Everyone’s giving free advice concerning the Grand Conservative Reawakening. ‘Puter’s going to get in on the action and offer some of his own free advice.
First, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Bedrock conservative ideas (lower taxes, smaller government, protecting life, non-living Constitution) are sound. It’s the implementation that’s wrong. Republicans have done precious little (1) to coherently explain their ideals and (2) to implement these sound ideals. Blaming it on the Democrats is weak. Go over their heads and talk to the American public. You can do it. Reagan did.
Second, remember your audience. You don’t need to convert your base. And you’re never going to convert the far left. You’re only looking to sway about 10% of voters in the middle. Most of these folks are the ballyhooed “Reagan Democrats,” and would like little more than for the government to leave them alone. They are sensible, solid folks who trend socially conservative, but who will not abide even the appearance of intolerance. They are sensitive to economic issues, but aren’t necessarily predisposed to listen to lengthy analysis. They want to know what’s in it for them. Think auto workers in Michigan, miners in Pennsyltucky and manufacturers in Ohio.
Third, conservatism needs to be anti-corruption to its core. When people think “anti-corruption,” they should think immediately think “Republican.” Conservatives at all levels should not hesitate to destroy fellow conservatives who are corrupt. One corrupt member ruins the movement. Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) should have been shark bait even before his conviction. His lame excuses didn’t remotely pass the smell test. This anti-corruption fervor works as applied to the other side of the aisle as well. House Republicans should be all over Rep. William “Frozen Assets” Jefferson (D-LA) who had $90,000 in alleged bribes stuffed in his freezer. The electorate will not tolerate its representatives playing fast and loose with their money for personal benefit.
Fourth, conservatives need to deal with the facts as they are, not as they wish them to be. Conservatism can maintain its pro-life foundation. However, it needs to recognize that abortion is not going to be outlawed in this country any time soon. Heck, South Dakota just refused to outlaw abortion (with the rape, incest, life of the mother exceptions) this election cycle. We need to realize that incrementalism will help us. Rather than insist on outright bans, we can use science and shame to change the debate. Who can defend opposition to infanticide, besides President Elect Obama? Why are American abortion laws more liberal than those in supposedly lefty socialist Europe? Hey, doesn’t that three month old thing on that 4-D sonogram look like a miniature person? Change the debate, not the principles. Accept that incremental changes toward our positions are better than none at all.
Fifth, every conservative at all levels should have an elevator speech. That is, we should all have pithy 30 second rejoinders to the attacks liberals have been levying against conservatives for years. Anti middle class? Here’s your smackdown. Anti choice? Here’s where you’re wrong.
As a corollary, it would also be of great help to have a short conservative mission statement and strategic vision. Maybe something like a contract. With America. And maybe someone could help. Maybe someone like, say, Newt Gingrich?
Last, be the small(er) government, lower spending party. And mean it this time. Explain to the voters that you can’t live in a $1 million house on a $30,000 salary. We’d all love to have what the Democrats are offering (free gas, no mortgage payments, health care utopia), but we can’t even pay for what we have now (social security, Medicare). Government has two choices, cut its spending or raise everyone’s taxes, because even the rich don’t have enough money to “spread around” to finance these schemes. The government is in the same bind everyone else is. When Mr. and Mrs. Joe T. Plumber sit at the table and figure they don’t have enough money to take the kids to Disney World this year, they have two choices: get a second job (raise taxes) or postpone the trip for a year or two (cut spending).
None of this should be news to any serious person. There is difficult work to be done, and it needs to get done quickly. But conservative principles are sound. It’s the messengers that are rotten.
Always right, unless he isn’t, the infallible Ghettoputer F. X. Gormogons claims to be an in-law of the Volgi, although no one really believes this.
’Puter carefully follows economic and financial trends, legal affairs, and serves as the Gormogons’ financial and legal advisor. He successfully defended us against a lawsuit from a liquor distributor worth hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid deliveries of bootleg shandies.
The Geep has an IQ so high it is untestable and attempts to measure it have resulted in dangerously unstable results as well as injuries to researchers. Coincidentally, he publishes intelligence tests as a side gig.
His sarcasm is so highly developed it borders on the psychic, and he is often able to insult a person even before meeting them. ’Puter enjoys hunting small game with 000 slugs and punt guns, correcting homilies in real time at Mass, and undermining unions. ’Puter likes to wear a hockey mask and carry an axe into public campgrounds, where he bursts into people’s tents and screams. As you might expect, he has been shot several times but remains completely undeterred.
He assures us that his obsessive fawning over news stories involving women teachers sleeping with young students is not Freudian in any way, although he admits something similar once happened to him. Uniquely, ’Puter is unable to speak, read, or write Russian, but he is able to sing it fluently.
Geep joined the order in the mid-1980s. He arrived at the Castle door with dozens of steamer trunks and an inarticulate hissing creature of astonishingly low intelligence he calls “Sleestak.” Ghettoputer appears to make his wishes known to Sleestak, although no one is sure whether this is the result of complex sign language, expert body posture reading, or simply beating Sleestak with a rubber mallet.
‘Puter suggests the Czar suck it.