We got the results I feared. I was hoping for a different result, but in the end the pollsters were again correct and it was a 5 point win for Obama, with a devastating down ballot result. When you end the night being glad that Ted Stevens might eek out a victory, that is a bad sign.
So here are some things that I think we now know for the future. If we want to get this country back on the right track, we better learn these and act on them:
1) People are not afraid of Socialism, it is an acceptable political outcome. I’m going to be thinking a long time on why this is, but I think that it is a combination of lack of education within the electorate, a generation has passed since Carter, and the illusionary success of European socialism in our globalized economy.
2) Bi-partisanship is a waste of time. You can’t make nice with the political enemy and expect them to play fair or support you in any meaningful way. The PUMAs were interesting to listen to, but they weren’t a political factor. The fact that McCain and Hillary are friends means nothing, and just serves to cheapen our positions. By the same token, mavericks should be marginalized, not given our nomination.
3) Image, charisma, and articulation matters. If our candidate doesn’t make the people who watch Access Hollywood say, “Hey! He/She is really hip and cool!”, then we are toast. This goes for ALL of our leaders, not just our presidential candidate. We need people who can articulate our positions in terms that the voters can understand and resonate with. It took an Ohio plumber to put in simple words what was wrong with Obama’s tax plan, and it came too late. At the end of the day, none of our candidates really stood a chance with this dynamic.
4) You have to fight everyday if you want to win. When the opposition makes a mistake, you have to publicize it everyday and never ever let them walk away from it. When the Dems blocked reform of Fannie/Freddie, we should have been pounding home the message that the Dems were heading us toward a disaster. In the future, we have to loudly disagree with their socialist agenda, and when they inevitably fail, loudly condemn them for their failures. Their social safety net should be daily criticized for the failure that it is.
5) Social conservatism does not trump financial conservatism. As much as it pains me to say this, abortion is not an issue that the majority of the electorate cares about, and frankly we have now lost on Roe v. Wade. The courts are lost for a generation, and there will be no turning back the clock. Social conservatism works for ballot initiatives, like Amendment 2 in Florida and Prop 8 in California. But the best we can hope for is state initiatives to enhance right to life issues on the edges. This was probably our biggest loss yesterday, and it is probably permanent.
6) The education system and the media are devastating losses for us. With no mechanism to publicize our positions fairly, the new voters are being taught lies as truths, and we lose the propaganda war. If we can’t find a way to get around this problem, we will be a political minority for a very very long time. The reinstitution of the fairness doctrine must be defeated, or we will lose even that small voice.
7) Trying to fight fair, when the opposition refuses to do so, is foolish. Campaign finance reform is a crock, and using public financing is moronic. Until real reform occurs to stop voter fraud, we can’t be left defenseless. In the meantime, we can either fight in the gutter, or we can lose.
8) Similar to the social conservatism, 2nd amendment rights is not a political winner. Not enough of the voters really give a damn.
So what do I think can work in the future for us?
1) A reform agenda – Palin has set the right “outside Washington” tone to benefit from the inevitable mistakes that the Dems are going to make now that they fully control all branches of government. Our congressional members need to enforce party discipline and eschew fiscal stupidity like earmarks. Then people from outside DC need to run on permanently changing the culture.
2) Fiscal education – Strong leadership in teaching the voters the truth about tax policies. We don’t have to get into what the money in the treasury is going to be used FOR, as long as we teach them why lower taxes result in increased revenues. If they think giving it to the UN is the best thing to do with it, then fine. But getting people to understand what is needed for a sound economy is critical.
3) Media – We need to destroy the current media. They must be punished for their abdication of their duties within a free society. Establish alternative sources to reach the voters with our message. Financially ruin the mouthpieces of the Democrats. Buy the New York Times and fire their editorial board, replacing it with one leaning right.
4) Grassroots – Establish a permanent and effective local political apparatus that can mutually support between states and districts. Share best practices, and provide technical and financial support between organizations.
5) Win the hearts and minds – Low level voter education to target the youth and independents to teach them the core principles. Work outside of the liberal school indoctrination, or better yet, force the schools to give us equal time. We have to get past ceding political education to the NEA. We need to stop mind numbed robot Democrats from just showing up at the polls and blindly pulling the lever for the D.
6) National level branding – Now is the time to begin an advertising campaign to dispel the myths about Republicans. We aren’t racists, we aren’t homophobes, we aren’t war mongers. We need to change our public image, and that has to be done through a public relations effort. Pick a few core messages, and put them out in opposition to the socialism that Obama will be trying to push through.
7) Leadership – Finally, we need leadership, probably as the head of the RNC. Congressional leaders are fine, but a strong RNC chairman that focuses on the Republican brand is critical for success.