This morning I’ve got a piece up at the American Spectator about using all the developments in last week’s Cascade of Horrors on the legal and political scene to capture the electorate next year – which is something we pretty much know absolutely has to happen, or else the fears that this is no longer America but rather something else will have come true.
The country isn’t lost yet, and it’s time to stop whining about what’s happened. What we need is to win, not whine.
But one thing is painfully obvious — the cultural and political rout the Right has suffered over the past decade (or longer) won’t be reversed with the same stupid tactics that have gotten us where we are.
Stop retreating, stop compromising, and stop acting like the other side is a bunch of nice people who just don’t understand the world as it is. The other side is a bunch of arrogant, hateful control freaks whose own lives are so empty and devoid of spirit that they can’t get fulfillment without interfering with yours. The other side practices tyranny as a lifestyle choice, and they’re so accomplished in their tactics that without a single vote of a legislature they can affect your consumer options or even what you can say.
Fighting these people in the culture, which as Andrew Breitbart rightly said is upstream from politics and therefore at least as important if not more so, is something conservatives have yet to fully engage. That’s a whole other column, if not several. But for our purposes today, let’s consider politics — and let’s offer a little bit of advice to the dozen and a half GOP presidential candidates who are scuffling for the right to hopefully avoid being the third flat-footed Republican to lose a national election to a wannabe socialist dictator.
A good rule is this — if you consider one of the Left’s cultural aggressions, and use your imagination to envision an extension of same into absurdity, you need only wait a while before the insane next step you thought up surfaces in a headline as the Left’s next cultural aggression.
Since that’s the case, get tough, and get smart — and hang these people with their own stupid ideas. Here are five things you can say about the Democrat nominee which will be vehemently denied but will stick anyway — because everybody knows they’re true.
Read the whole thing to find out what the five potshots to take at the Democrat nominee are.
In truth, when you get down to the state and local level the Republican Party isn’t as clueless as it feels like. Republicans have fairly substantial majorities in both houses of Congress, and at the state level they’re even more dominant – they hold 68 of 98 houses of state legislatures, and Democrats only have 18 governorships. There aren’t any white Democrat members of Congress left in the South, and Democrats are all but gone from swing districts. That party really is a spent political force.
But a presidential election is as much a cultural election as it is a political one, and that’s why the Democrats managed to hold the White House in 2012. The people who turn out for presidential elections are not the educated and engaged voters who show up for state legislative elections or midterm congressional elections; they’re more or less the idiots who can’t find Washington, DC on a map. And they vote their culture, because they don’t have a clue about politics.
Republicans stink at reaching the morons who can’t find Washington, DC on a map, because conservatism isn’t easy to sell to stupid people. You need to be able to explain things like unintended consequences and constitutional limits on government, and it’s not easy when your audience thinks the three branches of government are Obama, the Senate and Taco Bell, or that Katy Perry is the vice president. For those people it’s just a whole lot easier to promise them that Uncle Sam will pay their Verizon bill or that health care’s gonna be free.
Which the Left is good at doing, and the worse the electorate is in terms of civic knowledge the better they do in elections.
What the GOP needs to figure out is how to scare low-information voters away from voting for hard-core left-wing Democrats. The AmSpec column offers some ways to do that, but it’s not a comprehensive list.
Most importantly, though, they need to try. They need to stop thinking in terms of “how do we get the black vote?” or “how do we get the Hispanic vote?” and start thinking in terms of “how do we get the majority of the country to hate a Democrat as much as hard-core Democrats hate us?”
That’s easier to do, and it works. Besides, going negative and hating on the other side generally drives the unengaged voters away and keeps them from voting at all, and that’s actually a public service – because people who can’t find Washington, DC on a map or who think Katy Perry is the vice president have no business voting in the first place.
It’s all about messaging. Our side hates messaging.
Here in Louisiana, it drives me nuts to see it. When there is a bill, for example, that has enough Republican support to clear a legislative committee or pass on the floor, the approach is “we’ve got the votes, just shut up and let’s pass this thing.” That can be effective to pass a bill, but when you refuse to engage the argument publicly you actually lose political capital by passing good legislation rather than gaining it. And when you pass bills that are good ideas, you should be building political capital.
Instead you’re losing capital, because at the three hour hearing on the bill where every leftist from Shongaloo to Duson came out of the woodwork to scream about it, reporters were present. And the hearing is reported from the perspective that the uncaring, unfeeling Republicans on the committee ignored all the passionate pleas from the nice lefties and did their service to evil corporations, etc. It’s reported that way because there might have been 10 minutes of testimony or argument in favor of the bill, most of which was a recitation of statistics and none of which was messaging designed to make the average Joe who knows diddly poo about the bill other than what he reads in the newspaper understand what they’re trying to do.
The average Joe in Louisiana is sympathetic to the Republicans. He’s willing to hear the argument if it gets made to him. But if you don’t make it, and all he hears is what the unions or Together Louisiana have to say, sooner or later he’s going to turn on the Republicans.
Bobby Jindal has found this out. It’s a big reason why he went from 67 percent of the vote when he ran for re-election to a 31 percent approval rating now. Jindal didn’t even bother to tout his own accomplishments to his own constituents, and naturally he gets no credit for them.
For example, Jindal got the SAVE Act passed this year. Sure, it’s a dumb piece of legislation and a gimmick allowing him to say he didn’t raise taxes. But the one thing you could say in the SAVE Act’s defense is that it’s also a mechanism for dedicating money to higher education for the first time in the history of the state. And Bobby Jindal, with no question the state’s largest megaphone, never even made that argument. He said nothing, and endured what’s been more than a month of beatings from Democrats over the SAVE Act.
Most of all, Republicans need to learn how to be loudmouths. Loudmouths win these days. That’s a product of our crappy culture. You can either be a loudmouth and win over the idiots and thus change the culture, or you can acquiesce to the culture’s effect on politics and basically be Democrat Lite.
Where Republicans choose the latter, most prominently in DC but in the blue states as well, they’re a joke. Where Republicans choose to be the loudest voices they win, even when they don’t do a particularly good job of it.