Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Blogger Conference Call with Ted Strickland, Part 2

Click here for Part 1

Piggybacking off of Cindy's question about short, catchy messages, I raised the issue of different types of persuasion. Like Ted, I have a background in psychology, although unlike Ted, I have never been a practicing psychologist. But I've taught it to undergraduates for a number of years, and one of basics you learn when introduced to social psychology is the difference between the central and the peripheral routes of persuasion. I kind of fumbled this part, because it only popped into my head when Cindy was talking, and, as I mentioned in the previous post, I was nervous. But here's a quick, straightforward summary of the difference between the two routes:

The Central Route to Persuasion occurs when the attitude of the audience, or individual, is changed as a result of thoughtful consideration of the message.

The Peripheral Route to Persuasion occurs when positive or negative cues (such as images, sounds, or language) are associated with the object of the message.

Obviously, "be scared of terrorists!" and "taxes and gay marriage--booga booga!" are prime examples of the peripheral route. I pointed out that I'm seeing a lot of that sort of thing from the Blackwell campaign--the "Ted equals tax" web site, telling voters "Ted Strickland would have voted against the marriage amendment", etc. I asked how we can counter that, and get people to realize that if they allow themselves to be swayed by these "straight for the gut" persuasion tactics--keeping them afraid of terrorists or married gay couples living down the street, they are voting against their pocketbooks and their interests.

Ted Strickland: Well, I think the Republicans have gained and held onto power nationally and here in Ohio by using two things, fear and hate. And I'm trying to emphasize as we're going around the state--we were in 13 counties this past weekend, had enthusiastic crowds in every county, and I'm talking about hope and optimism for a better future. And I would contend that the proof at this point is in the polls.

My campaign is not going to live or die based on polls, but polls can give you very significant information. And our polling shows--and I think this is consistent with other polls--that Mr. Blackwell's negatives are as high as his positives. And so, he may be using these cute phrases and so on, but I think a lot of people are recognizing this as a superficial attempt to be trite about serious matters.

And I've had the "Ted equals tax" thing used against me in congressional races as far back as eight years ago, so I expect that--I expect a lot of other nasty, dirty stuff, but I think people ultimately respond to the sense of hope. And Ohioans certainly need a more positive, hopeful attitude toward their futures. And that's what we're trying to give them.

I ended with a comment that it is second nature for people to treat taxes as a sort of "boogeyman", but the reality is that taxes provide needed services, and that when you talk about cutting taxes, you inevitably are going to be cutting services, and that people need to hear that, and be aware that real human lives are impacted by these decisions.

Scott from Pho's Akron Pages asked the next question, noting that Blackwell is making a big deal of going into inner city Black communities, taking off the "conservative hat" and presenting a very different image. He's not talking like Reagan did that "You've got to get by on yourself and stop relying on the state". He's saying that we should look at the Massachusetts healthcare plan, which is about as unconservative an idea as there is. Scott asked if there are any plans to call Blackwell on this habit of showing a different face to a different audience.

Ted Strickland: Well, I've said, and I will continue to say that he is consistently inconsistent. And I hope that some of these things will come out in our debates--we have some three or four debates planned. I believe that he is *filled* with contraditions. The TEL Amendment--the constitutional amendment--he backed away from that. What Petro revealed in his commercials, investing money in the company that makes slot machines while being opposed to gambling, investing in a company that makes the morning after pill while being opposed to abortion--even to save the life of the mother. That's an issue that I believe ought to really worry the people of Ohio, that there is a man running for governor that's indicated that abortion should not be available to a woman if here *life* is in danger.

His proposal regarding the turnpike is totally lacking in specifics. He has said in his book 4 to 6 billion dollars, he said yesterday in Columbus with Governor Mitch Daniels, 6 billion would be a conservative amount--it probably would be more. He has said nothing about the terms of the contract. The 65% solution for schools discounts school nurses, discounts food service workers, bus drivers and transportation, tutoring, after school programs, libraries, and that's why even conservative Rodney Paige said it's a gimmick that could make matters worse for our schools.

But regardless of what he's saying or doing, it is *not* working. He says he's going to get this high percentage of Black votes. Mayor Mallory in Cincinnati, McLin in Dayton, Jackson in Cleveland, Coleman in Columbus, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, they all are supporting me big time.

And this is what I'd like to point out about Mr. Blackwell's current behavior. Over the weekend, I was in 13 counties, and at least 10 of those counties were predominantly Republican counties. I am going to *his* base. Over the weekend, he was in Fayette County. My goodness, if Ken Blackwell has to go to Fayette County to shore up conservative support, he's in trouble. And he's going to the African American community, but I see no evidence that he's being successful, other than what he's saying. A few high profile African Americans have indicated support for him, but the vast majority, the *vast* majority of the respected elected African American leaders in the state are appalled by his policies and offended by his attempts to disenfranchise African American voters. And so, I think he's whistling in the graveyard. I don't think there is any hard evidence at all that he is significantly penetrating the African American community. I just don't see it.

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