I have written here a few times about what a good friend of mine has called "The Conservative Grievance Industry." Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity, even Sen. Jim DeMint, and others, have written books ostensibly for the purpose of "saving America." Indeed, that was the title of DeMint's book. I've scoured those books, looking for concrete "how to" guides relating to the actual internal workings of the Republican Party. None of those books explain how to become a Republican Party precinct committeeman nor why that might be important. (Why is that important? Hmmm, let's see. Half the precinct committeemen slots in the Party were vacant after the 2008 elections. The half that were filled were split about 50-50 between conservatives and moderates. Precinct committeemen, and only precinct committeemen, get to vote in the internal Party leadership elections. (If conservatives invaded the Party and occupied all the empty precinct committeemen slots, the Party would go to FULL STRENGTH and have a 75 per cent majority of conservatives in its grass roots ranks -- and the conservative majority could then elect conservatives to ALL of the leadership positions, including at the RNC level.) And, precinct committeemen who attend their monthly committee meetings will meet all of the Republican primary candidates in person, to evaluate them face-to-face, eyeball-to-eyeball, and then be in a position to help the BEST conservative candidates win the primary election, which, traditionally, has very low turnout.)
I purchased Dick Morris and Eileen McGann's latest addition to the long list of books the Conservative Grievance Industry ("CGI") has penned for the public. It has some good things in it, but it is contradictory and leaves out all of what I explained above. Rather than encourage conservatives to actually attend their local Republican Party committee meetings to become precinct committeemen for the reasons I've outlined above, instead, "2010, Take Back America: A Battle Plan" inexplicably tells conservatives to become "electronic precinct committeemen" only and that they can do everything that's needed from the comfort of their homes.
Morris and McGann give some great advice regarding how to be an "electronic precinct committeeman," but they end their book on the last page with this fundamentally wrong-headed (in my opinion) bit of advice: "It's tough to transform oneself from political couch potato to activist. But you don't have to leave home to do it." (Bolding added.) Wrong, if you want to actually vote for the leadership of the Republican Party. Wrong, if you want to meet and evaluate the Republican candidates eyeball-to-eyeball. Wrong, if you want to run, yourself, for a Party leadership position. Wrong, if you want to volunteer as a poll watcher, a polling place worker, or volunteer for any of the myriad traditional campaign tasks (get-out-the-vote phone calls and door-to-door work, voter registration activites, putting up campaign signs, etc.) To be the BEST kind of political activist, in my opinion, one needs to, if at all possible, physically attend one's local Republican Party committee monthly meetings, because that is where the real ball game of politics -- party politics -- is played.
Most of the CGI books follow the following format (and the Morris and McGann book is no exception):
The Democrats are bad for America.
The Republicans are better.
You need to "get involved" and here are some ways to do that: write a letter to the editor, send money to the Party and the candidates you like, write a blog, talk to your friends and family, etc. (leaving out any specifics about actually getting INSIDE the Republican Party itself).
I only skimmed the first three parts of the book, looking for actual advice on HOW to CHANGE the Republican Party itself. I did not see a word about that subject. Here's an overview of their chapters:
"Part One: The Stakes" describes how Obama and the Democrats are bad.
"Part Two: The Targets" lists in great detail all of the bad Democrats, state-by-state, in both the Senate and the House.
"Part Three: The Strategy" lays out examples of hypothetical TV ads that could be used to attack the Democrats and describes arguments Republicans could make on various issues against Obama and the Democrats in the upcoming elections.
I did read every word of "Part Four, The Electronic Precinct, How You Can Help Beat Obama and the Democrats," which begins, "Politics is no longer a spectator sport." Actually, politics still is a spectator sport. But only for those who choose to remain spectators. Who choose not to become "card carrying members" of a political party or a volunteer in some other capacity at the monthly party committee meetings.
Morris and McGann go on:
"Those in the grandstands must leave their seats and come down on the playing field to help their side score. That is the key lesson of the Obama campaign. He didn't just have supporters. He had campaign workers -- millions of them.
"Every caller who dialed Obama's headquarters in 2008 was greeted with a question: 'What can you do for us?'"
However, as already mentioned, the authors then later explain that getting out of their grandstand seats and coming down onto the playing field does not mean actually getting out of their chairs and leaving their homes, as everything the authors believe ought to be done by conservatives can be done at home with their computer and an internet connection. I agree with the authors that "if we're to win the elections of 2010, we need to have hundreds of thousands of electronic precincts throughout the country, all of them worked by dedicated activists who are willing to put in the time and creativity necessary to make their work count." (Page 308.) That will certainly be a plus. They explain, at page 298, "If you want to make a difference in 2010, now's the time to start reaching out to all those people [one's friends and family] to spread the word. They are your constituents -- your electronic precinct." They explain HOW one could use the internet to influence others whom you know. And they hit the nail on the head with this statement: "Underlying all our efforts is one fundamental conviction: Conservatism is too important a cause to leave to the establishment of the Republican Party." Unfortunately, the authors do not explain HOW to CHANGE the Republican Party.
Changing the Republican Party cannot be achieved merely through the creation of "electronic precincts;" rather, the ONLY way to change the Republican Party is for conservatives to become ACTUAL precinct committeemen so they may vote in better, more conservative Party leaders. Precinct committeemen ARE the Party. We conservatives could take over the Party if we UNITED within it as precinct committeemen. The Party leadership elections will take place right after the 2010 general election, and if you're not a Republican precinct committeeman by then you won't be participating. Sorry.
For reference, here are links to some of the other things I've written here about the CGI:
Conservatives, UNITE! CHANGE the Republican Party and the world by becoming precinct committeemen. NOW!
American first, conservative second and Republican precinct committeeman BY NECESSITY!
www.theprecinctproject.wordpress.com, so you can say, “I became a precinct committeeman before it was cool.”
“[Primary e]lections have consequences, my friends.” — John McCain