Repetition, repetition, repetition

REPETITION, REPETITION, REPETITION…. What Republicans lack in governing abilities they make up for with extraordinary message discipline.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was on MSNBC yesterday, and Savannah Guthrie showed him a clip of his ability to repeat the same talking points, over and over again, with almost robotic consistency.

GUTHRIE: Senator McConnell you’re known in Washington as someone who stays on message better than anyone else. What’s that all about?

MCCONNELL: Well, I think you have to decide what you’re gonna — what you’re gonna say, and uh, I think in order to drive any message home, uh, repetition’s a good idea.

He added, “Repetition’s a good idea.”

OK, I’m kidding about that last part, but the point is McConnell and his cohorts aren’t knowledgeable, competent, hard-working, or honest, but they know with certainty that if they repeat the same phrases over and over again, the media will use them and the public will hear them. It’s why they invest far more energy in talking points and bumper-sticker slogans than they do actual policy proposals.

And this clearly works. The “job-killing” line about health care was pure garbage and Republicans knew it, but that didn’t interfere with their relentless repetition.

My sense is, Democrats deliberately avoid these kind of tactics, in large part because they don’t want to look like foolish, shameless hacks. This isn’t an unreasonable concern. But Dems should realize that without vapid sloganeering and brazen communications tactics, GOP nonsense is far more likely to permeate the public consciousness than Democratic adherence to facts and reason.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.