The Czar is getting overwhelmed, and frankly a little tired, of blog after blog focused on what Republicans and/or Conservatives need to do in the Age of Obama. So much so, that he decided to write his own.
Interestingly, almost all of them revolve around the same points—Return to Small Government, Fiscal Conservatism, Tax Reform, and Healthcare/Education Reform—even though the last two elections showed that Americans, by and large, either don’t get it, or don’t care as much as the Right thinks.
The Czar will put it simply: BORING! The problem with the Return to Small Government is that the GOP swelled government too much under Bush. And remember—it matters not one wit whether that is true, but it is largely seen to be true. And that is good enough for voters.
Ditto for Fiscal Conservatism. As long as the average guy sees prices going up, massive debts and deficits, crazy earmarks and pork spending, he assumes that any talk of fiscal conservatism is just idle talk. Is he right?
Taxes. Healthcare. Education. Wow, does this produce a yawn. The average American is smart enough to know that he will still be socked with a tax bill every year, and that healthcare costs will continue to rise. And that education is cocked up so badly that half-hearted attempts will result in further chaos and failure. These arguments—so long the staple of GOP candidates—do not work.
There are other things that can actually work to re-orient the political spectrum. The preceding elements can be benefits to a GOP-led country, but they should only serve as wonderful side benefits to more productive means, and not central talking points.
Time to change the game. The Czar recommends the GOP use the following strategies to make real progress. Most can and should be implemented today.
- Don’t be afraid to play the game of intense Democratic scrutiny. Point out every Democrat hypocrisy. Get the news media to sniff out conspiracies and controversies: racism, ethics violations, bonehead science, lavish self-spending and more. The media love that more than anything. Use the Internet to show things the mainstreamers overlook. Do not let FoxNews be your only advocate. Of course, part of the problem, and roadblock to this idea, is almost all of the GOP’s power is concentrated in Congress right now, and Congress is part of problem. The GOP needs to get credible, non-Congressional spokespeople to point out how unpopular the Democratic-led congress is. Progress is being made on this: Newt Gingrich, for example, is happily exposing Nancy Pelosi as an embarrassment to POTUS Obama. Get America riled up, and they will listen.
- Stop being the party of rich white old guys. The Czar knows you are not, but the public tends to think otherwise. Again, we see progress here. Condi was a cannon blast: a black woman with a real story to tell. Find out why her father became Republican, and stress that, again and again. Challenge them to name Democrats who ever did anything to help minorities. Remind them that the GOP is the party of Lincoln, who freed the slaves, and Ike who battled for civil rights. Play the damn race card: remind them who voted for slavery, who banned them white institutions and establishments, and who enslaved generations to welfare. Never be afraid to show that Democrats only reinforce racial stereotypes under the guise of maintaining diversity. Beyond that, they have walked out on their constituents each time it mattered morally.
- Remember that you are parodied. Sarah Palin was a great choice, but she was too easily parodied. Remember that the liberal elements of the Democratic party are vicious, and did not hesitate to humiliate her on television. The way to prevent this is not to put a minority or a woman on a pedestal, but to embrace a large number of minorities and women—too many to make fun of.
- The Czar totally agrees with this: “[Remember to avoid the perception of] the shallowness of our policies. Republicans are a whole lot better at being against things than at being for things. That’s a problem if you’re in the majority. On topics that the center really cares about, such as education and health care, we do one of two things. We either avoid them like the plague and are scared to talk about them or, if we say anything at all, it is to propose a tax cut or a tax credit.” Start coming up with real policies and not bullet lists of fixes. And find a way to explain them in only a couple of paragraphs.
- Start choosing the battleground! Time after time, the GOP and Conservatives get pulled into false arguments chosen by the opposition. When you get hammered with questions about education, gay marriage, healthcare reform, cutting of social programs, and so on, recognize that they are choosing your argument. You are being set up, because it becomes impossible to take any contrary position without sounding like you are against these things. Go forth, and you choose the topics. When they ask what your position is on legalizing drugs, point out that the average American does not give a crap about that, and instead wants to know about getting their job back, lowering their mortgage, and getting affordable gas. Do not let them ask for your position on global warming! Instead, demand they explain how socialized medicine will work in the US when it has failed across the board elsewhere, and how we can lower power costs without using nuclear energy. This is why the GOP is painted as a reactionary party of stale ideas: because you have been continuously conned and manipulated into being stymied for meaningful answers to trick questions. Check out how Reagan kept turning the tables on Carter for a great example.
- Foreign policy is not about naming prime ministers. Get off that track, and instead start explaining to the public about why we care about Georgia, and why Israel matters, and who loses when we get involved in Darfur. And be honest: if the reason is an oil pipeline, or a return to fascism, or terrorists castrating Christians, or the damn UN being a roadblock, then never be afraid to say so. Offending some is less important than awakening most. You know perfectly well the Democrats have a dog-feces-like record on foreign policy: spell it out.
- Start to clean your house. Make it clear that people who vote GOP do not always represent the GOP. Start ditching the ones who make racist jokes in front of crowds, or vote for Creationist dogma on school boards, or those who make butt-stupid comments on radio shows. You have millions of supporters: you can afford to alienate the thousands who continually embarrass you and serve as poster-children for the Left.
- Become the party of science and technology, which are good for business. Stop voting and cutting science and technology programs. The Left is just as bad, but they keep pointing the finger at you. Instead, flip the argument. Start believing the truth: NASA is good. Science is good. Internet is good. eCommerce is good. Research dollars is good. Medicine is good. The voters will agree, because this is what they believe.
- The economy is more than taxes and business credits. Be the party that puts money back into their pockets, not the party that funds social programs. Ask people if they’d honestly rather have a community program to teach computers, or enough cash in their bank account to buy a computer of their own, or something equally essential. Guess which they will choose? You need to start talking about the economy in terms that individuals can understand, not just CEOs. Bush scored big on his tax refunds, because people got this. They are less inclined to understand Obama’s stimulus packages and TARP programs. See the difference? Make it seem as if the Democrats just do not understand the economics of daily life. You can push tax credits and income adjustments all you want behind the scenes.
- Recruit the post-Boomer generations hard. Yeah, the Boomers themselves represent many millions of voters, but do not waste your time with them. They voted in Clinton because he was one of them and no other reason. They voted for Obama because they goofily think he’s JFK and Bush was Nixon. Yes, their numbers are massive today, but so are the other voters (and soon the Boomers will become less numerous). Seduce these younger generations (born 1955 and later). Don’t be afraid to draw parallels between Boomerism and the DNC goals. Why? Most people under 50 tend to resent the Boomers and their post-party gluttony. So draw big, fat lines between them and the Democrats. You want to elect a bunch of old hippies and their holding-hands flower power? Neither do most Americans.
- Finally: You need to win Hollywood. Look at who contributed millions of dollars and votes to Obama. Big name celebrities and musicians. And look at how the GOP sufferred a death from a thousand cuts in movies and TV shows. Serials about brilliant and loveable woman Presidents, shows about moronic Republican presidents, secret torture plans, illegal coverups, evil apres-President manipulators…all of these elements add up to a major advertisement for the Democratic Party. You need to take Hollywood back and fast. Get good shows and memorable characters that represent more conservative values. Oh, and let Hollywood take charge: if the current GOP leadership tries to get in there, you wind up with Mayberry-like eye-rolling shows instead of realistic programming that shows how the average American really lives. There are many Hollywood conservatives out there: time to start giving them some work to do.
Okay. There you have it. Now think carefully on these points: each one will make a difference. And at worst, they’ll do better than what you have been doing.