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“Bravo Jake Tapper”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My new Townhall.com column celebrates ABC’s Jake Tapper’s attempt to pin the president down on the absurd claim that the “government option/public plan” won’t impact people’s insurance coverage.

Tapper didn’t succeed, but perhaps the folks at ABC will try and get a straight answer out of the president tonight. A government option/public plan will lead private sector employers to dump their employees into that plan, so millions of Americans will lose the insurance and the doctors they presently have and greatly value.

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From “Bear In The Woods”

Wednesday, June 24, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The latest from our favorite anonymous ad exec:

Hugh:

The first time I wrote you I was beside myself over the glaringly obvious fact that the GOP simply doesn’t understand how to craft communications that connect emotionally and culturally to popular culture, or, well, most people. Not long after my very first letter to you, I read a post in Big Hollywood that echoed my sentiments. It’s not enough to understand how the tools of new media work. Understanding the tools is a single step in the process. It’s about crafting content that resonates. If you want to get technical, it’s about concepting, ideas, copywriting, art direction, direction, editing, lighting, camera work, shot selection, typography, casting, and, well, a general expertise with the craft. It requires both skill and talent. [# More #]

The reason the Democrats have a stranglehold on popular culture, and have had for most of my life, is the fact that they understand how to create popular culture. They know how to wave an emotional banner, and get people to follow. We respond with a white paper. It’s maddening to a guy like me that the decision makers in our party are so good at crafting positioning, yet so miserable in translating that positioning into anything that’s watchable. Substance is the foundation you can’t live without. But execution is what makes the substance come to life, and spread. It’s the reason two houses built with identical bricks can be completely different. When one is constructed in an uninspired, workmanlike fashion, and the other designed by an architect with a vision, which do you think will appeal to more people? One’s a piece of art, the other is a pile of bricks. I’m writing today because, again, I’m beside myself over GOP brick piles.

It started yesterday with my issue of “The Weekly Trunk.” The first two links are to GOP-produced videos on YouTube: “Lights Out,” and “Everything Is On The Table.” They both have salient points to make. They have the right positioning. And both are almost unwatchable. They are so horribly executed that neither gives any viewer any reason whatsoever to pass the link along to anyone who doesn’t already completely agree with the points being made. There is no entertainment value at all. The sad attempt at entertainment in “Lights Out” suffers from horrendous concept, direction, casting, staging, and acting. And “Everything Is On The Table,” in addition to suffering from amateurish motion graphics and typography, is just simply forgettable.

There will be a raft of justifications from anyone connected with either of these two, um….efforts. The first will be budget. I’ve heard it before from clients, and I can hear it now: “They were shot and edited on a shoestring, like all political speech — there’s no way they can hold up to consumer advertising.” One word: Bull. More words: I have interns who could concept, craft and finish better work on the money in our petty cash box. Once again, the GOP has not sought out someone — anyone — who is truly skilled in the craft. They’ve translated white-paper talking points to a script, and hired the local A/V guy to turn it into something, in between his gigs shooting weddings and bar mitzvahs. You can’t beat Hollywood and Madison Avenue with the local A/V guy.

The second justification: “It’s YouTube. Production values can be lower, because of the nature and style of the medium.” This one has some merit, but these pieces miss the mark again. The fact is, YouTube does have a DIY aesthetic. Videos made on a webcam have become global hits. On the flip side, Hulu has ushered in a new-found appreciation for production value, delivered in HD over broadband — and people creating for YouTube are following suit. But these videos are neither roughshod DIY pieces nor high-end executions. They’re in the middle. Which is always the most forgettable place to be. Content (acting, personality, art direction) is what takes you out of the middle. These don’t have that.

Finally, I’m sure I’ll hear: “This is serious subject matter — entertainment value is secondary. ” Ok, then. “Passion of the Christ.” Next.

As if these two lame attempts weren’t enough to make my head explode, today, the “Stop Obama-care!” spot broke. Is it possible for us to make something more forgettable? Once again, white-paper talking points, typewriter motion graphics, and generic stock imagery combine to turn what should be an engaging and impactful television commercial into a coma-inducing Power Point presentation. The talking points are good — as talking points. As a commercial that stirs the soul to action on one of the most important policy points of my lifetime, though, this fails miserably. This is strong, I know — but I think this spot is a disservice to the party, and to anyone who’s smart enough to oppose socialized medicine. We deserve better. We can do better. And we have to. Tweet for Truth #obamercial, I predict, will deservedly have much more impact on the discussion.

I get a lot of mail at bearinthewoods84@gmail.com. Almost all of it is positive, but some of it challenges me to get off my duff and do something about the things I write about. The truth is, I’d love to, and have begun to look for ways to do it. The first question is: Is there a market on the Right for quality creative that can compete with what’s produced by the left? I can only hope the recent work by the GOP isn’t my answer.

Use Every Tool To Topple The Mullahs

Wednesday, June 24, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Edward Luttwak believes the mullahs of the Khatemei/Ahmadinejad faction are doomed:

At this point, only the short-term future of Iran’s clerical regime remains in doubt. The current protests could be repressed, but the unelected institutions of priestly rule have been fatally undermined. Though each aspect of the Islamic Republic has its own dynamic, this is not a regime that can last many more years.

But the theocrats are not going to go quietly, and the “special courts” that are being established to deal with demonstrators will brutal and no doubt last as long as the regime does:

A senior official of Iran’s judiciary, which is controlled by the ruling Shiite Muslim clerics, said Tuesday that a special court would try detained protesters, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported.

“Those arrested in recent events will be dealt with in a way that will teach them a lesson,” the official, Ibrahim Raisi, was quoted as saying. “The rioters should be dealt with in an exemplary way, and the judiciary will do that.” Raisi did not elaborate.

Every tool at the disposal of the West must be used to expedite the collapse of the Khamenei/Ahmadinejad regime. If general strikes develop, they will need publicity, and the president needs to keep up the rhetorical pressure he displayed yesterday. (The 4rth of July invites do need to be canceled.)

Average Americans wondering what they can do should visit Fandango and buy tickets for The Stoning of Soraya M which opens this weekend. I will have Cyrus Nowrasteh and Betsy Giffen Nowrasteh in studio for two hours today to discuss the film and the regime. I wrote my Washington Examiner column this week on how the movie’s success can send a message, so please support it by attending this weekend or by buying a ticket even if you can’t get to one of the theaters until next week.

Continue to follow the latest from inside Iran via the #iranelection hast tag at search.twitter.com.

Helping AmericanSolutions.com Stop The Massive Energy Tax

Tuesday, June 23, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Sign on to help stop the massive energy tax being pushed through the House this week at AmericanSolutions.com. American Solution’s chairman Newt Gingrich joins me at 3:20 to discuss Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to jam the bill through despite its enormous price tag.

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