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A Rebuttal To “Hanoi Jane Republicans”

Or, putting kids in cages makes them act like animals. Let's tear down the walls. Oh, and the democrats, too.

I have to respectfully disagree with Erick here:

*We have Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, and Chris Matthews now all in for Obama and admitting it. Therefore, we can conclude that any Republican who appears on MSNBC will be there solely to serve as a foil for the Obama fan club.

We should resolve to designate elected Republicans wiling to play the fool “Hanoi Jane Republicans.” There is no longer any value in going on MSNBC now that their chief faces are declaring openly that making Obama succeed is part of their job.*

With all due respect, sir, this is exactly the wrong mentality to have if we’re to get back in the game again…

It’s pretty easy for us to get angry at all the structural advantages the democrats have each and every election cycle: Hollywood, making conservatives look like angry idiots; the news media, with relentless negative coverage of every GOP politician and excusal of horrendously bad behavior by democrats; corrupt voting systems run by democrat partisans who magically “find” enough ballots to win (Disclosure: I live in Seattle, WA and know PLENTY about how the [d] machine works with regard to elections. Just look up Rossi, Dino, 2004).

However, digging a bunker in the back yard and storing 4 years’ worth of water and canned beans is the wrong way to go. Instead of pulling ourselves into a shell, we need to take a page from the Obama campaign: Contest every vote.

A quick story, as an aside, to make my point: My wife and I are Purdue Boilermakers (it was grad school for me). We went back for Homecoming this year (right before the election) to see some old friends, watch the football game, and rub elbows with other alumni. We had a hotel room in downtown Lafayette, IN.

Lafayette/West Lafayette is in north central Indiana in very very red Tippecanoe County. I loved it there. Not a democrat in sight. Wonderfully conservative policies abound. No crime to speak of. Great economic growth. The works.

So it was to my shock that I saw an Obama campaign office in a rented storefront in downtown Lafayette. democrats don’t win in Indiana. democrats are regarded as space aliens there. Why the hell would Obama waste his time?

Answer: Because it’s not a waste of time. Obama had the cojones to take his message right into one of the worst neighborhoods (for him, anyway). As a result of this ground game, I saw Obama signs in yards. In rural Indiana.

The lesson? Newt Gingrich writes is best in his book Real Change that cheerful persistence and a willingness to take your message cheerfully and openly to people whom you Think would never give you the time of day are winning strategies.

Will you always catch lightning in a bottle and flip a red state to blue, as Obama did? Likely not. But what you can do is slowly get the message there, slowly, letting it diffuse to a broader audience…and the more people that know what we’re about, the more people there are likely to question Obama’s actions in the White House and/or vote to oppose his policies (when he inevitably makes a mistake).

We’ll never be able to flip Olbermann and Matthews. Take that as a given. But if the right conservative goes on that network, someone unflappable in the face of hostile questions, someone fast enough on his/her feet to frame the arguments properly, and most importantly, someone who can remain cheerfully optimistic even in the face of two of the most partisan broadcasters in the history of television, then several things are possible:

  1. You can let them make idiots out of themselves. This one shouldn’t be too hard.
  2. You can turn their arguments against them. Pointing out their inconsistencies in a cheerful way leaves them no room for attack soundbites later.
  3. You can use the “Yes, if” style of debate. Someone who’s listening to you will respond more positively to what you’re saying if you try and make their position work (“Yes, you can hike taxes to raise revenue, but for the revenue growth to materialize…”) as opposed to “No, because”.

Is this an easy thing to do? Not at all. It takes somebody with a good sense of humor who’s fast on his or her feet.

But is it worth it? Absolutely. We need to be thinking long term here, as in 2010 timeframes. We need to get the voters educated on the issues in a hurry such that if/when Obama, Pelosi and Reid launch their “change” assault on the country and the economy, we’ll have enough voters to support our positions and raise skepticism over their agenda.

Remember the great Ronaldus Maximus and one of the most clever things he ever did to defuse an opponent:

“Well, there you go again.”

We don’t want to be in a position where all the democrats have to say is, “There they go again. Those angry Republicans, standing in the way of change.”

So when MSNBC calls, grit your teeth and get on there. Expect to get beaten up the first few times out, but every time you do, you reach someone in their audience. Pretty soon, those people are actually getting both sides of the story. And that only helps us out in the end.

Sorry if the above meanders a bit. I’m seriously multitasking during the workday :) .

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