Saturday, January 12, 2008

Who's The Best Communicator?

I received my Official Voter Information Guide in the mail the other day. How many of you actually read those things?

I do, but usually only certain sections of it. The main section I've paid the most interest to the last few years is where the political parties are given space to make a statement to describe themselves to voters: The Political Party Statements of Purpose, as they're called.

I checked this year and tried to decide which party did the best job of describing themselves.
These statements are not an easy thing to do by my way of looking at it. You need to be able to put together a statement that covers enough ground to pretty much say who you are but, at the same time, not either waste space or be so specific that someone would find something you stand for objectionable and thus decide your party is not the one for him.

I'm not sure it's possible to do a decent description of a political party within the parameters I've given, but most have tried and done a decent job.

One thing I don't like is where the statement is so vague in its wording you don't know just exactly what the organization stands for, except for one or two issues. Keep in mind I'm not dealing with the factual aspects of the statements, or the partisan. I'm just looking at who communicated their views the best.

I'll give the
American Independent Party the loser's title this year for a fairly generic statement. I will give them credit, though, for allowing me to discern they're against abortion and in the last paragraph they let you know they're strong on gun rights and against illegal immigration. But, bottom line, at least the way I read their statement, is they use a lot of words without saying a whole lot.

AIP comes in #6 out of 6 this year.
I think the other parties did ok, including my very own Libertarian Party, except I think the LP statement could have done without the first paragraph, or at least the first sentence of that paragraph. More on that later.

I originally gave my #1 spot to the
Green Party this time around. They violate my rule and give too many specifics of what they're about, but they put a lot in there within the word limit. That said, I think many of their bullet points might be lost on Joe and Jill Sixpack who may not have a clue as to what the Greens are referring to.

After giving it some thought, I decided to give the Peace and Freedom Party the first place slot this year: A short, concise statement that covers a lot of ground in few words. Problem is, the first statement is so generic to be meaningless, at least from my view. I've heard it elsewhere, but what does pro- democracy mean?

Oh well. Nicely done, anyway.

The Democrats did a nice job, but I don't like the way they started out with what sounds like a campaign statement. Might it just be me? I guess in a sense each party is writing a statement to get votes, but I think the statement of purpose should limit itself to describing the party itself, not attacking other people or parties which is how the Democrats seem to start out their statement.

The Republican statement is so generic it's hard to say just what they're for. For instance: Improving education? How? Democrats said they're for the same thing. In fairness, the Democrats didn't say just what they meant by improving education, either.

I was going to add one of those polls to my blog for this so everyone else could vote for the best statement of purpose but realized most votes would probably be based on partisan preferences so I didn't bother. Still, feel free to leave comments.

Aren't I great, though? I'm sure you all figured I'd give the LP first place, huh? Nope. I call it the way I see it, even though I did have some part in putting together the LP statement.
Speaking of the Libertarian Party's Statement of Purpose, I was reading that one and it struck me for the first time in years how familiar it seemed. Maybe it's because I actually took part in writing it. Not this time but years ago.

I forget how long ago it was but I think it was when Mark Hinkle was State Chair which would put it over five years ago. I was reading the different Statements of Purpose prior to one election back then and was downright embarrassed by the LP one.

That one was written, for the most part, by an LPer in Southern California. He started out with something like "We're neither left or right, liberal or conservative.....we're just like everybody else....blah, blah, blah...".

Nowhere in the statement did he say anything about what the LP believes in. Not even the "
If you describe yourself as socially tolerant and fiscally responsible, you're a Libertarian!", that's part of our current statement. We had a state e-mail list back then and I posted a complaint about that statement and submitted an example of my own, thinking pretty much anything would be better than we we're using.

Much of my statement was taken from a section of the page I put together for the LP of Humboldt Co. and included some bulleted statements stressing some issues.

That started a series of back and forth posts with a number of people around the state editing my statement and then changing around each other's submissions. Seems to me we went back and forth for two or three weeks dealing with that.

The end result ended up being used next time around as our Statement of Purpose. There was still enough left over in the statement that got published where I felt a fair amount of it was written by me (I'd say a third of it or more) and I can still see some of my idea in the statement they used this time.

For instance, where it says, "
We believe that you, not the government, should decide how to run your...". That's part of my original submission. The bulleted list still remains but some of the issues addressed have been changed and some of what remains has been reworded a bit. And, to make things fair for all concerned, they even brought back one sentence about as generic as the first statement I was so embarrassed about. The first sentence in the statement:

The Libertarian Party is America's best choice for government. Like you, we have jobs, businesses, families, and dreams.".

LAME! I'd almost swear that was in the first statement that I was complaining about.

Still, better than the whole statement being like that. Another fifteen minutes of fame for me, or so I felt back then, except there was never any attribution to any of us that worked on the project.

Funny thing is, I'll bet some of you like that first sentence in the statement and probably would have liked the original statement, huh? I guess there's no accounting for taste.


At 7:09 PM, Blogger Rose said...

I'd choose the Libertarian Party, hands down, Fred;

The Green's statement is godawful.


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