Beltway Buzz recently interviewed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker who told us, "Conservatives think with our heads, but that's how we communicate, which is great from a process standpoint, but we need to talk about things from our heart."
If he wasn't occupied as Wisconsin's governor, Walker could make lots of money running communications for Republicans. In fact, the GOP could use a few (or any) folks in their communications department who think like Walker. However, he's only spouting what broadcast journalism students learned in Journalism 101, "emotion is powerful, use it in your soundbites."
Think about the last time you saw a news story that included a person getting emotional? What did the cameraman (or woman) do? He or she slowly zoomed in. Why? Because emotion is powerful! It makes good TV!
President Obama and his team of communications experts know this. Correction: they own this!
Hours before the U.S. Senate voted on legislation to strengthen background checks for gun purchases, White House Spokesman Jay Carney was asked about characterizations of Newtown families being used as "props" by the president. Carney sharply shot back, "the Newtown families aren't here for the president. They're here because their children were murdered."
Isn't there an equally emotional argument to be made for people who weren't murdered because of their right to self defense? Or because a stranger nearby happened to have a gun and was able to help?
The sad reality is that the background check legislation that failed to pass the Senate would not have saved even one of the victims at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Still, after the Senate vote Mark Barden, father of 7-year-old Daniel, who was gunned down in his classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary School, was standing in the Rose Garden with the president of the United States expressing his disappointment and vowing to continue to fight.
The debate over gun restrictions and background checks in this country is an important one. However, those who oppose changes to the law will continue to look like heartless, trigger-happy, knuckle-heads until they learn to play the game that pulls on the strings of the heart.