Plays for the Presidency™


GOP debate preview:

May 1, 2007

Expect defensive screens

As Phil Sexton commented on our April 30 post, candidates do a great deal of Recasting and Screening in Q & A and with a moderator-formatted debate. They use sharp questions as a kind of bridge to safer rhetorical shelter. Of course the good ones adorn that bridge with symbolically rich materials, all to fortify and decorate what is, we all know, a pat and well-rehearsed answer. The Democrats did this a lot last week, to Phil’s dismay. So will the Republicans.

Debate-Ready Labels:

April 29, 2007

From the Governator?s Collection

Republican audiences love to hear tough-guy lines from their Presidents. Make my day…I paid for this microphone…Read my lips. They serve the strategic purpose of quickly defining an issue, positioning a candidate or de-positioning a rival. Think Flip-Flopper.

Baited Debate:

April 26, 2007

Dems Stick Together, Moderator Calls The Plays

Contests like tonight’s Democratic Presidential debate prove, again, that you can debate the strategy but you can’t strategize the debate. There are too many moving parts to map, especially when there are eight candidates – and a savvy moderator eager to pull them away from their talking points. Brian Williams forced the action, launching several fascinating and unpredictable playaction sequences.

Pre-Debate Bait:

April 25, 2007

An Elephant Baits the Donkeys

In the run-up to the 2004 Republican National Convention, Democrats ran a series of conditioning plays to throw the GOP spin machine off its wash and rinse cycle. From uptown Harlem, Bill Clinton ran Mirrors and took shots from a Baptist church pulpit. From midtown at Madison Square Garden, liberal activists staged a series of disruptive Jams.

Debate Tips and Plays to Watch:

April 25, 2007

Dems Host the Great Eight

In game theory, tonight’s contest in South Carolina between eight Democratic Presidential contenders is akin to a Prisoner’s Dilemma – the players can stick together and collectively advance their party line, a unified force against the GOP platform. In the aggregate, they’ll all be better for it. But if one bolts – out of greed or preemptive confidence – the group effort will falter. Only the bolter will benefit.