The Problem for the GOP
I left this comment in response to this article at HotAir Headlines: We Can’t Spare Social Conservatives
The problem for the GOP is not any one group, but rather the GOP is more concerned with doing what it can to win voting groups and elections rather than teaching people the rightness of the ideology of conservatism and libertarianism.
I compare this to students in school who are more concerned with making the grade rather than learning. There is a difference. You can make the grade and still not learn a damn thing. I am sure I am not the only one who knew people in High School who had 4.0s, but were dumb as rocks. They could ace homework and tests and exams, but they had no idea how to apply anything. Many people don’t realize that learning the material should be the core of schooling, not working to do whatever it takes to make the grade. In the long run, ironically enough, those who work towards learning the material and don’t worry about their grades, end up with better grades anyway… because they knew the material!
The same thing applies to the GOP. Instead of focusing on which group to pander to and which group to ostracize, they should be focusing on issues. Issues which are at their core. Issues which are important to the future success and prosperity of America, no matter if the majority of Americans currently believe in them or not. It is stupid to pander to ignorance. You may win an election and gain power, but you still have an ignorant populace expecting you to implement failed policies. That’s just plain dumb.
Instead, the GOP must take a lesson from Rush Limbaugh. He spends his time teaching and informing and helping people become engaged in politics. He doesn’t pander to people’s ignorance, he works to help inform people and help them shed their ignorance about issues.
This is what the GOP must now do. Pandering for votes from the stupid and the ignorant must end. The focus needs to be on talking about issues, informing the public, teaching the public about why their ideology is better for the future of the nation. In the short run, this may not win elections, because we have a majority in this country which is either apathetic or ignorant on important issues. But in the long run, with the further teaching of the public, the further inspiring of the public to become engaged in our political system, the GOP will win elections again, because their message broke through to the masses.
Enough with the stupid, pandering-to-the-idiots phrases like “Drill, Baby, Drill!” and such nonsense. Explain the policy in simple, but clear and detailed terms. Explain why it is necessary, why it will work and why those who are opposing it are wrong. Enough with dumbing down things to pander to the dumb and ignorant in this nation. Our leaders should be working to inform, working to educate, working to help bring the nation up, not pandering and playing down to the ignorance and stupidity of the electorate.
People wonder why Rush Limbaugh is so successful. It is really simple: he treats people like intelligent adults. He doesn’t talk down to people, he treats them as his equal and as his colleagues. People respect and appreciate that. Our politicians, on the other hand, GOP included, treat Americans as if we are scum, as if we are ignorant dolts, as if we are meaningless parasites and inconvenient rubes whom they have to pander to in order to keep their power. When politicians stop with this condescending arrogance and realize that they are supposed to be public servants, not all powerful ruling class monarchs, they will start to regain the trust of the public again and regain votes, support and their positions of privilege in government again.
Patrick Ruffini is right, I believe, when he says that the GOP’s problem is not ideological; rather, the party’s problem is that voters perceive it as tired, corrupt, and incompetent.
paul006 on November 15, 2008 at 3:14 PM
And I think the problem is three-fold.
(1) Lack of leadership within the GOP. Not only do we not have leaders who know how to talk about and explain conservative and libertarian principles on issues, we do not have many leaders within the GOP who actually even believe in these principles. Many (ie McCain) simply speak the rhetoric, because they know it is what the GOP voters want to hear in order to give them their vote, but they do not really believe in those principles themselves.
(2) Ignorance of the majority of the American public. The Left has successfully taken over every major medium of information in the nation. Entertainment industry, public schools, universities and, most important, the mass media. Through decades of propaganda, lies and misinformation, the Left has successfully dumbed down the majority of the public and the public now believes things which are not true.
(3) The mass media is no longer an objective medium through which to report news and inform the public, but is now a propaganda arm of the American Left and the Democratic Party. They have succesfully brought about the dumbing down and ignorance of the American public and they will continue with their power to keep this the status quo. Because they know that an informed public is the greatest enemy of their ideology and goals. They learned last Tuesday that their smear tactics, lies and disinformation worked wonderfully on the dumbed down ignoramuses of the American public, which they worked so hard to create. They now know that they can shed all objectivity and lie, smear and disinform all they want, in addition to cheerleading one Party and demonizing another, and the American public will not punish them for it, but rather reward them.
These are three HUGE challenges to overcome. And I am really not sure how we do it. We will not be able to overcome this in 2, 4 or even 8 years, I fear, but we will eventually if we stop with this nonsense of trying to ostracize certain groups of people and instead work to teach, inform and inspire people about the rightness of conservative and libertarian principles. It is for the long-term good of the nation, if not necessarily for the short-term good of winning elections for the GOP.
You know, the downfall of the GOP could be traced all the way back to post-election 2004. That was when the GOP started talking about “we need to nominate Rudy, because he is the only one who can beat Hillary”. Then, that changed to “we need to nominate McCain, because he is the only one who can beat Obama”.
In other words, for 4 years since the 2004 election, the GOP was not focused on ideology and issues and ideas which were good for the future of America. Instead, they were focusing on whom can they nominate to win an election. And their message has basically always been “vote for us, because we are not Hillary” and then changed to “vote for us, because we are not Obama”. That is not a winning message.
Had the GOP had a message of ideology and issues and why they were correct on the issues and why the Democrats have been wrong on the issues and are wrong on their ideas for the future and why the GOP is right on their ideas for the future, they would have won easily. Instead, they campaigned on “vote for us, because we’re not Democrats”.
That is not a winner. People are inspired to vote *for* something, not *against* something. 2004 should have taught people that lesson. Kerry campaigned on being the anti-Bush. The majority of his support came from BDSers, not people who were actually inspired to vote *for* Kerry.
The same thing happened in 2008. The majority of McCain’s supporters were, arguably, voting against Obama or for Palin, not necessarily for McCain. And that was doomed to lose.
“…but we as conservative activists and voters have to stop blaming the “powers that be” for pushing the wrong candidates. If there really is a conservative majority in the Party, why could we not find a real conservative this time around and get behind him?”
Rockmom – I am sure you remember all the posts during the primaries here at HotAir and other right-of-center places which were focused on polls. Instead of focusing on issues, people were focused on polls and pushing the meme ‘you HAVE to – HAAAAVE TOOOO – support (candidate X), because he is the only candidate who can win this election. Yeah, he’s not conservative, but he can win’.
In my opinion, that was the reason why no one would get behind the conservative candidate of their choice. If I had a dollar for every time I heard or read someone say “I support Thompson/Hunter, but they are not viable, so I am putting my support behind (flavor of the week ‘viable’ candidate)”, I could probably retire right now. That is why the GOP is in shambles and their voters are in chaos, because they set aside all their principles in order to try to win an election. They told everyone who wanted to stick to principles to STFU and get in line behind crappy candidate X, because it’s the only way we can win. We principled men and women were told to grow up, get real, act like adults and set our principles aside and join the new Mavericky, moderate, Democrat-lite GOP.
Well, it’s no surprise that many people who actually don’t just throw their principles aside for political expedience decided to give a nice big F*** YOU on election day and either not show up or vote 3rd party. (I personally held my nose and voted McCain/Palin in order to cast a vote against Barack Obama and for Palin. I could not stand McCain and still can’t stand the man as a politician, even though I developed huge respect for his time as a military man the more I learned about that time in his life)
And of course now everyone is whining and scrambling about trying to figure out wha-wha-wha happened?!?
Hmm, well maybe if people decided to be principled and stand for issues and ideology instead of simply just winning elections, there would be a big tent and a good chance for the GOP to win.
The problem with the GOP is not any one group. So people better stop pinning the blame on social conservatives or “neocons” or whomever else they want to tar and feather and piss the f*** off again. The problem is the GOP and the lack of principle and adhering to those principles.
We need less pandering, less pissing off people, because they happen to hold certain issues more important than others… and we need more dialogue between all factions of conservatism and libertarianism.
Instead of saying “this was all those stupid bigoted social conservatives’ fault!”, the effort should to be convince social conservatives how their issues are important in the GOP and how they affect other planks of the platform (ie, economic and foreign policy) For example, instead of hating on those who supported Huckabee, the effort should be to convince them why his economic policies were horrible.
Instead of saying “this was the fault of all those damn ‘neocons’, who pissed everyone off with their warmongering!”, the effort should be to convince others of the justness and rightness of the war on terror and the efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan and other parts of the world. Educate them to history and how this war on terror affects us all and affects the world. For example, instead of falling for the trap set by the Left and the mass media about all the unpopular war rhetoric, the effort should be to always keep people informed and educated to the truth and the facts so that people don’t lose heart and don’t fall victim to the lies and propaganda of the Left and mass media.
Yes, we the grassroots conservatives have a lot of work to do, but demonizing each other and trying to decide which group of people to blame and ostracize is not the answer. That’s just plain suicide.
The reason we have lost our way is because some of us are interested in principles and issues and ideology and the overall future of the country and some of us are interested solely in winning elections, no matter if those GOPers who win will stand on principles and ideology or not.
What we all need to do is make a concerted effort to forget about elections and focus on issues, principles and ideology and educating people on a grassroots level. This will take a lot of time and effort and won’t happen overnight as there are a LOT of ignorant and apathetic people in this country. But we need to make the effort or our country is headed down a long downward spiral. With the effort and getting people educated and informed, we will eventually get the right people in office again.
I see government and the electorate analogous to children and parents. Children are a reflection of their parents, as the saying goes. Well, our government is a reflection of our electorate. Right now, our electorate is extremely ignorant and dumbed down and the result was ushering Democrats into power. But once we get the public informed and energized again, we will then see better people in office (hopefully in both Parties).
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