In mid-June a letter arrived in my mailbox addressed to someone who was assumed to be and has never been a “longtime, dedicated Connecticut Republican.” The letter was signed by George Logan, who’s “running to defeat liberal Congresswoman Jahana Hayes.”
*With the exception of the italicized book titles, the uppercase letters and underlined, italicized and bolded words in this post appear as they do in the in the letter.
Very little, if any, of the hyperbole, generalizations, and vague references that appear in the letter appear on Mr. Logan’s website. He is an engineer, husband, and father, and has served in the Connecticut State Senate. I have no way of knowing if he truly believes in and is 100% onboard with the content and form of the letter that bears his name, or if his campaign staff and others who would like to see him defeat Congresswoman Hayes make the strategic and tactical choices and require that he sign his name. Either way, this writing critiques the letter and not Mr. Logan.
What follows is grounded in the concepts discussed in the 2020 book Enough with the Talking Points, and is also informed by the exploration of America’s collective Shadow as explored in Healing America’s Narratives (forthcoming, October 2022). Stated briefly, George Logan’s June letter makes generalizations and assumptions that are not defined or backed up, it attempts to manipulate and/or scare prospective constituents while insulting their intelligence, and it subtly does to Congresswoman Hayes some of what he accuses her supporters of doing to him. Don’t take my word for it. Read the letter and decide for yourself. Candidate Logan is not the only candidate who behaves in this way; both Democrats and Republicans employ these tactics. Had his letter not arrived in my mailbox, I would not be writing this.
Some quotes from the letter, along with my commentary follow.
“You’re NOT someone ready to just sit back and submit to total Radical Left control over your life by Democrats in DC and Hartford. You understand the importance of FIRING PELOSI. So I felt confident sending this Campaign Battle Plan to you.
“But before we dive into the details of the document, please keep in mind:
“1. This plan has some sensitive information. Nothing ‘top secret,’ but please don’t leave this lying around where just anyone could see it.
“2. After you’ve read it, please mail your entire Battle Plan Document back to me using the envelope provided.”
The language of “submit[ting] to Radical Left control over your life by Democrats” is a hyperbolic, sweeping generalization the only purpose of which might be to terrify prospective Republican voters who might be easily scared by such exaggeration. “You understand the importance of FIRING PELOSI” says nothing about Mr. Logan’s actually opponent, Congresswoman Hayes, and, in my reading, is condescending to any prospective voter who sees that the letter attempts to conflate the two women.
The condescension continues by first characterizing the enclosed “Campaign Battle Plan” as “nothing ‘top secret'” and then requesting that letter recipients “…don’t leave this lying around where just anyone could see it.” Nod, nod? Wink, wink? Sure, it makes sense to try to appeal to in-group bias and build a community of support, but respecting the intelligence of prospective voters would similarly appeal to the sense of belonging and build support.
I’ll provide several more quotes here, and comment immediately on each one:
“Your gift of $500 could pay for television ads holding Jahana Hayes accountable for the crushing inflation we’re all feeling across Connecticut thanks to her socialist overspending.” Really? It’s a bit more complex than that. Jahana Hayes is simply not responsible for the inflation in Connecticut (and throughout the country). Mr. Logan’s letter provides no evidence that she is, or what he would do to stop it. Regarding “socialist overspending,” throughout U.S. history, attempts to use government spending to help individuals in need has been characterized by those who oppose such help as socialist or socialism. Attempts to use government spending to support failing corporations deemed too big to fail is characterized as being in the national interest. Individuals, it seems, are deemed too small to help.
Mr. Logan’s letter makes it clear that the “key to victory is delivering my truthful message to the voters about who I am, where I stand, and what I will do on issues they care about, including [among others, these two]:”
“Fighting and winning for [sic] low taxes – NO MORE SOCIALISM” See above and below for more on this socialist bogeyman.
“Getting rid of Critical Race Theory and putting parents in charge of their kids’ educations” As I write this, neither the letter nor Mr. Logan’s website provides any evidence of what he thinks critical race theory is or why he’s against it. The letter doesn’t address that many parents see Critical Race Theory as helping them stay in charge of their children’s educations. Here’s an exploration of why most Americans never heard of Critical Race Theory until 2020 and why it’s become the flashpoint it is.
In attempts to discredit Congresswoman Hayes by association, Mr. Logan’s letter refers to “the Pelosi Dark Money Machine” — as though there is not a Republican dark money machine–this is Trumpian projection for sure. What I just did there attempts to associate George Logan with Donald Trump, just as he, in his letter attempts to associate Congresswoman Hayes with Speaker Pelosi and a variety of concepts and groups (bolded and capitalized throughout the letter, which goes on: “The road to FIRING PELOSI runs through Western Connecticut, and [big money liberal donors all over the country] all know it.“ Hmmm. But what about your opponent? Why not speak directly to how and why you would better serve all of the people in the 5th Congressional District?
“Because of the Democrats’ multi-trillion-dollar socialist debt bombs, families are suffering under record-high inflation.” Blaming inflation solely on Democratic policies without providing evidence thereof is overly simplistic and dishonest; combining the words “socialist,” “debt,” and “bomb,” is clever and not original. It’s also misleading and falls again into the habit of calling anything that attempts to help those most in need in this country socialism, as noted above. As an aside, we have a socialized interstate highway system, locally socialized police, education, and fire departments, and a socialized military.
“Because of the ‘Defund the Police’ crowd, citizens across Connecticut and the whole country are enduring a nationwide crime wave that’s costing lives and livelihoods.” This sentence is simply a lie, and it will probably scare Mr. Logan’s least informed prospective supporters. The lie has nothing at all to do with his opponent, Congresswoman Hayes, whose husband is a police detective in the city of Waterbury. Neither of them has spoken out in favor of defunding the police, but Mr. Logan’s letter attempts to link defunding the police with the congresswoman.
Enough. Again, read the letter yourself. My point is to point to the generalizations and lack of substance and evidence in the letter, and I would have done the same had I received one from a Democratic or Independent candidate–I am not registered with either major political party, and I vote. I believe George Logan can and should do better than this, and Jahana Hayes deserves better than this from an opponent. I have had Enough with the Talking Points and remain committed to Healing America’s Narratives.
I suggest that the candidates discuss their positions on specific issues and that they provide specific, relevant evidence to support those positions in future mailings, conversations, and debates.