Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sexing Up The Pig

And in response to Senior Blogger Josh Marshall's post on growing Republican opposition to Social Security Privatization (oops, I mean "Personal Savings Accounts"), Dr. BBrain has these words of enlightenment:

It's obvious that we've already won the war on Privatization. In fact, it's such a sweeping victory that Republicans had to completely scrap the word, and now pretend that it was a slur invented by liberals and journalists to attack Bush. But unfortunately for America, our current White House is run by a bunch of marketers who think they can hornswaggle anything through, by hook or by crook; so they're back at it again.

In this case, they've decided to simply change the name of their plan from "Privatization" to "Personal Savings Accounts", and hope that nobody realizes that they're the same damn thing. And while this marketing-based strategy of finding the right names for the wrong plans often works, I think they've screwed up this time.

The problem for them is that they think that it's the word "Privatization" that people detest. Their pollsters tell them that this is so. But maybe the word "Privatization" isn't so bad by itself. Maybe it was that people disliked the idea of changing Social Security into private accounts, and that it was this dislike that made people hate the word. I know, I know, that's crazy talk to a marketing person, but I think that it's the case. And while the term "Personal Savings Accounts" polls better right now, I think people will begin to hate it as much as they hated it when it was called Privatization. Even worse, people will realize that Bush is trying to dupe them with a name change, and they'll resent it (god knows it's due). And that's what's got many Republican leaders stampeding towards the door.

Moral: You can put lipstick on a pig and call her Sheila, but she's still your damn wife.

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