How about we message conservative values?
"First you win the argument, then you win the votes" - Margaret Thatcher
The sequester is Obama’s fault. We have amazing message discipline on this point right now – just like we had great discipline on Benghazi, on “you didn’t build this,” on the “contraceptive mandate,” on “Fast and Furious,” and on others. But what are we debating here? What’s this argument about?
I have a crazy idea though. Seeing as how these messages are the few Republican talking points to actually permeate, barely, into the MSM, but accomplished nothing – maybe we can try a new message:
“Less Government equals more Liberty”
Before Karl Rove commissions a SuperPAC against me, let me say this:
What are we debating here? What’s this argument about?
What did the rhetoric behind the mandated contraceptive requirement get? Besides an ugly rant by Rush that alienated young female voters. More importantly, how did it make the electorate more conservative? How did it make a swing voter think, “oh, conservatism can really help me out.”
“You didn’t build this” was a great message for successful business owners. But that’s a pretty safe Republican constituency. How does lionizing bosses make employees or unemployed people think, “oh, conservatism can really help me out.” No one ever voted to give their boss a tax cut.
What has the Benghazi scandal accomplished? A couple sleepless nights for Chuck Hagel? How does the scandal further the public’s understanding of the conservative worldview? Did Benghazi make anyone think, “oh, conservatism can really help me out.” The same goes for the Fast and Furious scandal – is there a larger point beyond Obama = bad?
Now we’re all supposed to get behind the “Obamaquester.” What are we saying, Obama’s spending cuts are too severe? too dramatic? it’s almost as if we want him to get to our right on the issue. There doesn’t seem to be a theme here beyond just blaming unpopular things on Obama. This isn’t going to work: show me one MSM piece that blames Obama for the sequester.
What’s the big picture here? I won’t debate that these messages might make tactical sense – I’m not saying we shouldn’t be making them. They can occasionally even win the news cycle – BFD. They’ve proven to be useless when it comes to legislative and electoral victories.
So why are Republican leaders so inept, indeed, so unwilling to actually advocate conservative values? Where is the message discipline behind individual liberty?
We’re losing elections because they’re simply aren’t enough conservative voters. This point can’t be repeated enough. Every conservative needs to internalize this: soon, they’re aren’t going to be enough conservative voters to consistently win anything but gerrymandered seats in low turnout elections. We need more conservatives. The younger generation is very liberal, they can’t even remember Ronald Reagan. The older generation is dying away. This isn’t 1972, or 1980, or even 2004, when you can assume that the broader electorate is essentially open to conservatism. Demographic winter is upon us – we have to re-educate our way out of this.
These short-sighted messages aren’t getting it done. Are we winning the argument? What are we even arguing? How do repeated variations on the “Obama = bad” message create more conservative voters? How does “Obama = bad” connect conservative values with freedom and prosperity? How does “Obama = bad” connect with a young voter who’s voted for Obama … twice.
I’d like to say we’re winning the battles but losing the war, but I’m not sure we’re even winning the battles.