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09/03/2013

Frank Schubert still defending 2012’s weak, contrived, losing messaging

by Jeremy Hooper

Frank Schubert, the man who messaged all of the anti-gay ballot campaigns of 2012, is still defending the unsuccessful efforts that he and his pals at the National Organization For Marriage (Schubert serves as NOM's political director) mounted against us. When faced with the claim that his side has sounded like a broken record (kids, ask your parents what a record is), Schubert responds:

"You do see similar elements just as you see similar elements from their side in all four of their campaigns last November,” Schubert says. “But the messaging was different. It was all tailored to the individual state. The messengers were different. The organization of the campaigns themselves was different … But there are two ideas of marriage on the table here that are not reconcilable.”
FULL: Have gay marriage advocates found a winning formula? [Campaigns & Elections]
(h/t: Straight Grandmother)

This is revisionist history of the highest order. The messaging wasn't just "similar" in the four states on the November 2012 ballot (Maine, Washington, Minnesota, Maryland); the messaging was near-identical! Those of Screen Shot 2013-09-03 At 6.47.57 Am us who worked on or with these campaigns used to joke about their astroturfed campaigns. Yes, NOM and Schubert slapped different colors on the different states' branding and put out a few local figureheads to trot out the same company lines, but the ideas were all straight from NOM's D.C. headquarters. The local flavor was contrived.

It's a big difference between our two camps. Yes, our national orgs get involved and even steer the messaging of our local efforts. But whereas our side tends to shape the strong grassroots groundwork in place, NOM comes in and Screen Shot 2013-09-03 At 6.48.50 Am takes over. And, in fact, NOM sometimes comes in and actually kicks out the local voices who had been working on that state's "culture war" issues for years (see Mike Heath in Maine, Ken Hutcherson in Washington, etc.). To those of us who pay attention (on both sides), the NOM overlording is glaringly obvious.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 At 6.49.55 AmOn one hand I get why the step in and take over, considering how wacky and off-message the anti-gay campaigns can and would get if more pragmatic voices failed to step in an take the reins. But while it may be smarter in one sense, NOM's micromanaging has made all of the local campaigns—and, by extension, the "traditional marriage" movement—seem that much more manufactured. Inauthentic. Fake. Like they have something to hide.

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 At 6.47.36 AmI am someone who actually believes that the opposition would be better off had they left their voices and movement in a more rag tag state rather than outsource this entire fight to one special interest group. Frank Schubert, one of the top figures and beneficiaries behind that give-it-all-to-NOM tactic, seems to disagree with both that premise and its implementation. That's fine. In his denial, as profitable as it might be, will come greater loss.

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