Talking Points Memo has a, well, talking points memo from House GOP leadership for the summer recess. Press coverage of this recess will have a strong effect on the passage of immigration reform, fall budget issues, and gun safety.

We shouldn’t expect local media to account for this memo in their recess coverage (why, that would be liberal bias!) just as they didn’t in 20091. I’m not sure how many public appearance will be made in our gerrymandered state, but Ohio progressives would be foolish to ignore this playbook.

Especially because these are actually fantastic ideas that will force gullible/unethical local reporters into reporting from Earth 2. Centralize the message; avoid opportunities for dissent; and create a high production value footage. The list of tactics:

  • a cut-and-paste op-ed about fighting Washington to get past partisan gridlock
  • a meeting and presser with Tea Party groups about how the IRS has oppressed them
  • no-media invitation-only “multi-cultural” meetups, followed by a press conference “highlighting the importance of distinct groups in the district”
  • YouTube roundtables, so that the GOP can make its own propaganda directly before having it played by local news
  • promotions for YourTime, the GOP plan to get rid of overtime pay
  • pro-fracking roundtables, bringing together a diverse group of experts who are paid by fracking companies
  • jobs fairs promoting the Ohio Miracle
  • Millennial health care forums (“I saved you from the horror of getting free health insurance at your minimum-wage job, which would pay you more if it weren’t for me. You’re welcome.”)
  • a farm tour (that’s a lot of chutzpah)
  • fracking site tour (that’s just begging for pictures of injection well sites)
  • college tours
  • hospital tours (“Surprise! You aren’t getting the $13 billion you’re supposed to get.”)
  • strip mall tours (the memo says “Main Street or a strip mall”, but in Cincinnati the GOP stays away from Main)
  • roundtable with the Chamber of Commerce about how to help the Chamber of Commerce (why does this keep working?)
  • retirement community tour (please please please get a retiree to ask these guys about Trayvon)
  • ObamaCare tour featuring business owners who have had to cut hours because of the employer mandate (this worked great for Papa John’s! It’ll be like an Angie’s List of “places I’m never going again”.)
  • an emergency Obamacare town hall, featuring ringers to ask staged questions
  • an emergency IRS town hall

Like I said, these are brilliant propaganda strategies. They create a news-like substance  that’s wholly produced by the GOP but will be higher quality than what local news can produce alone. And nobody ever went broke underestimating the effort that local news will put into investigative reporting.

And there’s also no reason we can’t use these ideas first.


1 Before the 2009 recess, FreedomWorks released a memo on how to disrupt Democratic town hall meetings. I was in attendance at one of the first town hall meetings of the summer, which went according to the FreedomWorks playbook: early disruptions, violent nonsensical screaming, and an illusion of being the majority.

Having read the memo, I was pretty nonchalant about the event. It had generally been a waste of everybody’s time, with a couple of genuinely frightening moments where it felt like a riot would start. The story, in my mind, was “Tea Party memo disrupts town hall meeting”.

Nope! The story that local media reported was that Rep. Driehaus had spontaneously provoked the ire of these thoughtful, informed citizens.

And, as a sub-footnote, the people who were arrested for starting fights at the town hall events that summer were people who sold scam health insurance (no link, because the Enquirer took their archive offline).