Friday, February 1, 2013

The experts speak

Since US News and World Report went digital-only, I've read it much less frequently. Perhaps I've missed some good stuff, but the piece I see via email this morning "The Coming GOP Revival," by Michael T. Walsh, is a case study in how to be unconvincing even when you're making a case to which a reader is receptive. Excerpt, with emphases added:

But Democrats realize that they succeeded
in making their way back to power
by moving to the center. And this led to
the rise of Bill Clinton, who defeated
Bush in 1992 and broke the Republican
hold on the White House. He did it by
avoiding ideological stubbornness and
zealotry. Many Republicans today see
Obama’s re-election in November as a
wake-up call signaling that the nation
is changing demographically and politically,
and the GOP needs to adjust.
They’re right, experts say. Forty nine
percent of Americans hold a negative
view of the Republican Party, its
worst negative rating since 2008, and
only 26 percent have a positive view,
according to the latest NBC News/Wall
Street Journal Poll. In contrast, only
38 percent hold a negative view of the
Democratic Party, and 44 percent hold
a positive view. Obama does relatively
well, with 52 percent approving of his
job performance.
Revival will be a long process, but experts
it’s probably a necessary one if
the Republicans are to remain a viable
national party over the long run.
I am very sympathetic to the need for the Republican Party to reform--meaning, change some if its positions and priorities, not just do better messaging--but "experts say" this and "experts say" that carries about zero weight. Who are these experts? Do all or most experts agree? Does the author have anything significant to add to what the supposed experts are saying?

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