One More 2012 Post-Mortem Will Be Hangover III
I had a pleasant conversation with Alex Smith on my radio show Monday night. She articulately laid out the case for the CRNC’s polling and focus groups which were done after the 2012 elections. I make no argument that youth voter outreach is among many development areas we face. The process and conclusions were spot on. I would, however, submit that it’s not what you say, but where you say it.
We think it noble and constructive to vent our weaknesses for all the world to see. Yet, the left plays this like a fiddle. It’s baked into the cake. We keep repeating the “stupid party” refrain, and the other side sings along, louder.
Hillary Clinton had a hand in getting four Americans killed at one of our own embassies. There is almost nobody on the other side who has declared Democrats the “stupid party” for accepting her exhortation, “At this point, what difference does it make?” There is little admission on the left that she is damaged goods for 2016. I’m sure they are thrashing behind closed doors, but there is an unwritten rule against feeding the beast bad narratives. They won’t publicly navel gaze to a fault. Our threshold for pain is Michele Bachmann and her gaffe prone pronouncements. For the other side, their bar is set so low so as to allow Hillary Clinton to be their Great White Hope for 2016, someone who was driving the bus that crashed our standing in the world to new lows every day, got Americans killed, then lied about it. For them, unlike us, there is no self-immolation.
It’s unpleasant, but effective, and has paid dividends. Hillary still polls favorably against all our 2016 contenders. Even if this insidious circling of wagons around her is only worth a few points, they’re not giving anything up. Stephanie Cutter and Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, serial liars, are still among their top thought leaders. If there is anyone on their side knifing them with pejoratives like “wacko birds,” I haven’t heard them. Finally, on cue, John McCain repudiates Darrell Issa’s “paid liar” labeling of Jay Carney.
Free people hate command and control from their government. I submit any political party that can’t just do that will lose. Barack Obama did not reconstitute OFA as OFA after the election if it did not work as designed as a big top down fist that drove every political messenger, capo, goon and buffer under its eaves, including the DNC and the IRS. Illicit, but well orchestrated and ruthless. The good thing about the Tea party is, it’s as horizontal an organization as you’ll find. The bad thing about the Tea Party is, it’s as horizontal an organization as you’ll find. Few generals and lots of rogues. We romanticize rogues, until we skewer them. But there’s no coordinated attack. No element of surprise, pleasant or otherwise. We tell you we suck and where, and then are outraged when we telegraph our moves and you mock them and see them as contrived and clumsy outreach.
I have no beef with the substance of the RNC or the CRNC reports. They complement each other, even if they overlap. As an impetus to a call to action, it’s a prerequisite. It’s the execution that matters. We march in bright red coats in columns. They plan and fight behind trees and rocks.
There needs to be muscular discussions among stakeholders behind closed doors, not letting your message get managed by Politico or MSNBC. If you tell the other side you’re the “stupid party” enough times, they will believe it, and help anyone else who will listen to believe it. Let’s get past the publicly rehashing the obvious. Let’s execute.