Are We Serious About Saving this Country?

Are we serious about all those things we go on about? The entitlement train-wreck? ObamaCare as the end-game of Progressivism? Regulatory asphyxiation? Ever-creeping nanny-statism? Selling our children into bonded labor?

Are we really? . . . The craft of campaigns and campaigning, argument and persuasion are driven by good storytelling and political palm-reading done with dials and polls and robo-calls instead of solid, thoughtful science.

I went to my first T.E.A rally in the early 90′s and I have three young children I worry won’t have the faintest idea why the United States was once considered so exceptional when they grow up. It’s not the 90s, and this isn’t Clinton. We have neither the time nor the luxury to ease ourselves into the new paradigm:

The Republican political class could look at so much else working in Obama’s favor—that candidate’s unique appeal, a broad distaste for Bush, voter anxieties about economic crisis, strategic inconsistencies in McCain’s approach—that few undertook the same self-examination that the electioneering left did in the wake of 2004. But in 2012, a seemingly vulnerable incumbent president’s solid victory will be attributed to tactics, and the other side will surely hustle to catch up. But the innovation terrain in politics has changed over the last eight years, and it will be a lot harder for Republicans to return to parity with their opponents.

“It is a rude awakening,” says Blaise Hazelwood, who served as political director of the Republican National Committee during Bush’s re-election and worked this year as part of Mitt Romney’s targeting team. “There was a false sense of security, a sense that we figured out how to do this microtargeting—we’d figured it out how do to it pretty well—and now there are other things for the party to focus on.”

It was a distasteful way for the President to put it, but voting really is the best “revenge.” Well, I don’t want revenge. But I do want policies that I think will help all Americans and make a better country for my kids. Convincing free citizens to vote — and vote the right way — is the most vital task we have to attain that end. And it’s a task that should be obviously serious enough to warrant the application of real science and creativity on our side.

  1. liberal jim

    When it comes to sex and campaigning it is difficult to oppose arguments for doing it better.  Technique however when it comes to elections can not change the outcome when the electorate is forced to choose between the lesser of two evils.  No matter who wins they end up with policies that will make things worse not better.  The party pros on both sides are not upset by the outcome, no real choice was given, the same con keeps rolling on and ordinary Americans  are sent the bill.  

  2. Douglas

    You’re presuming to save a country that doesn’t want to be “saved”. The majority of voters want to be taken care of.

  3. M1919A4

    removed

  4. Pseudodionysius

    Why are we not getting through? Wrong question. Right question: What matters to most people? Answer: Material possessions, standard of living, quality of life. What’s more, most voters believe that Democrats can enhance their material possessions while Republicans won’t.

    Hegelian dialectical materialism is at the root of Marxism. If you accept the premise, you’ve already lost. Challenge the premise. Economics is not a zero sum game, but if a polity has no interest other than material ones, then even the material ones will disappear until they riot for 6 weeks vacation like the Greeks do.

  5. Palaeologus

    Okay Adam, say I’m serious. Presume that winning elections is extremely important to me, because I believe that political advances & retreats at the margins matter.

    Since I’m so serious I want my party to mail (or send through whichever medium) voting performance “report cards” to potentially sympathetic voters.

    Which party (if any) is more likely to have a natural antipathy to this tactic?

  6. Adam Schaeffer
    C
    Palaeologus: Okay Adam, say I’m serious. Presume that winning elections is extremely important to me, because I believe that political advances & retreats at the margins matter.

    Since I’m so serious I want my party to mail (or send through whichever medium) voting performance “report cards” to potentially sympathetic voters.

    Which party (if any) is more likely to have a natural antipathy to this tactic?

    I get the that Republicans are more likely to find this off-putting. But I don’t care very much about that. What matters is whether it works or not. I’d bet a lot of money that it does in fact work on Republicans too. I wouldn’t tell a campaign to necessarily do it, but an outside group can take any backlash.

    Actually, the thing that makes people angry about this is one of the things that makes it effective . . . people get very upset when they are exposed on things for which they feel shame. They might be very angry at the group that sent it, but do you think that person will be more or less likely to actually vote? Do you think it will change who they vote for?

  7. IowaLutheran

    No.  I’m not serious about saving this country.  It’s beyond saving — at least by us.  Our Lord can certainly do it, but humanly speaking, the “saving” of America is a utopian dream that is now demographically impossible.  I *am* serious about saving my children and their children — and that’s within my calling as a husband and father. What does it profit a man to expend his life for such a utopian dream and forfeit the souls of his children?

  8. Edmund Alexander

    I’m going to add here that  we need to start thinking about a 50 state strategy, and there’s a fairly simple reason for it: social media.  You cannot afford to have voters in CA, NY, and all the other blue states slandering your candidate day in and day out because in the absence of ads, the only narrative is what the media sells.  Living in a blue state with so many blue state friends, there’s no understanding of what conservatives actually stand for.  And these blue state leftists are posting on Facebook and sending tweets seen by their purple state friends.  Everyone is so quick to assume the leftist caricature is true, because they hear nothing to the contrary.

    No one is so isolated today that caaigning in their state is irrelevant.  The world is shrinking and borders are less distinct than they once were. 

  9. Lavaux

    I agree with Rush: America can’t survive the majority of Americans who would vote to give Obama four more years. It’s true. So is what Romney implied: 47% of Americans don’t give a rat’s ass about the welfare of their country – they’re only interested in how much welfare they can get from it.

    This lot own our country now, including her $16 trillion national debt and future entitlement liabilities of over $100 trillion. But they don’t seem to recognize or care that we’re broke as a nation, as an economy, and as a society, so we can count on them to diminish America to a mediocrity indistinguishable from Greece or Belgium. But in the meantime they’ll plunder you as much as you let them, so why let them? You are not responsible for their welfare, only yours and your family’s. So get smart, forget about saving America, and start thinking about saving yourself.

  10. Sisyphus

    Last election cycle I wrote checks for nonlocal candidates for the first time in my life. Obamacare was too tragic a blunder not to take it head on. I wrote those checks to candidates dedicated to a principled campaign to overturn Obamacare and reduce the size of government. Allen West and Marco Rubio spring immediately to mind.

    This election cycle I was hampered by a back condition and stricter financial constraints. I went door to door for Tea Party candidates, which landed me in the hospital for a long weekend. Election day I was voted and in a Republic Victory Center making get out the vote calls at 8 AM. 

    I also started organizing Ricochet soirées, writing a blog that I need to get back to, and serving as a board member on a small local political non-profit. Prior to this, while I followed the issues closely and contributed to the occasional campaign, it never amounted to a week’s pay or a date night with the wife at a political event. (Growing up in DC, it’s like knowing cars if you grew up in Detroit.)

    Lots more energy expended, but it’s a long war.

  11. Lavaux
    Pseudodionysius

    Why are we not getting through? Wrong question. Right question: What matters to most people? Answer: Material possessions, standard of living, quality of life. What’s more, most voters believe that Democrats can enhance their material possessions while Republicans won’t.

    Hegelian dialectical materialism is at the root of Marxism. If you accept the premise, you’ve already lost. Challenge the premise. Economics is not a zero sum game, but if a polity has no interest other than material ones, then even the material ones will disappear until they riot for 6 weeks vacation like the Greeks do. · 2 hours ago

    I don’t accept the premise; they do. The challenge is not to the premise but to the ignorance. How did that pencil get there? The answer amazes and illuminates. The connections that enable strangers to work together are fragile. Too fragile.

    Hegel put humans into the water of history and equated them to fish. Do fish understand that their medium is water? No. How did Marx transcend his medium to find its ultimate end? He was a superman, i.e. not your ordinary fish (lots of German philosophy going on in these references, dontcha know).

  12. Lavaux

    One more thing. We conservatives talk a lot about values, principles, human dignity, liberty etc. These are all important things, perhaps the most important things. But we’re not getting through to enough people to make these most important things matter to the whole country.

    Why are we not getting through? Wrong question. Right question: What matters to most people? Answer: Material possessions, standard of living, quality of life. What’s more, most voters believe that Democrats can enhance their material possessions while Republicans won’t.

    OK, so how do we get through to this lot, the Materialists? By talking about how stuff works exactly as Milton Friedman did. Can you make a pencil from scratch? Me neither. In fact, none of us can, but we can go to Staples and buy a box of 8 for $1.19. How does this happen? How did something that none of us can make by ourselves become ubiquitous, cheap and available to everyone? Everything the Materialists covet and need depends on the answer to this question for its creation. Yet the system that creates everything operates unseen, in the background, as part of the environment everyone takes for granted. We must explain.

  13. Sisyphus
    Pseudodionysius

    Why are we not getting through? Wrong question. Right question: What matters to most people? Answer: Material possessions, standard of living, quality of life. What’s more, most voters believe that Democrats can enhance their material possessions while Republicans won’t.

    Hegelian dialectical materialism is at the root of Marxism. If you accept the premise, you’ve already lost. Challenge the premise. Economics is not a zero sum game, but if a polity has no interest other than material ones, then even the material ones will disappear until they riot for 6 weeks vacation like the Greeks do. · 5 hours ago

    Score! Reagan baffled the Left by effectively appealing on matters of the social and religious fabric of society in defiance of the materialist dialectic, as did JFK at his best (though that was a different political age). To this day the Left must spit and curse like a witless Biden when the Reagan recovery is mentioned. Reagan did more for poor and minorities than any McGovern Democrat.

  14. Drew_Colorado
    Douglas: You’re presuming to save a country that doesn’t want to be “saved”. The majority of voters want to be taken care of. · November 7, 2012 at 2:19pm

    Douglas, I’m not so sure about this. Sure, some in this country will be wards of the state by choice forever. But I’m curious how many people would come around if they are taught to be free. They were, after all, taught to be weak.

    It’s been said that the desire for liberty and self-determination is a  quality we all have in us. I wonder…

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