This article by Mike Lofgren has been generating much interest in the blogosphere, and with good reason, for there is a great deal of truth to it.
There is one problem I have with it, though. Lofgren thinks that a major reason for the Republican dominance is their use of language. He writes:
“Above all, [Democrats] do not understand language. Their initiatives are posed in impenetrable policy-speak: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The what? – can anyone even remember it? No wonder the pejorative “Obamacare” won out. Contrast that with the Republicans’ Patriot Act. You’re a patriot, aren’t you? Does anyone at the GED level have a clue what a Stimulus Bill is supposed to be? Why didn’t the White House call it the Jobs Bill and keep pounding on that theme?”
Maybe this is a factor. But I am skeptical, partly because I’ve heard many a Republican make precisely this same complaint about the Democrats–not politicians or pundits, but rank-and-file Republicans. They could be lying, of course, and Republicans do accuse the Democrats of things they themselves are guilty of. Still, I think Democrats overall are just as good at this kind of thing. (It’s not that hard.)
But my real problem with this argument is that I don’t think people in general are that stupid. Call me a hopeless optimist, but in my experience most people have enough sense to see through that kind of simple trick. I think the explanations for the Republicans’ behavior lie elsewhere.
Still, it’s a great article, and I highly recommend reading it.