It’s been almost two years since I launched what’s become one of those blog’s most popular features that doesn’t involve waving guns at drug dealers – the “Chanting Points Memo”.
Since we’re heading into a new campaign, I figured it was time for a reset – a “relaunch” of the Chanting Points Memo.
What’s a “Chanting Point?” From the Dictionary In The Dark, here’s the conventional definition:
Chanting Point: (Noun) Similar to a “talking point”, but intended to be recited by rote (often as part of large real or virtual crowds) rather than critically analyzed.
The term – and the idea – was sparked during the 2010 by the DFL response to Tom Emmer – which was almost entirely something I christened “chanting points”; bits of rhetoric that may or (generally) may not contain a grain of “truthiness”, but aren’t designed so much for substantial policy discussions as they are to be chanted by crowds, either in person or online.
I’ve related the story before: the term occurred to me in the summer of 2010 at the Minnesota State Fair. Ed Morrissey and I were sitting on stage, across from the DFL booth, talking about the ongoing negotations that led to Obamacare back in 2009 and 2010. A compact fiftysomething woman in a full Frankenware ensemble strutted to the middle of the audience area, folded her arms, and started shaking her head back and forth.
“Would you care to discuss this?” I asked her, getting ready to take the mobile microphone and hike out into the audience.
She took a deep breath as I stood up, and yelled “PUBLIC OPTION NOW! PUBLIC OPTION NOW! PUBLIC OPTION NOW!”. She then turned on her heels and scampered away as fast as her busy little legs could carry her.
Ed and I noted that that was about as close to a substantive argument that most Minnesota DFLers came then, and now.
Words designed to be bellowed over ones’ competition.
The point is, people don’t have to understand the chanting points, much less the truth; they just have to be gulled into voting DFL. It’s not about elucidating issues or informing the public; it’s about swinging the ill-informed just enough to gain and retain power.
It’s another election. And the DFL has another set of chanting points rolled out;
- “Right To Work costs jobs!”
- “If you support traditional marriage, you’re a bigot!”
- “Voter ID disenfranchises voters!”
- “The rich aren’t paying their fair share!”
- “Dayton’s pork-barrel “Jobs” bill will create jobs! Cutting taxes, rationalizing regulations and cutting the size and scope of government will cost jobs!”
- “The American Legislative Exchange Conference (“ALEC”) controls the Legislative GOP with their shadowy conspiracy! And any lack of evidence of this conspiracy is proof of a coverup!”
- “Citizens United distorts and perverts democracy!” (a message passed along in a campaign paid for by liberal plutocrats and unions rolling in member dues).
None of the points ever stand up to logical scrutiny or analysis – and aren’t intended to. They are intended to be chanted at people who aren’t informed, who don’t analyze and scrutinize logically.
Follow along in the “Chanting Points Memo” category. Pass ‘em around. Learn ‘em. It’s gonna be a long campaign.