A 100-page PDF report on everything that ails the Republican Party? That’s one way to go. It’s expensive and its recommendations (though some of which were quite productive) got panned by lots of people, and half of the party’s base now wants to break up the coalition that has sustained it over time, but it’s one way to go.
Another way to go, put forth by Michael Walsh at National Review on Tuesday, is a better way to go. We’re going to crib the living hell out of it here, because some of you won’t take our advice and hit the link to read the whole thing.
Reform? Reset? Rebrand? The hell with that, says Walsh.
Fight, he says.
Advice to the RNC: Don’t “re-brand.” Fight.
That’s it. Fight. Fight them on every front, fight them in every state, fight them on television and in print and on the airwaves. Confront them at every opportunity, seek out and embrace conflict, and fear not bullies like Chuck Schumer (the living embodiment of the Lefty Sneer), Dick Durbin, and passive-aggressive corruptocrats like Harry Reid. Don’t make nice with them, don’t play fair with them, don’t reach across the aisle and above all, treat them and their ideas with exactly the same amount of respect with which they treat yours: none. Contempt is the only language they understand.
Just so. Republicans tend to be afraid of controversy, with the idea that the Left’s control of the media and its messaging will mean that any controversy will automatically be reported and spun in a way unfavorable to the GOP. But that isn’t true. It’s more difficult because of the Left’s control over so many key cultural institutions, without question. But that control makes the other side lazy and brittle, and their positions are indefensible and absurd.
And if you can pick controversies to stoke which force the Left to battle on unfriendly ground, the absurdity will penetrate through the media to the public. Rand Paul’s filibuster was a great example of that; Paul forced the Obama administration to admit, after an entire news cycle had passed, that no, it didn’t have the constitutional authority to drone-strike noncombatant Americans. That this was an issue to be debated was laughable, but the incoherent stupidity of Obama’s attorney general Eric Holder afforded an opportunity for Paul to spend 13 hours posing the question with millions of eyes glued to the TV. And when Obama finally did agree that the non-absurd position taken by Paul was its position on the issue, not only was he not exposed as ridiculous but he was able to claim victory.
That was a political mugging of a style almost exclusively reserved for Democrats, and Paul showed himself capable of playing in their league.
Remember that, thanks to Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Alinsky Left, the personal is now political, so get personal; all’s fair in love and war, and politics isn’t love. As Pat Caddell just reminded the GOP, his team plays to win, and doesn’t really much care how it does it — “by any means necessary” is their motto. If you’re not using their own rules against them, you’re not playing the game.
We often discuss the natural disadvantage Republicans have in politics based on the background most GOP politicians come from. The long and short of that construct can be found here…
Republican politicians generally come from the business world. And in business, when you engage in negotiations, one way or another you’re almost always working toward the goal of a win-win solution. In business, more often than not you’re seeking a long-term, friendly, profitable business arrangement from which you can build business growth and expansion. So raking the other guy over the coals is more often not worth the trouble; he’ll ultimately walk on you or he’ll find a way to stick it to you in recompense for what you did to him. It’s best not to be greedy; get what you need, plus maybe just a little more, but keep him happy.
Democrat politicians? … They generally come from unions, trial lawyers, race-baiters, feminists and crazed academics. Win-win means nothing to them; when they’re engaged in a negotiation mutual growth and expansion never even comes into the picture. All they know is zero-sum game. Win-lose. They’re out to get as much of the pie as they can, and they couldn’t give a damn whose feelings get hurt in the bargain.
And when you put the win-win negotiator in the room with the win-lose negotiator, who do you think wins? Why, the win-lose guy of course. Every time. Our people are fish out of water trying to deal with the predators the Democrats send up.
It’s hilarious how the media presents the Right as nasty, mean and intolerant. Hilarious. Whatever you may think of John Boehner’s political views, would you rather have a beer with him, or Harry Reid?
Back to Walsh…
Put them on defense for a change and see how they like it. Create your own version of Media Matters — tax exempt! — and cut their bylined operatives and apparatchiks off at the knees. Revamp Fox News’s prime-time lineup — I said this on the most recent NR Cruise, so I might as well own it — by redeploying Sean Hannity (who’s already got plenty of exposure on the radio) and Bill O’Reilly (whose Factor has devolved into a parade of tired hacks and buy-my-stuff hucksterism) and replacing them with some fresh new faces before their ratings start to slide. Hey, MSNBC’s doing it.
O’Reilly and Hannity aren’t going anywhere, but maybe it’s time to find a place to stash Greta Van Susteren and put something even more aggressive than Hannity – John Stossel? Bill Whittle? in that time slot. But the Karl Roves and John McCains and Lindsey Grahams have simply got to go; they’re depressing.
What’s really evident, though, is that Fox News needs a competitor for conservative audiences. If that competitor isn’t a startup per se – though as Glenn Beck’s The Blaze gains cable affiliates and households it might become a player in the game – but rather a rebooted news channel bought away from current left-wing management, that’s fine. The Koch Brothers are thinking about buying the Los Angeles Times and the rest of the properties included in Tribune Newspapers, which could be glorious, and the far-left reaction even so far is hilarious. But something needs to be done on TV, like with CNN or one of the major networks. NBC is such a disaster that perhaps someone could buy it away from Universal, and that would wipe out the worst of the far-left news organizations in one fell swoop.
Cashier your risk-averse krack kadres of kampaign konsultants, whose idea of cutting-edge technology is ’70s-style television media buys (from which they profit handsomely) and who never seem to pay a price for being spectacularly wrong. Forget tactical management-school metrics and instead concentrate on strategy: If you set out to take Vienna, then take Vienna. Conjure up the ghost of Lee Atwater and put him back to work. Never listen to Dick Morris again.
Get rid of the old guard. John McCain’s typically nasty “wacko birds” crack about Ted Cruz and others ought to finish him as a force in the Republican party — and he would be finished if not for his constituency in the media. With millstones like McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Boehner, conservatives have to fight through their own officers to get to the enemy. Knock them out in the primaries before Karl Rove (priceless video at the link) knocks out your candidates.
Nominate presidential standard-bearers who actually want to engage their opponents ideologically, and know how to sell the fundamental concepts of America, such as personal liberty and spiritual freedom. Draw sharp distinctions between Left and Right and put a positive spin on small-”r” republican virtues. Force the Democrats to defend their unmanly culture of dependency, and mock their misuse of the word “compassion.” Tighten the borders but trust in the cultural alchemy of America and lose the implicit xenophobia. Don’t tumble too hard for Marco Rubio or Rand Paul or whoever the flavor of the month is until you get a fuller picture of them. Remember the Palin/Scott Brown ticket?
Rubio and Paul both look pretty engaging thus far. But he’s right that we shouldn’t just fall all over ourselves for them as candidates. We need to demand constant aggression out of not just them, but everybody else who wants to run. The metric needs to be “What points have you scored against the Left today?”
Strike preemptively. By now, what Obama’s doing ought to be obvious even to Weepy John, the epitome of Rotary Club republicanism. (But don’t take it from me; take it from Democrat Mickey Kaus.) Why wait for the president or his henchmen to push the progressive peanut another inch up the hill? You just know that if the money grab in Cyprus succeeds, it’s only a matter of time before the Democrats try it here, in the Marxist name of “fairness” and “income equality,” so beat them to the punch. Why not, as Glenn Reynolds suggests, introduce a bill to prevent just such a thing, and dare them to vote against it?
The failed Cypriot bank robbery is a supreme opportunity for the GOP. Everyone’s afraid the feds will attempt to co-opt their 401k’s, so why not pass a bill in the House making even a study of that by a governmental body illegal? A vote on such a bill is something the House Democrats will have no choice but to join with the GOP on, and even though Harry Reid won’t bring a bill like that to the Senate floor that fact is a great opportunity to shame the hell out of him. Get a host of conservative advocacy organizations running ads saying things like “Call Senator Reid’s office and demand a vote on the Protecting Our Savings Act.” Rile up the people and get demonstrations going at the Washington Mall. It’d be a PR disaster for the Democrats, and it’s a great opportunity to delegitimize them and the Obama administration by making them deny that they’re interested in stealing your bank account or your retirement.
Do you think that’s a better issue than gay marriage is for the GOP? Yes, you do.
Aim for total victory. It ought to be child’s play to send the party of slavery, segregation, secularism, and sedition the way of the Whigs and the Know-Nothings. What are RICO statutes for, unless to be used against the Tammany Party and its continuing rackets? Why isn’t what’s happening in Detroit — the slow-motion demolition of one of our great cities at the hands of a single political party — not on the lips of every prominent Republican? Or the parade of prominent Democrats heading off to the slammer? Only a party as timorous and as brain-dead as the GOP could fail to hang what’s habitual behavior around the Democrats’s necks, and make them pay for it at the ballot box.
We’ve touched on the stupidity of not running against Obama The Crook before, but that’s one of the reasons the Romney campaign lost last year’s election. Running campaigns against somebody like Obama on the basis that he’s a nice guy who’s clueless, or even that he’s a socialist, gets you nowhere – people have such low expectations of government and are so complacent that in the eye of the average low-information vote clueless=harmless, plus there is a disturbingly large segment of the population who has absolutely no idea whatsoever that socialism isn’t a good thing.
No – you paint the Democrats as racketeers. And you blame their perfidy and theft and petty tyranny for the destruction of our cities. You can throw socialism under the bus as a convenient ideology for a mafia boss disguised as a political figure if you like; folks might buy it and that’s a good way to discredit Karl Marx in front of people who don’t even have a clue what Marxist philosophy even is.
Robert Stacy McCain did a hell of a job characterizing the Democrats a while back as The Filthy Rotten Party of Corruption, Treason, Fraud, Sodomy and Abortion, and his statements serve as a nice model for what Walsh is saying…
What these practicioners of Republican niceness lack is the boldness to speak the blunt truth about what a despicable organization the Democratic Party has become. No moral, honest and intelligent American would associate themselves with the Democrats. Therefore the question we should ask our friends who might be tempted to vote Democrat is, “Are you immoral and dishonest, or merely stupid?”
The truth may sometimes seem rude, but it is still the truth.
Back to Walsh; we’re almost done…
Finally, stop cringing. As Vito Corleone exclaims as he slaps Johnny Fontane around: “You can act like a man!” Stop caring what your opponents say about you. Stop the counter-factual whining (“if this were Bush . . .”). Of course, they’re going to be opposed to you — that’s the nature of opposition. Politics ain’t beanbag, and smart gangsters and politicians alike understand that. Get in their face, harass them, worry them, give them not a moment’s peace or respite. Come at them constantly, in shifts and in waves. Never back down. But act like it’s fun while you’re doing it — that’s what being a “happy warrior” means.
You may lose, you may win. But at least fight.
That’s it. The more timid among us, who appear to be the ones running the party, would say that an existence of constant warfare with the Left is bound to come off as mean-spirited and nasty. But somehow the Left manages not to get painted that way; the reason isn’t just that they have the media in their pocket, but rather they’ve gotten pretty good at taking attention-whoring to the next level.
Our people need to figure that out and seize opportunities to ridicule and discredit the Left in a manner that brings people in. “Hey, do you see what an assclown Harry Reid is? I can’t believe it, either.” That’s called being a good politician. And yet when Reid takes to the Senate floor and blames those dead Marines in Nevada due to a defective mortar round on the sequester, where is somebody else coming to the Senate floor immediately after him to rip him a new one with a rant straight out of a Dennis Miller concert? If nothing else, such a performance gets you on TV – and while lefties all over the country will stroke out at your temerity, you can bet that conservatives – your base of support – will be toasting you in saloons from San Diego to Bangor.
It’s about The Stupid Party not being so stupid. It’s about shameless opportunism and spin and attention-whoring. But it’s also about changing the political culture, and that can’t be done without the GOP learning to beat the Democrats on their playing field by their rules.
Which really isn’t that hard, actually. Most of what it requires is simply adopting an attitude that it’s time to do to these bastards what they do to our side.
Walsh gets it. If Priebus and his cast of thousands producing that autopsy report do, they sure haven’t shown it.