise the Republican Party and believe that Democrats do a vastly better job of running the government, there is one area where I think the Republicans have it all over the Dems. They are much more convincing on television. When I see Republican politicians on the various political chat shows, I am usually left with little doubt as to where they stand. They speak confidently, and they make their points with a certian amount of forcefulness. The Democrats usually look surprised by whatever question they were just asked and fumble around for some wimpy, half-baked and often incoherent answer.
Of course, this partly represents a difference in character between Republicans and Democrats. The former speak with the confidence of fanatics. Republican politicians are usually people who simply do not care what others have to say, making it easier for them to make their case without fretting about contrary data. Democrats are by nature more open-minded and more willing to think seriously about the views of others. This often comes across as wishy-washiness on televsion.
That said, the Dems really must do a better job of making their case. A good place to start is this video of Hillary Clinton responding to a typical bit of rudeness from an ignorant right-wing mouth-breather. I have taken the liberty of transcribing everything below:
QUESTIONER: Senator Clinton, at a time when the world’s two biggest examples of socialized medicine — Britain and Canada — are moving away from the system, and the people who are in those countries from the lower economic rung, those systems hurt them most, why are you still insisting on moving that system in here, particularly when it will hurt Afircan-American communities more than anybody else?
CLINTON: Oh man, I can’t answer that in thirty seconds. That was a string of misrepresentations about me and the systems in other countries, so I’m going to have to get a little more time on that.
MODERATOR: If you can stay longer!
CLINTON: Number one, I have never advocated socialized medicine, and I hope all the journalists hear that loudly and clearly, because that has been a right-wing attack on me for fifteen years. And it is worng –
QUESTIONER: That’s what universal medicine is.
CLINTON: No, well do you think Medicare is socialized medicine?
QUESTIONER: (pause) To a degree it is.
CLINTON: Well, then you are in a small minority in America, because Medicare has literally saved the lives and saved the resources of countless generations of seniors in our country. And, you know, Medicare is a system that we fund through our paychecks, and yes the government pays the bills, but no governemtn tells you, no government bureaucrat tells you the doctor you have to go to or the hospital you have to go to, and I think you’d be hard-pressed to find very many Americans who wanted to do away with Medicare.
But what we have is a mixed system. We have about three hundred million people in our country and more than forty-five million don’t have insurance. We’ve got about a hundred million plus who are taken care of by Medicare, Medicaid, Veteran’s, Department of Defense, and then we have the rest who get some varying degree of insurance from their employers or they pay for it on themselves in some proportion. And no other country, advanced country, has so many of its citizens without health care, number one. Number two, the outcomes in countries like Canada, Britain, the rest of Europe, Japan, Australia, that have a uniform national system are better on balance than in this country. And I can give you the statistics and you can shake your head –
MODERATOR: We don’t have time for debate.
CLINTON: Well, gee, I love this –
CLINTON: So why don’t you come talk to my staff, I’m sorry you didn’t say your name so I don’t know who you are. Come introduce yourself to my staff, and we will try to give you some information if you’re interested in being educated instead of being rhetorical.
Zing! If only Democrats always talked like that. It’s worth watching the video too to get the full force of the questioner’s confident rudeness, coupled with Clinton’s contemptuous mannerisms and facial expressions.