Drew Westen Thought for the Day

Regular readers are going to get used to the comments and quotes I will be putting up as I euphorically restore my sanity, hope and positive outlook reading The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation

From page 51:

Most of us would be truly embarassed if we realized the extent to which the more primitive structures of our brains, particularly the structures that regulate basic motives such as sex and hunger, resemble those of sheep.

Now we know there are reasons for using ‘sheep’ and ‘sheeple’. Some of us get these concepts intuitively before science comes up with the facts.

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2 Responses to Drew Westen Thought for the Day

  1. alrudder says:

    This book is THE BEST political book I’ve bought in years!
    I’ve actually been taking notes on some of the gems like:

    Messages should be rooted in the Truth. Saying it sets you free to be genuine, the voters know a phony.

    Abstract campaign communication strategy:
    1) Define the candidate/party in emotionally compelling terms. Paint the other side in a bad way.
    2) Continue step 1 with feel-good messages, and associate the other side with something negative.
    3) Then focus on the personal characteristics that voters want
    4) A distant fourth, manage the voters’ attitudes to the policies.

    Four steps to an effective campaign speech, mailing, or advertisement:
    1) A compelling story or parable
    2) Contrast with the other candidate/party
    3) Only then when people are emotionally engaged do you go to specifics
    4) Go back to the moral value.

    A candidate with a long resume or charisma isn’t worth a hill of beans without political intelligence. An intuitive sense of the body politic and the political actors.

    The race card and homophobia are character issues.

    Seed “red” states, don’t Cede “red” states (I like that one)

    Don’t shy away from hot-button issues. Or else the GOP will sense our trepidation and paint us as the extremists.

  2. Ginny Cotts says:


    I am going to have problems with superlatives when I finally get to a review. My copy is a rainbow of highlights.

    I think everyone will find specifics that speak to them personally – because Westen writes what he preaches.

    The whole – if we actually get enough people to use it – has the potential to turn around every race, at every level for a long time to come.