Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A Rebuilding Year

So yesterday my candidate lost. What am I going to do about it? More importantly, what is the party or movement going to do about it? I think that there are several good answers.

First though, some perspective. The popular vote so far appears to have shifted 4% since the last election. That is all that it took to switch the party affiliation of the President. If it can swing 1% a year for 4 years, it can switch right back. So, in other words, it is a very attainable goal in 2012. Also, consider the 1992 election that brought forth a 1994 redo of Congress. In 2 years, a lot can change in the house.

So, back to my original question. What must be done to to bring Conservatism back to the top?

  1. Remain True to Our Principles
    It is time to stop redefining Conservatism. We have a great mission statement, so let's stick to it. We promote individual freedom through limited government. Is that so hard to follow through on? We can not let power go to our heads and start adding to that. The past administration did a bad job or sticking to it and Congress went right along. Government expanded under Republican control and guess what, the people saw through it.

    If you miss this one, many of the points below become irrelevant.

  2. Switch to the Positive
    This means that it is time for us to update our message. People want to be inspired to do great things, not scared away from evil. The best way that I know how to explain this is through the evolution of church evangelism. In the 50s, the church could have revival's and convert people because they were going to hell. Likewise, voters would vote against the scary Commies blowing us all to... well hell. Now, we have a different evangelism style in the church. We preach on love and forgiveness and grace. We make it attractive, not scared out of your mind. Why do we do this? First off, it is more effective. Second, our culture has shifted this direction. Conservative candidates must make this shift as well in order to stay viable. They must advertise the great strides that can be made rather than using fear-mongering as the chief get out the vote effort.

  3. Quit Whining
    People go with winners. They want someone who acts like a winner. Whining about the media every day is not the action of a winner, but a sore loser. Let's make the best out of what we have rather than complaining about what we don't have.

  4. Redefine the Face of the Movement
    To piggy-back on point number 2, things have changed over the years. Methods used in 1990 are not as effective today. Therefore our inspiring leaders of the past are starting to become hindrances. On the 'conservative' radio station in town, we get 8 hours of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. Let's realize something here. They are not converting many people to the movement. They are in the business to well, have a successful business. That means catering to their clients. They use tactics like point #3. Again, they are not winning people to the movement in any significant way.

    What kind of leader or voice of the movement am I looking for? Someone who inspires people to better themselves, someone who educates people on how they can make their family situation better, and someone who makes the movement attractive and enticing to newcomers.

  5. Walk the Walk (Strict Ethics Control)
    We need to be the movement of the American Family. And frankly, the American Family wants us to be just that We align closely to them on many of the social issues. Now we have to follow it up with upright living.

    We need to take decisive and immediate action to curb ethics problems. This goes from weird perversions to being buddy-buddy with all of the lobbyists. No more shenanigans. With the presidential election still close to 50-50, why are the Senate and House so one-sided? One of the major reasons is that politicians here and there keep getting into scandals. I am frankly proud of people voting against their party to get the scum out of office. We will not regain or hold Congress with a continuing record of somewhat frequent scandal.

  6. Educate
    I don't think that we have a done a good job of educating the general public about the superiority of our ideas and principles. We have facts on our side folks. We have results and prosperity to show for it. Nobody seems to know it though. I do not fault an ignorant voter for voting the other way. I mean ignorant with no condescending tone. A lot of voters just don't have all of the information to make a truly informed decision. We must do better about getting the facts out there.

  7. Keep the Message Simple
    We have to build and maintain a brand that is easy to define and understand. I like a lot of things that Ross Perot has to say for instance, but he bored more people than anyone with his TV specials back in 1992. It was a big joke about his flip charts and such. They may have contained great information, but it was nothing that would become a catchphrase or grab your attention. We have to develop our mission and then simplify it so that it is easy to spread and remember.

  8. Appeal to Young Voters
    For the life of me I don't know why we can't do better here. We are the Keep Government Out of My Business group. This stay out of my business idea is a rallying cry for young people. We need to expand on this effort greatly.

  9. Target Minorities
    That is right, I said it. African-American (AA) and Latin-American (LA) voters are a huge voting block. We have a lot to say to them.

    For the AA group, we have railed against programs that help them more than other groups. We have to shift to instead promote the great opportunity that can be realized by leaving those programs in the dust.

    For the LA group, we have become the "Get out your shotgun and run 'em back across the border" party in many respects. I like in Texas, I see it. We must expand our opportunity of the American Dream to LA voters without threatening them constantly. We must completely redo our immigration / deportation stance. We need to look at the history of immigration and how it has benefited our country. We must deal with the realities of the times and reach out to people.

  10. Become Vocal
    The silent majority is a problematic paradigm. We are getting totally overrun in certain arenas because we just don't stand up for what we believe and voice our opinion. This goes back to #1, #2, and #6. I am not talking about becoming a loud obnoxious group, just one that knows what it stands for and is willing to talk about it.

This is very doable. Let's start right now and see what we can accomplish.

This post can almost be flipped to be a religious discussion now that I read it through. Winning people over to great ideas has a lot of things in common apparently.

Tomorrow I will post my goofy suggestions for how to make the election cycle both simpler and better.


III said...

Well done. I'm gonna have to link you.

I think that you highlighted the major problems from my perspective: that the GOP failed to present a positive enough image for itself or a compelling, positive story-line for it's centerpiece candidate. Joe Biden effectively cut John McCain at the knees when he said, "You can't call yourself a 'Maverick' when all you've been for the last 8 years is a sidekick!" I think that the Dem.'s played a masterful trump card there on the GOP's best attempt a creating a compelling, positive story-line.

And the fact that a GOP White House & 6 years of a GOP Congress DOUBLED the national debt when they came into office with a budget surplus meant that they eroded themselves from within. They became their own worst enemy. As you've said, introspection is needed for the party to go forward.

I look forward to your further reflections.

Dan said...

Great thoughts, Jordan. I am also a bit concerned about the direction of our party. I think this election cycle has really underscored the need to have a "face," as you said. McCain, even with a considerable upside, just wasn't an attractive face for the party. Sad as I think it is, that 4% of voters doesn't vote based on principles, but who the flashiest candidate is.

I think we all should pay attention to Bobby Jindal over here in Louisiana. A Jindal/Obama in 2012 is a very intriguing proposal.

Mad Rappin EW said...

You made a lot of good points here. I completely agree with #1 - my opinion is that Bush changed the party to a war-mongering, big government party. If we simply return to our conservative values like Ron Paul has suggested we would be much better off.

I agree with one of your last points, if Republicans can't reverse the trend of losing the Latin American vote they can't win.

Echoing what Dan said, every election since the television age (1960) was won by the more likeable candidate except Bush Sr. So the bottom line is to have a more likeable, good speaking positive candidate who speaks to the values of both fiscal and social conservatives.

III said...

I do think, with Dan, that Jindal is the future of the party. There will be others who run: Palin, Florida's Charlie Crist, Romney, perhaps even Huckabee again.

Personally, I think that Romney & Palin spoiled their brand this go around. Romney just came off fake to too many people, and doesn't stand up well to the scrutiny of a harsh political campaign at all. Obama would eat his lunch in 2012. And as for Palin, you never get a 2nd chance to make a first impression. To many, she's little more than Dan Quayle, and she will have a hard time overcoming that image now.

Crist will have interesting appeal. He's a very popular governor in a swing state that McCain lost in '08, and that the GOP will need to win in '12. He's earned a reputation of being a tough politician -- since elected governor 2 years ago, he's made his hay standing up to insurance companies here in FL.

I think Huckabee would do well just to transfer his popularity into TV. JMO...

And, above all those, I think Jindal is the clear favorite. He's smart, articulate, exotic (like Obama -- hopefully with some minority appeal), and would make a great spokesperson for GOP values. And recently, he went to Iowa. If I had to put money on one personality today, I'd be putting it on him.

Dan said...

Living in Louisiana, I've seen Jindal's star rise through the years. I remember when I was in high school, and Jindal, he couldn't have been more than 26 or so, fresh from Oxford, was appointed to be president of the University of Louisiana system. There were undergrads that were older than him. But you could tell that he just had that "intangible 'it,'" as Jim Rome says, and that he would be president one day. Hopefully he will wait and fix our problems before he makes a run on Washington. I've been considering trying to get a job in his administration when I graduate from school.

I'm not as familiar with Crist, but I'll pay some attention to him. As for Palin, I'd like for her to go back to Alaska and serve out her term, get some more seasoning. I like her, but I also think a little more experience wouldn't hurt either. I'm also a big Huckabee fan, but I think he'll get pinned as too much of an "aw shucks" country boy to really make it. Unfortunate, because I thought he did a good job as governor in Arkansas.