Advice to Candidates, Part 1
I was asked to speak to a candidate forum in Will County, Illinois on Saturday, March 10. I had to leave early, so only spoke to the candidates themselves and a handful of early arrivals. I didn’t record the talk, so this is from my notes and speech outline.
Hi, I’m Loren Heal, a Precinct Committeeman from downstate Illinois, Cumberland County, and Congressional District 15 delegate and District Director for Rick Santorum. I’m here to tell you how we can defeat the left permanently and completely.
We have to learn to think and operate like Andrew Breitbart, and we have to rebuild our Party.
Below the fold is Part 1, learning to think and operate as Andrew did.
Are you aware of the debate about contraception in Obamacare? You’re aware, then, that the left has framed the debate such that either you support paying for someone else’s contraception or you want it banned.
Clearly, no Republican or conservative wants to ban contraception. The Catholic Church doesn’t even forbid its members from using contraception, they just way it’s not a good thing and there are other ways of dealing with it.
But the point is that the debate is not just about paying for contraception, or even religious liberty, though it is about that. What the Obama administration wants is to force you to carry insurance. They want to force you to buy a product: insurance.
If we give the government the authority to force us to buy insurance, the government can force us to buy a house or a Chevy Volt. Given the Keynesian attempts to “stimulate the economy”, and the pressure they’re under to deal with a down economy, they will use that power — if only to generate sales tax revenue.
If we let them tell us to buy a product, the level of micromanagement of the economy will become more oppressive than it already is. America would be over. This is the whole ball game, right here.
So that’s how we have to frame the debate: it’s about freedom, and nothing less than preserving our country.
How many of you have heard of Andrew Breitbart? Everyone? Good. Well, Andrew died March 1st. We’d met a few times, though we weren’t close or anything. But like everyone else, I’d watched him and would have liked to have seen his success continue.
Andrew understood the media and politics very well. He understood that we as activists and candidates have to beat the media, or winning elections will never be enough — and we won’t be able to do it consistently anyway.
1. Believe in yourself, your God, and your country.
Andrew was not a religious man, as far as I know, but the point is that the first rule of Breitbart is to be completely sure that your belief system and your culture is worth defending. The left doesn’t believe in your values, the traditional American ones. The American left, the Democrat Party, and the people in the media are essentially all Marxists now.
2: Never back down. If beaten, come back tomorrow.
The left never quits. Neither can we. We must not surrender, ever. We must force them to beat us. Since they are often bullies, they often run away when confronted.
3: Culture is upstream of politics.
You’ve heard it said “You can’t legislate morality”? That’s what that means. Trying to change the culture with politics is like pushing water upstream. It takes a lot of work to make a little headway. We can elect all the conservatives and Republicans we like, and we should continue to do that, but unless we change the culture our leaders will always be John Boehner. Boehner is a conservative guy who caves at the slightest hint that he’s on the wrong side of the political framing.
4: Media is upstream of culture.
The way to change the culture is with the media. We have to get them talking about issues our way, by framing the debate.
Americans are mostly conservative: survey after survey shows we’re 40% conservative, 20-25% liberal, and the rest moderates. But those moderates have all kinds of views, and most often hold both conservative and liberal ideas in “cognitive dissonance”. They believe both that people should stand on their own and have the freedom to succeed or fail, but also that the poor should be cared for. Our job is to get them to think in our terms, not the left’s.
The way to change the media is with social media and blogs. Not only do these affect the MSM, but they increasingly are starting to supplant it.
5: Understand that you are in a #war against people who don’t think you are a person.
They don’t believe you should have rights, because you don’t agree with them. Once you understand this, their vileness toward us becomes understandable. As a corollary to this rule, know that when you are attacked personally, it is your policy preferences and politics that they are attacking, not you personally. If they agreed with you politically, they would give you a pass personally.
6: If the media is not doing its job, you do it.
If you have a camera phone, learn how to use it. It’s not necessary to catch breaking news to be effective. The “long tail” of the Internet will allow your story, when correlated and compared with thousands of others, to form a cohesive picture of the truth.
7:Take over the left’s artillery and turn it in their direction.
When you are interviewed, don’t listen to the question as if you have to answer what the interviewer wants you to answer. Listen for a path to say what you want to say. Reporters are lazy, and just want to file their story to meet their deadline. That is why issuing press releases is important: reporters will spread your message as “news”.
Next: Defeating the left on the ground.