What’s the difference between the Taliban and the GOP?
The Taliban has a better PR team. No, seriously.
You may remember a few months back when Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) raised a few eyebrows by suggesting that the GOP could learn a little something about political strategy from that other underdog party — the Taliban. “One can see that there’s a model out there for insurgency,” he told National Journal editors.
Explaining how the GOP might look toward those masters of persuasion in the Taliban for insight, Sessions said, “They went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person’s entire processes.”
Well, if the Republicans want to keep up with the Taliban, they’ll have to try a lot harder, because in the time since that interview, they haven’t been doing so hot. Quick recap: Rush Limbaugh’s enormous face everywhere, Michael Steele talkin’ about a hip-hop makeover, Norm Coleman loses to Stuart freakin’ Smalley, Arlen Specter flees for bluer pastures and teabagging teabagging teabagging! What’s next? Will John McCain’s ol’ campaign buddy Joe the Plumber say something even stupider and more bigoted than anything he’s said before, like how he would never let “queers… anywhere near my children”? Oops, just said that.
So the GOP “insurgency” is on a roll like a Hummer with four flat tires.
Meanwhile, the Taliban — a group not usually noted for their public relations savvy — has really improved their communications skills. According to Time magazine’s new article “Why the Taliban Is Winning the Propaganda War,” “The same Taliban that once banned television now boasts a sophisticated public relations machine that is shaping perceptions in Afghanistan and abroad.”
Motivational DVD’s, a pirate FM station called “Mullah Radio,” fancy press releases and staged photo shoots — the Taliban spin doctors have apparently been working hard to capture those hearts and minds, and it seems to be paying off. In recent weeks, the Taliban has moved deeper into Pakistan, prompting The News International, a leading English newspaper, to call the Pakistani government’s failure to “evolve a counter-narrative to the Taliban propaganda” that fills airwaves and newspaper columns a “dereliction of the highest order.” (via Time)
So let’s review: A bunch of dudes who have spent much of the last decade hiding in caves between guerilla battles with the strongest military force in world are totally kicking ass, according to mainstream Western media. And the Republicans? They couldn’t even figure out how to get their shit together on Twitter.
So maybe emulating the Taliban was a little too advanced for the GOP. Maybe they should try setting their sites a little lower and see if they can keep up with Ashton Kutcher first.