Friday, December 7, 2012

Breitbart's Rules For Righties

Following Andrew Breitbart's death early this year, I bought his memoir/call to action Righteous Indignation, in which he explains his career and how it serves as a model for conservative behavior. In the interests of effectively pursuing our bitter war on liberals, I thought I would discuss his tactics a bit and how we can follow his example.

Keep in mind, these are activist, in-the-trenches methods, not a coherent ideology. I doubt many people on either side have much idea what Breitbart actually stood for, except that he didn't like liberalism (with good reason, I might add). Nonetheless, he was the best warrior for conservatism we've had in some time, mainly because he was so good at confronting the Left and showing its lies and hypocrisy for all to see. Sadly, Breitbart isn't here to fight our battles anymore, so we have to do it ourselves. With that in mind, here are a few of the ground rules he laid out in his book for battling liberals.

Rule #1: Don't be afraid to go into enemy territory. Heck, it's kind of a requirement. Think the Agents in The Matrix: Liberals hold all the levers of power; they are guarding all the doors; they are holding all the keys. They control academia, the media, the unions, one of the major parties, etc. We have a few institutions on our side--Fox News, talk radio, and...that's about it. You want to reach more people with conservative ideas, you have to engage the Left on its own ground. Our message won't get out otherwise. You don't think I'm in grad school for my health, do you? There's got to be more conservative professors and other opinion-shapers.

Rule #2: Expose liberals for who they are--in their own words. Fortunately, the advance of technology (much as I sometimes hate it) makes this easier all the time. Today, we have Twitter, the ability to record things with our phones, enormous "paper trails" to dig through on the Internet--all sorts of ways for the Left to inadvertently reveal its true nature and for us to get it on the record. Use them.

Rule #3: Be open about your secrets. As part of a religion whose pastors are periodically caught with young girls (or sometimes boys), I place special stress on this rule. If you're going to say X is wrong and take a big stand on it, either make sure you're not guilty of X, or admit that you are up front. And then never do it again. Your opponents will find out, and people don't like hypocrisy, so if you're honest about the skeletons in your closet, that deprives them of one of their biggest rhetorical weapons.

Rule #4: Don't let the Left shape the narrative. Breitbart himself was a master at this. As everyone knows, liberals' favorite line of attack is to call conservatives racists/sexists/homophobic. Don't--do not--get defensive and start trying to prove that you're not in those categories. That's just playing their game (see also: Todd Akin). Dismiss the charges out of hand, simultaneously accuse the Left of using red herrings and lowering the tone of debate, and move on with the argument before they can recover.

Rule #5: Control your own story, don't let the Left do it. Again, something Breitbart did to perfection, as the famous O'Keefe videos proved. If you have something good on the Left, don't release it all at once. Instead, release a little bit to begin with, then let the liberals make up whatever kind of narrative they want, saying it's a lie or an isolated event--give them enough rope to hang themselves. Then, let more of it go and catch them in their own words.

Rule #6: Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. Mock their sacred cows. As Breitbart puts it, "Tina Fey, not the MSM, sullied Sarah Palin's image." If level-headed arguments aren't winning the fight against liberals, use public ridicule. Bust up Pelosi and Reid's press conferences, infiltrate Letterman's or Maher's audiences of trained seals--whatever works to make them look foolish. It's cathartic--well, it is to me, at least--and it might force the other side to take things a little more seriously.

There are more of Breitbart's rules I could add with more space, but I'll end with one of my own: Do. Not. Play. Fair. The Left doesn't believe in showing any mercy, so we should show them none as well. Personally, I would rather win my arguments with reason and calmness. But if those aren't working--and they apparently aren't--I have no problem going with mockery and bomb-throwing. Like I said, it feels good.

Anyhoo, those are some rules for combating liberals. Any suggestions?


Commander Max said...

I'll second "Do. Not. Play. Fair." After all if you fight honorably, but your opponent doesn't.

You get your butt kicked, but hey you feel better because you fought fair(as you lay in the hospital bed, wait till the drugs wear off).

AndrewPrice said...

Excellent article, Mr. Rav. I agree. Though, let me point out a couple things to consider.

First, never forget that war (and this is war) is a total pursuit. So we should be attacking on all fronts, not just one at a time. So please nobody say, "but we can't give up reasoned debate." Seriously, just because you do one thing doesn't mean you need to stop everything else.

Secondly, what Andrew B. mentions here is not for everyone. This really is for people who have a feel for it. Someone like a John McCain, for example, would get his butt handed to him if he tried any of this. Humans specialize their skills for a reason.

Third, NEVER PLAY FAIR... there is no "fair" in politics. There is only "helps you more than hurts you." Conservatives really need to learn this. They are too darn honest in the sense that they simply refuse to understand that you can very selective in what you tell people.

T-Rav said...

Max, that's about the size of it. We've been trying too hard to be honorable and showing that "hey, we care about all these liberal things too!" And November 2012 is the result. The Democrats are going to bring a gun to a knife fight, so we might as well bring another gun, at the very least. (I personally would prefer bringing a rocket launcher, but hey.)

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I forget who it was that compared politics to war and said, "In politics, there are no peaces, only truces." It really is a near-perpetual state of war, and a lot of people would do well to keep that in mind.

And I agree that not everyone's going to be good at these tactics; I think they're really oriented for the front-line troops. The bloggers, the Twitter users, the grassroots activists--people like that in particular. That said, certain leftist tactics, such as smearing any Republican opponent with the racism attack, are so ubiquitous I feel the solution offered by Breitbart really is universally applicable, or at least close to it.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I agree with that. The Republicans need to learn to never speak kindly of the Democrats. No matter what they've done, you always accuse them of bad faith, of some form of intolerance, of interfering, and of standing in the way of the things you want to do... every single time.

El Gordo said...

Just one example. We all remember how the Dems voted for the Iraq war and then played politics with it, undermining it for political gain all through the Bush years.

After this had been going on for a while, a GOP politican (I cannot remember who) suggested that the Dems were not behaving like patriots. Do any of you remember this?

There was a shitstorm of indignation. Questioning someones patriotism was totally out of line! The scandal was not the behavior of the Dems, but calling it what it was.

It got to the point where the Dems were so invested in our failure that a ranking house member could say that success in Iraq "would be very bad for us". But the GOP made no hay from it. They retreated and ceded the ground, as they always do now.

Of course, ever since 2008 or so, leading Dems have called their opponents unpatriotic again and again. Note I´m not talking about bloggers, but about the leadership. Elected politicians. Unsurprisingly, this is treated as totally normal. The GOP winces and keeps ceding the ground.

Breitbart knew how to handle such occasions. We can learn from him. Righteous indignation is a great tool and the Dems never suffered for using it excessively. But unless the GOP as an institution learns their lesson - and what are the chances for that? - they are useless as a vehicle for conservative ideas. Worse, they also stink as a political party. They are not "moderate" or "bipartisan", they are just lousy politicians.

Mr_Severus_Snape said...

Great article, Mr.T! It made me miss Breitbart even more! He fought very hard to make Conservatism cool again. If he was still alive, maybe Romney would've won, we just don't know. When I first read about his passing, it felt like a close friend of mine died.

I pretty much mastered rule #1. I live in the Bay Area, afterall! Where the liberal trifecta of SF, Oakland, and Berkeley is. If that isn't enemy territory, I don't know what is.

Same thing with 3. Thanks to my self-deprecating nature.

I have to admit, I need to really work on the rest. I'm usually quiet when it comes to politics, IRL. I just want to avoid hostility as much as possible. I have family and friends, who has differing views than I do. I guess I'm part of the problem...

Patriot said...

T-Rav......I was shocked when I heard Breitbart died. As a dedicated conspiracy theorists, I immediateky thought the worst. What I loved about him was his unabashed bravery in confronting the leftists wherever they were. ACORN, Weiner, CBC "racists", etc..

Along with your list, especially #'s 4 and 5: Rule #4: Don't let the Left shape the narrative.
Rule #5: Control your own story, don't let the Left do it.
I would add 'Patriot's Rule': Use extreme examples to shape the narrative. Start putting the left on the defensive for once. Example: Using 'Obamapho' lady as the voice and example of the left's voter bloc, and Anthony Weiner as the morally bankrupt model of the libs/dems politician. Constantly claim, "this is what the left has become. This is who the left targets for votes." No, it's not "fair" and it's not really true, but we need to have people start questioning the whole leftist mindset and approach, and have them begin thinking "That's not what I want to become or behave."

Then we start winning the hearts and minds of this country once more.

Great points. BB was gone too soon.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

Re: #4, I laughed when I read an interview with Breitbart (who was very gay-friendly) where he said that, in the same breath, the people who would label him homophobic also had no problem calling him a fag. Hey idiots, which one is he - he can't be both!

And while I did disagree with some of his methods, I'm the first one to label him brave for going on Bill Maher's show. I imagine many on the right would scoff at the thought.

Re: #6 - I'm biased because I'm a fan but Fey was doing her job as a comedian and satirist. The media took her impression and cranked it up to 11. Whenever the media would do a Palin story, they'd always stop to mention Fey and show clips from SNL.

I don't think Fey deserves every last bit of acclaim she gets and yes, she most likely received certain awards, praise, etc. because of her impression, but she no more sullied Palin's image than Carvey sullied Bush's image, or Hartman sullied Clinton's image.

BevfromNYC said...

But Scott - Neither were Carvey's impression nor Hartman's nor Dan Ackroyd's Carter nor Chevy Chase's famous impression of Gerald Ford ever get "confused" with reality as Tina Fey's famous "I can see Russia from my House" line has become. Carvey, Hartman, Ackroyd, and Chase made fun and political hay out of actual statements that their impressionees DID say.

Fey's famous line has incorrectly been attributed to Palin and rallying cry by liberals of how stupid Palin was/is and worthy of being degraded and maligned by the liberal media. The fact that Palin never said it does not mean anything.

Big difference and why she was rewarded so handsomely for creating a very effective propaganda piece.

tryanmax said...

What makes Republicans and conservatives such lousy tacticians--and I divine this from my connections to and interactions with people in politics--is that they regard any tactics as "bad" if a Democrat or a liberal uses them. Tactics are tools, they are not "good" or "bad." They merely facilitate the ends of the user.

Under the Republican approach, they wouldn't use a bucket to douse a fire if the same (or any) bucket had been previously used to pour the gasoline. You see this happen rhetorically all the time. Republicans/conservatives abandon words and phrases once Democrats/liberals start using them. Mark me, the word "Forward"--Obama's campaign slogan--will be taboo on the right. If anyone from the right tries to use it, they will derided for "sounding just like a Democrat/liberal."

Anonymous said...

Bev -

You're right. I was even at a party where someone said, "Can you believe Palin said she could see Russia from her house?!" I'm not even a Palin fan but I did have to bite my tongue for a second!

I do agree with you but at the same time, some of Palin's, uh, more hardcore supporters would no doubt have been upset by anyone making fun of her in any way, shape, or form.

But as I said, the media were the ones who did the attribution.

Anonymous said...

tryanmax -

Not just "forward" but "hope" and "change" as well.

Anonymous said...

First of all, thanks, Andrew, mentioning #2, and #3. The only problem is a matter of how many people are willing to undergo the neccessary effort to tke those points.

I would also add, use official sources. Why? because official sources such as the CBO can show some kinds of common mythology for what they are, such as this one writer who a long time ago, beat me to the punch of questioning the budget surplus claim.

Not only does this Craig Steiner write about it, he even encourages in Part II to simply go check out the entries that he cited for him or her self.

Either way, the problem isn't him, or myself, or plenty of the commenters here, it's more of a question as to how many actually bother going to the lengths that Steiner goes, at least on the surplus myth, anyways.

BevfromNYC said...

Yes, Scott, just like Obama's, uh, more hardcore supports feel like when Obama is lampooned by SNL or any other comedian. Oh, wait, Obama isn't lampooned by SNL or other comedians. As a matter of fact, this is one of the few times in history that comedians HAVEN'T lampooned a sitting President.

Anonymous said...

Bev -

On this one, believe it or not we're on the same page.

I honestly wish SNL would do much more with Obama (which would imply that they'd have to do something in the first place). Even my hardcore left-leaning friends agree the show's political satire is a pale imitation of what it once was.

And you know what I hate more than outright bias? A missed opportunity!

I don't follow comedians a whole lot, at least not political ones, but yeah, there's much to be done and no one doing it.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, I'm all in favor of that. Crank it up so high the people constantly crying about partisanship and gridlock in government have a nervous breakdown.

T-Rav said...

El Gordo, you could use that, or the example of No Child Left Behind. That legislation wasn't originally Bush's baby, it was Ted Kennedy's. Dubya gave him and the Dems 95 percent of what they wanted with that Act, and just how grateful were they? (The answer is none.)

As for Iraq, I kinda wish the GOP had come right out and questioned their patriotism. If they were going to call us "chickenhawks" and such anyway, and they were, then we should have made them own certain bombthrowers of theirs, like the professor who wished for "a million Mogadishus" and such.

I wish the party was more disciplined. The leadership ought to pick a certain outrageous thing some Democrat said or did that can clearly get traction with the public, and then have every GOPer facing the cameras beat that drum for all they're worth. Something to put the libs on the defensive.

tryanmax said...

Scott, I hesitate to start a list of taboo words b/c it would explode! LOL! I only really noticed the phenomenon when I first decided on Romney but my some of my friends were still thinking Newt. They kept quoting something Romney had said about "everyone paying their fair share" and arguing that it was something Obama would say.

I guess I really got their goat when I countered, "who shouldn't be paying a fair share?" My friends sputtered back that everyone should pay a fair share, but that Romney sounds just like Obama! Clearly my point had been made that the actual words fall second to what is meant by them, but my friends couldn't tear themselves away from the idea that Romney and Obama were using the same phrases.

T-Rav said...

Thank you, Mr. Snape! :-) I know, that was how I felt about Breitbart's death too. I just couldn't believe it. If he'd been here and running his right-wing media machine throughout the campaign--I don't know, it might not have changed the outcome, but you never can tell.

My sympathies on your location. I hear the climate's lovely out there, but for me, that wouldn't be enough. :-/

Just to clarify, I don't mean to say you're a half-hearted conservative if you're not doing all these things. As Andrew pointed out above, this works for some people more than for others, and in real life, I think everyone can appreciate how hard this sometimes is. If you ever do get into a political debate, though, keep these rules in mind.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, Gordo, I have a simple, easy to remember formula for the GOP leadership and the conservative media: ABCD, Always Be Criticizing Democrats!

And the best part is, Democrats can't swipe that one, because ABCR just sounds stupid.

T-Rav said...

Patriot, if they're going to associate us with David Duke, Bain Capital, and every other boogeyman they can think of, it's more than fair for us to return the favor. Personally, I would show off that Obamaphone lady in particular, to show how much liberalism really is nothing more than getting free stuff for the "right" people.

Indeed, Breitbart left us too soon. I can't help but think about how things might have gone differently were he still here.

T-Rav said...

Scott, all I have to say about that is, never underestimate the extent to which liberals can warp logic. I'm pretty sure they sometimes think that the only reason people oppose homosexuality is they're secretly gay themselves. I still haven't figured that one out.

If I ever saw Bill Maher, much less went on his show, I think I would have a hard time not decking him. So yeah, kudos to Breitbart.

On Fey, don't misunderstand me--I'm not saying comedians shouldn't mock politicians, and I don't think Breitbart was either. His point was that ridicule, when used effectively, can be a devastating weapon, by either side. Whether or not Fey or the SNL crew had Palin's character assassination in mind when those skits began, they did the job. We shouldn't try to eliminate it, but we should start fighting fire with fire.

rlaWTX said...

you are a brave soul, T-Rav, braving grad school and academia for the Cause!

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

And that's why I agree with Bev. As a regular SNL viewer (sadly, if I laugh once, I consider it a good show!), I can safely say the political satire has gone completely downhill and that partly has to do with the fact that, 95% of the time, they only pick on one side.

(Believe it or not, one of the highlights of recent years was Ben Affleck's impression of Keith Olbermann, which apparently pissed him off!)

Taking the Obama impression away from Fred Armisen was a good start. He's talented but his Obama was always too low-key and the straight man to the shenanigans around him; he was rarely if ever the butt of the joke.

Andrew and I talked about this at length once. I recently watched some political debate sketches from the 90s on Netflix - funny stuff! Sadly, not so much today.

T-Rav said...

Bev and Scott, I can't count the number of people I know--not all of them liberals--who were convinced that Palin, not Fey, was the one who said those words. I had to disabuse several of them, but even afterwards, they remained highly suspicious of Palin's intelligence. So yeah, episodes like this definitely matter, as far as the public mindset is concerned.

Incidentally, Breitbart in his book set this example alongside those of Jon Stewart vs. Bush and Chevy Chase vs. Gerald Ford. He didn't believe this was the only example, either.

T-Rav said...

Also, this: There's blame to go around on both sides. There are (or were, at least) a good number of hard-core Palin supporters at RedState and other blogs, who absolutely refused to admit any kind of mistake or possible lack of qualification on her part, and any criticism of her was a sign of being a RINO at best, but more likely a liberal. That got annoying pretty fast.

But, this situation would never have arisen if the media hadn't pulled out all the stops in demonizing her. They made it clear that it wasn't in good fun; I don't remember what Fey personally said about Palin, but I do know that Julianne Moore, who played her in the recent Game Change, repeatedly badmouthed her during the publicity tour. (For the record, showing a public and total lack of sympathy for your character doesn't say much for your ability to portray her--just saying.) I don't think there's any denying that there was an agenda among the media, extending to the entertainment business, to destroy her reputation, which no doubt accounts for some of the hypersensitity among her supporters.

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, my response to those people would be, "Do you want to win by adopting Democratic tactics or by adopting Democratic policies?" (I bet I know what the answer of some people in the Beltway would be, but I digress.) That's exactly it; the Left didn't win by changing the politics, they won by taking control of everything that has a bearing on politics. That's what we have to combat to start winning elections again.

Anonymous said...

T-Rav -

Fey said a few mildly unkind things at one point ("If she's VP, I'm moving to another planet" - stuff like that) but for the most part, she didn't do much, and since the 2008 election, to my knowledge she hasn't said anything.

And I agree re: the media. "Pulled out all the stops" indeed! It's weird - at least from my POV, they despised her yet treated her like a celebrity. It's a bizarre dichotomy at work.

Anonymous said...

^Of course, we've seen how the media treats celebrities when they go off the reservation, politically or otherwise.

T-Rav said...

obiwan, here's your link: LINK

Personally, I always try and use official sources when I can. It infuriates the liberals I challenge to no end--especially when those come straight from the Obama administration.

T-Rav said...

Thanks rla! It's infuriating much of the time, but hey--the prospect of maybe preventing some future youths from following the wayward path of liberalism warms my cold heart. :-)

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Conservatives really need to come to grips with reality. They live in this world where they worship a "civilized age" that never was. It's all rose-colored glassed. Politics has been bloodsport since the first caveman promised more fire than his opponent who wants to see your children starve.... yet, the Republicans act like politics is about good faith reasoned debate. They need to learn that there is no fair, there is no right and wrong in politics -- there is only winning tactic and losing tactic.

And you are absolutely right that once liberals infest a word, Republicans run away from it and leave it to the left to occupy the word. That's crap. They need to learn to fight back and to steal liberal rhetoric.

You know what's "fair"? Cutting regulation so those crony bastards can't stop small business from growing. That's "fair." You know what else is "fair"? Making sure everyone pays their "fair share" through a totally "equal" flat tax. Stop running... start fighting.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Bev, et. al., Let's be honest. The jokes about Palin would not have stuck if she didn't come across as a retard. She made herself into a laughing stock with a series of just stunningly ignorant answers. And that opened the door to the people believing what Fey had done. If SNL tried to portray Paul Ryan as stupid, people would be scratching their heads and then blow it off. Palin made it possible.

That said, Scott, you are wrong. Fey is definitely a political animal, as are all the SNL people and they target only one side. If you want proof, look at how they ignore Biden and how they use kid gloves on Obama. They know what they are doing.

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, I like it. ABCD. Easy to remember.

Although, who are we kidding? Democrats have never let stupidity stop them.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

I maintain there's a difference between what the SNL people do and what someone like Bill Maher does, whose stock in trade is politics. Yes, SNL's problem is that it's one-sided, but whether every cast member brings their own bias to the table (some are more political than others) or it's a directive from Lorne or the parent company is not for me to say.

They don't totally ignore Biden - they tend to portray him as the idiot uncle we all have - but yes, there's much more they can do. But as I said to T-Rav, the satire just sucks and I can't recall the last time they did anything with Obama.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, The one-sidedness is the problem. Consider religion. If I ran a show and I spent every week poking fun at Jews in very nasty ways, but almost never touched Catholics or fundamentalists -- and when I did it was very gentle.... how long would it take you to conclude that I'm an anti-Semite? And would you accept, "well, he's just a satirist, that's his job" as a counter argument to the pattern you see so clearly?

K said...

Well done T-Rav.

I keep wondering, where are the conservative activists? 500 dedicated and trained people who aren't afraid to get arrested and spat upon could change quite a bit. As has been demonstrated with the initial civil rights movement, when the entire deck is stacked against you, non violent civil disobedience is the answer. Heck, if it were up to me I'd use the same terms as the "Occupy" movement because it would jam the reaction machine.

Occupy CNN and NBC et al headquarters to demand 50 percent representation of conservative reporters/news writers. Diversity is good!

Occupy the Chancellor's office at the top 10 universities to demand 50 percent conservative professors - especially in the humanities and law.

and so forth.

Anonymous said...

Andrew -

Point taken.

I had a comment about your show being written by Jews but I couldn't find a place for the joke to land. I'll file it for later. :-)

tryanmax said...

Occupy CNN and NBC et al headquarters to demand 50 percent representation of conservative reporters/news writers. Diversity is good!

Gawd, I love that idea!

Anthony said...

Interesting article. Its not exactly a rule, but I will note that liberals tend to show their @ss when dealing with minority conservatives.

Tim Scott wasn't on anyone's radar his first two years, but given that he is the last black Republican, I expect lots of ugly things will be said about him in the near future (whether or not he gets the rumored boost to the Senate).

Such attacks would hurt liberals because Tim Scott isn't (to the best of my limited knowledge of him) a bomb thrower, so it won't be seen as mutual sniping, but an unprovoked attack.

Ed said...

Nice article.

I think this is all part of a big picture. We need to fight on every front and in every way. The idea that conservatives can rely on a single politician or a couple politicians to save is wrong.

Anthony said...

K said...
Well done T-Rav.

I keep wondering, where are the conservative activists? 500 dedicated and trained people who aren't afraid to get arrested and spat upon could change quite a bit. As has been demonstrated with the initial civil rights movement, when the entire deck is stacked against you, non violent civil disobedience is the answer.
Its worth bearing in mind its not nonviolent protests by small groups that bring about change, its the violent reaction to them and the widespread revulsion the reaction causes when it is televised.

In the modern US cops and security guards are very good and very professional about dealing with non-violent and even violent protests.

T-Rav said...

Scott, in my opinion SNL hasn't been all that funny since the Chris Farley/David Spade era, and lost it altogether after Fey's and Jimmy Fallon's departure.

Fred Armisen did just okay with the Obama impressions. Like you said, they never really made fun of him directly, and they should have.

I did see the Ben Affleck impersonation of Olbermann. That may well be the greatest thing Affleck has ever done--"Miss Precious Perfect!" :-D

T-Rav said...

Andrew, one quibble about your reply to Scott--SNL has made fun of Biden, and repeatedly. They've had lots of skits with Jason Sudeikis portraying the VP as a crazy old man. (Which makes sense: one buffoon playing another.)

Not that that subtracts from the main point. By ridiculing some of the people around him, they make Obama look better and get to claim that they're ridiculing both sides, when really, they're not.

T-Rav said...

K, not a bad idea. Of course, I am not a fan of affirmative action when it comes to ideology any more than when it concerns race or gender. But then, it's not really about results, is it? It's about impressing on the public that academia and the media are one-sided and can not be trusted.

Besides, if they say it's a bad idea to attack the guy with a microphone, I guess the only option is to steal the microphone.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Let me clarify what I meant. When they go after Biden, it's humorous. They present him as "man he says some funny, crazy stuff sometimes." It's good-natured and harmless... it's like "stuff my crazy family says."

When they go after a Palin (or some other Republican) it's venomous. It's "look at this hateful, hypocritical retard." There is nothing good-natured.

It was the same thing with Clinton. When they made fun of Clinton in the 1990s, they did it by poking fun at the things that people actually admire (though we claim we don't) -- his being a rogue, his sexual trysts, his ability to win the public over with charm while saying truly cynical things. When they went after Reagan it was for being a crazy old hateful bastard. When they went after Bush II it was for being a retarded crony.

See the difference?

T-Rav said...

Anthony, that they do. I've heard of a lot of cases where as soon as a black Republican shows himself, then all kinds of epithets like "Uncle Tom" and "house n***er" are suddenly permissible again. Look at the SEIU's assault on Ken Gladney, or the rhetoric launched at Condi Rice.

I haven't heard much out of Tim Scott either, but he seems to be a solid guy. That said, if he replaces DeMint in the Senate and the Democrats can find any opening against him, they will exploit it for all they're worth. So he'd better be ready.

El Gordo said...

Andrew, the "giving up on words" goes to the heart of the matter. Yes, let´s talk about fairness, blue collar concerns, state´s rights, equality - but our way.

There is another issue that screams to be taken back. If the GOP had any politicians, they would become fighters for civil rights. The real kind that´s about your liberty and property. And make sure to use those words a lot: CIVIL RIGHTS. CIVIL LIBERTIES.

People may love their "benefits", but nobody loves an overbearing government. Overregulation of the economy is just another aspect. Abuses of eminent domain, the militarisation of police, surveillance and privacy concerns, the unwanted fallout from the wars on drugs and terror, indoctrination in schools, prison rape ... it´s all of a piece, isn´t it? None of them are in the least conservative but I´m sure most people associate them more with us than with the plutocrats who run the Democrat Party today.

We also need to present gun rights and voter ID as civil rights issues. It´s all connected, man!

Republicans should have raised hell about the victimization of working joes for the sake of a goddamn small fish. The speeches write themselves. It´s good politics, good marketing and the right thing to do. But they really didn´t. They can´t say goddamn.

This will not win an election by itself but it will change the narrative in a way that is very dangerous for the Dems. Here is a golden opportunity to change perceptions and align yourself with the "little guy". And the Dems could never outflank you because they are the party of government and they already have a bad legacy.

To quote Alice Cooper: "This ain't Russia! You ain't my dad or mother." There´s your campaign song. We´ll get Alice and Dave Mustaine up there on stage at the convention. It´ll be awesome.

T-Rav said...

Ed, exactly. As a lot of people have been pointing out, it's not about the politics, it's about the culture and the general atmosphere of public opinion. Reagan was great, but he's been gone for a long time and he didn't keep us from falling into this mess. We have to rely on ourselves to change things.

T-Rav said...

Andrew, that's what I'm saying. Their "jabs" at their own side aren't really jabs at all, but they seem close enough that they can cast themselves as impartial.

Honestly, someone like Jon Stewart is much better in this regard than SNL could be. I don't care for his show in general, but he has taken it to the Left in cases of especially blatant hypocrisy.

Tennessee Jed said...

sometimes I feel a little guilty no longer supporting the bigs. But just as Romney's on the ground team screwed up the tech phones, They switched from Intense Debate to some god awful system I tried 4 times to sign up for, and never could. Maybe there is a lesson. I may be a geezer, but I ain't dead yet, and am a boomer so there are enough us to still warrant some attention from business and politicians alike.

In all seriousness, can't say enough good thing about Breitbart.

El Gordo said...

Tennessee Jed, glad I´m not the only one ... Intense Debate felt much better.

StanH said...

To me the number one bad habit of Republicans is the circular firing squad. When someone or an organization on our side says or does something stupid, everyone runs from this person or group and throws them to the wolves. One of the best examples was how the RNC dealt with the Tea Party, leaving myths to be perpetrated, with zero defense, was beyond stupid. With the same circumstance on the left, they coalesce and raise the person or organization to hero status. We must look to the great Reagan in his wisdom he stated too paraphrase, “someone who agrees with me 80% of the time is an ally.” Instead each disparate group on the “conservative” side has it’s own purity test. The turbo Christians can’t vote for a Mormon, or abortion. All Libertarians are dope smokers, a myth, we must run them off. Conservative won’t vote for Romney, because he’s a liberal. Moderates (I hate that word) will vote democrat because far right “wingnuts,” …etc. And that’s just our own team. We allow the left to set the narrative…stupid.

Once we get beyond friendly fire, then the lies of the left, the true enemy must be overcome. Republicans/The Tea Party are racist, Republicans hate women, Republicans hate the poor, Republicans want grandma to die, tax cuts for the rich, we sit around reading the Bible, 24/7, and believe the world is 7500 years old. We all know the rattle. This must change. Real cool is found in freedom, not government servitude. Baby’s are cool, children are cool, they make life complete. I don’t like abortion but it’s the law of the land, except it. When Romney made his 47% comment , everyone ran for the tall grass and allowed the democrats and their stenographers, the press pound him for two weeks. Instead of using the moment for education, separate the elderly, veterans, truly disabled, and call the rest, what they are “BUMS!” Humiliate the SOB’s and maybe get 10% off the couch. We must also remember there is no negotiation with a ‘60s radical or their spawn, their only rule is there are no rules, those are for the other people. They must be utterly defeated.

Andrew Breitbart was a master at this. He understood the safety in numbers, while building a coalition to defeat liberals. Let us not forget, he was thrown under the bus with the Shirley Sherrod incident, where he was in the right, but the left started their racist screed, and dutifully the right obliged with a firing squad. Andrew was however nimble enough to avoid being crushed by our own team. He is indeed missed.

AndrewPrice said...

El Gordo and Jed, I am considering switching to Intense Debate. I just need to figure out if they've solved the issue with missing comments.

El Gordo, EXACTLY! We should be using word like Civil Rights all the time, only we should be using them in the way we want... to back up our idea. It's stupid to cede these ideas to the left. I wish more people on the right understood that. Words are powerful and if you let the other guy frame the debate and choose his own words and your words, you will lose every time.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Exactly. They "attack" their own side in ways which are endearing and then they use those to claim they are impartial, when the reality is they are brutal to our side.

StanH said...

Oh yeah, a real big point, they are the man now. “We gotta stick it to the man!” In the spirit of the ‘60s and ‘70s. This appeals to the youth.

T-Rav said...

Jed, if I remember correctly, the Big sites were in the midst of their change when Breitbart died. That may account for some of the ways things turned out. All I know is, I don't like their Disqus system, and I haven't commented there in a long time.

For the record, I'm not crazy about Intense Debate either. I didn't like how they limited the comment length.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I'm not thrilled with it, but people seem to want to be able to reply directly to someone. I'm just not sure there is a better system out there for that.

T-Rav said...

Stan, it truly amazes me how in the weeks since the election, people like David Frum and others who are universally acknowledged as RINOs have been blasting away at Tea Partiers for not voting for Romney (which they did), or at Romney for not moving to the center (after they supported him during the primary as a centrist). That East Coast/Beltway elite, more than any other group, has been the most troublesome part of the GOP for as far back as anyone can remember; and their control of so many purse strings (and the fact that they're the Republicans who get to appear on MSNBC) makes it very difficult to get rid of them. It was people like that who slammed AB over the Sherrod video, and before we can move forward, they need to be told to "put up or shut up."

AndrewPrice said...

As a related aside, I've been talking with someone today and we're strongly considering dropping the conservative label and calling ourselves centrists. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I'm curious to hear people's thoughts on that?

EricP said...

Nice Breitbart timing with my finally getting to start watching "Occupy Unmasked" last night. As much as I'm sick of our side continually making little more than documentaries, ignoring the need for narrative films in order to more effectively steer the narrative, I do love me those Citizens United-produced docs. Andrew in usual form in taking the fight to and his exposure of the looney left, too, and if there's one thing I miss him for the most, it's his 100% understanding of how we need to influence the culture before we'll make any strides in changing minds. RIP, Andrew. Like ScottDS, I didn't always agree with AB's individual methods, but never argued with his ultimate MO. T'was an honor to share a Tea Party bill with him in Pasadena, one of his first if memory serves correctly.

To SNL and their "wouldn't touch him with a 100-foot pole" treatment of the President, the hell with them. No doubt Armisen's "imitation" sucked, almost in direct relation to how the cast enjoys their fellatio-style relationship with the President, but when you have one of the greatest impressionists of recent years in Jay Pharaoh striking out, you're useless as satirists. On the other hand -- and network -- I have to give full props to Key & Peele's handling of the White House landscape. Sure, I don't always agree with the message they're sending via "Obama's Angry Interpreter," but any comedy team who will skewer Obama's college years ( -- sorry, I don't know how to properly link URLs here) has my respect.

To Carvey and Hartman's impressions, the reason why I think they worked, and continue to be funny, is that there was far less of a mean-spiritedness behind the characters. Now where's that Clinton in McDonald's sketch with Tom Arnold ...?

EricP said...

Love the centrists labels, Andrew. A) Appealing packaging for someone who considers themselves "middle of the road," on either side of the aisle, and B) Nice contrast with the Statists the left actually are.

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, Thanks. It's not actually my idea -- I've been talking to some people. I like the idea a lot. I think it would help us (1) shed the negativity that's been attached to the conservative label and gives us a fresh start, (2) make moderates and squishy-middle types happier, (3) allows us to claim the common sense middle, and (4) eliminates this idea that our ideology is about being staid and looking to the past.

I wonder though, how conservatives will react since normally people claiming "the middle" are really left/center-left. I wonder if some conservatives would be willing to give up the things they've jammed into the conservative label?

T-Rav said...

How do I feel about the "centrist" label? Um...not very positive, let's put it that way. And more importantly, no one else is going to do it, so to my mind, it's kind of pointless.

T-Rav said...

Eric, as far as the impressions are concerned, I think that's a large part of it. Carvey and Hartman were never mean-spirited (as far as I remember) with theirs; it just came off as general buffoonery most of the time. Honestly, though, I've never been a huge fan of any of the full-time impressionists. Their shtick just doesn't do it for me.

tryanmax said...

My opinion of taking on a centrist label is that it's got to start somewhere. The conservative movement keeps moving further and further right and taking the word with it. I've said pretty consistently that my impression of conservatism is that it is a centrist philosophy. But if that is not how the word is perceived, then it does me no good to call myself a conservative any longer.

People who share the similar principles to mine will have to decide on their own whether to get lumped in with the right-wing or go their own way. I suspect that the "middle" is dominated by left-leaners b/c the Democrat party went whack-a-do first. Now the GOP is going whack-a-do. Both parties are constantly trying to woo the middle. Let them woo us for a change.

T-Rav said...

tryanmax, there is that aspect to it. But I think this kind of semantic change would only cause confusion, and not do us any good. Besides, if we're not proud to call ourselves conservatives, what's the point?

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, I don't think pride is a good thing in politics. Pride blinds you to problems because it makes you overlook things to save your pride.

I think that a rhetorical surge back into the center would be a great idea. Americans are not extremists because they aren't political -- they like to think of themselves as practical and (sadly) part of the herd and they don't want to think about the government. Having a moderate sounding government fits that perfectly. So I think that the more we can do to claim the center rhetorically and shove the Democrats back to the extreme, the better. I would not be surprised at all talking about being centrist would swing 5% of the public.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, While the Democrats indeed went whack-a-do, they were at least smart to keep talking like they were centrists. In fact, that is all they talk about in public. Our party, which ironically is much more centrist in policy, is the one that keeps demanding harsher and harsher rhetoric. Our primaries are basically an "I'm so extreme" contest.

tryanmax said...

T-Rav, as much as people resist it, words change meaning all the time. The GOP insists on calling itself conservative while at the same time the GOP keeps drifting further to the right. As a result, "conservative" means something a little bit different with each passing year.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, That's true, the word has really drifted meaning-wise since I was born. A conservative today is nothing like a conservative under Reagan.

I would also argue that, frankly, the word conservative is a bad one. It implies "opposed to change" and comes across as "stodgy." By comparison, progressive means to move forward. Liberal mean to be generous. We really picked the wrong word.

I'm not sure that Centrist is the best word, but I would love something that means more "freedom" and "improvement."

T-Rav said...

Andrew and tryanmax, that's lovely, but the answer to that is to use appealing language, not to disown the word "conservative" as if we were ashamed of it. If our policies are milquetoast and our rhetoric is extreme, one could just as well argue for making the policies more extreme, rather than making the rhetoric milquetoast as well. I'm sorry, but this is exactly the wrong step to take.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, When your appeal is already too narrow to win, how does it make sense to narrow your appeal even further?

And how about the third option, move your policies to the right and your rhetoric to the left.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Excellent post, T-Rav!

Breitbart was and still is an inspiration to anyone who values thinking for themselves.
And he was fearless and wise about it.

Andrew, how about the American Party? Conservatives used to be called classical liberals before leftists ruined that word.

We value tried n' true wisdom (classical/conservative) and we also value creativity and individual accomplishments; American success stories.

We want folks to have the liberty they need to have the opportunities to do what they feel they are destined to do, be it a cop, doctor, fireman, CEO, business owner, writer, singer, sailor...whatever.

We want Americans to get a hand up when they need it...not a handout ad infinitum (except for the severely disabled of course).

We care about the future of our children and grandchildren and we certainly don't wanna burden them with the crushing debts that yesterday's and today's politicians (mostly democrats and a significant number of republicans) have created.

We don't advocate enviousness. If a felllow Amercan works hard and succeeds in fulfilling his or her dreams we applaud that success!
We don't encourage folks who haven't yet been successful to covet what the successful have.

We're the American Party because we believe in the ideals that have made America great and that makes our country the one that oppressed people around the world wanna come to.

But if we lose the liberties that made us great and sacrifice it for some "free" stuff we will become a tyranny, eventually.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, The Opportunity Party would be awesome (except we would be called "the opportunist party"). I like The American Party as well -- watch liberals go ape-sh*t with that one. I like the idea of Classical Liberals, except that people won't know what it means.

I'd love to see us call our selves the Middle Class Party.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Andrew, the problem with calling ourselves the Middle Class Party is we alienate those who are making less than the middle class (the rich, not so much because most of them know that our economic policies are better for business than dem policies, barring cronyism that is, which we should vehemently reject anyway).

But I do concur, American Party would make lib heads explode and is extremely difficult to criticize without looking like an anti-American loon, lol.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

T-Rav, I concur with the points you made so well.

Particularly when it comes to controlling our own narrative.
We oughtta be putting the left on defense all the time, not vice versa.

The left is the party of FORCE and envy. They wanna force Americans to do whatever they deem as "good" for the Collective.

The left discourages free, critical thinking. We should be trumpetting that everywhere.

We oughtta be the party of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness (but concentrating mostly on liberty...and probably happiness or personal property rights).

However, we really need to work on all those points you made.
And get better organized. This is all doable but it won't be easy.

EricP said...

If we're going to start calling ourselves something more applicable (and do love the American Party, even if it would likely tweak our fellow North American neighbors to the north and south), really need to hang the correct verbiage on the other side, too. As mentioned above, I'm a "statist" kinda guy, but that may just be me. I'll throw "Leeches" or "Sucker-Fish" on the table as well.

T-Rav said...

Thanks Ben! I agree, it won't be easy. As you point out, we're up against an ideology that believes the ends justify the means, and therefore no kind of behavior is off limits. Their ideas can't hold up, so they do the bombthrowing. Like you say, we need to throw them onto the defense.

T-Rav said...

If we are doing name-changing, then I'll go with the American Party as well, mainly because it will drive liberals and non-Americans up the wall. Reason enough in itself, I think. ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, The thing about the Middle Class is that everyone thinks they are Middle Class.

I love the idea of the American Party. Liberals would be beside themselves with rage. :)

AndrewPrice said...

Eric, "The Sucker-Punch Leech Party." LOL!

tryanmax said...

I think there's a little misunderstanding. There's a world of difference between disowning the word "conservative" and simply not going by it any longer. I wouldn't recommend the entire conservative movement rechristen itself. Quite the opposite. Let the majority of conservatives remain conservatives. (Also remember that "conservative" and "Republican" are not synonyms.)

But I've been defending conservatism as a centrist philosophy for quite some time and am starting to look increasingly foolish in doing so. There have always been some jerks calling themselves conservative. I used to be able to say, oh, well that one guy isn't really a conservative, he just says he is. But now there are several guys I have dismiss like that. So, either way, in the end it looks like I'm disowning conservatism.

This is just my opinion, but Commentarama speaks more to the conservatism I grew up learning than the conservatism I see and hear in the public square today.

Anonymous said...

Young people seem to like the movie Anchorman so I recommend a change to The Pants Party. :-)

(Seriously, Steve Carell was the funniest thing in that movie.)

T-Rav said...

Scott, or we could call it The Trident Party, in honor of Mr. Carell.

EricP said...

With no offense to Carell, Ruprecht owns a trident like nobody's business.

Individualist said...

I am not so sure that we should be so quick to throw Palin under the bus. I read on the bigs a quote from Going Rogue where it was stated that Kouric was asking several contentious questions before the Do you read books remark and she was quite annoyed.

On the Russian Overlook on her house they posted an article showing the trascript ot the full interview and what was actaully televised. The careful editing caused the comments to appear to be quite different and the televised version was much less intelligent sounding because it did not televise questions she was asked and in some cases the remainder of sentences that she said in the answer.

I have noticed in the election cycle that any candidate that was black (Herman Cain) or a women (Michelle Bachmann) was viciously savaged. Many kept telling me regarding Michelle the same things said of PAlin. She said stupid things. Yet the only time this comes to bear is in the election cycle and not when she was a spokesperson for the Tea Party.

Every tells me Fox is as biased as MSNBC and tries to equate them but I disagree. If Hannity actaully re edited a video with a Democratic Presidential hopeful in the way that Kouric did as explained in the Big article, it wouold be front page news on the MSM amd Fox would not defend it.

Are we willing to start engaging in that deception? Would Fox news stoop to this level that we know the MSM has no problem with? I just don't see Conservative partisans in the media coming to this. Not even Limbaugh or Levin would do this.

But this is what we must fight? It is all so exhausting in the end.

I think it will not change until we have someone using Breitbart's rules to completely expose the MSM on a major story that they cann ot spin away from the public. What that would be3 I don't know because somehow they managed to spin away Obama lying about a You Tube video no one saw to cover up the murder of our ambassador.

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