Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Man in the Democrat Shirt

I don't know how many of you have heard of the Man in the Hathaway Shirt; it was an ad campaign that ran in the 1950s and 1960s. As I heard the story, the model showed up, put on a Hathaway Shirt, and they took several shots of him. Then the advertising direct (David Ogilvy) put the eyepatch on him, and the rest, as they say, is history.

All of a sudden it wasn't about how well made or how white or how tight the stitching was on Hathaway shirts. It was about being the sort of guy who wore Hathaway Shirts. It was about joining an exciting world of international jet-setting guys who suffered ocular injuries.

I thought of this as I read a post over at the Anonymous Liberal, in which he covers the standard ground of the DLC. The Democratic Leadership Council wants to sell out liberalism in hopes of getting votes. What I find interesting about his rejection of this theory is the fairly self evident point that this isn't how the Republican Party does it.

If the parties ran platforms rather than personalities, Democrats would win every time. Almost all of our positions poll better than the Republicans (not to mention the Neo Cons or Dominionists). But comparing platforms in modern politics is a little bit like taking about how well stitched our shirts are, and how nice fabric is, while the Republicans have their guy with an Eye Patch.

All one has to do is remember that one of the key issues in the 2000 election was "who would you rather have a beer with?"

The Anonymous Liberal takes that to mean that we don't need to get hung up on specific programs or issues; those don't win elections anymore. In particular, he points out that the leftism of the blog-o-sphere isn't the problem that moderate Democrats make it out to be. Rather the liberal blog-o-sphere provides a forum for figuring out, well, the Man in the Democrat Shirt.

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