Thursday, January 31, 2013

Conservatives versus The Media

Let’s hit this straight up: the media is not all powerful. I know that much of the conservative world is convinced that the media has some voodoo power over the electorate which is the only reason Obama won and why we have such a bad image, but it’s just not true. The truth is WE are causing our own problems. Here’s why.

The Public Is Not Brainwashed.

Let’s start with something that should be obvious, but apparently isn’t. The media has NO power to brainwash the public. If the media had such power, the election results would have been a lot different. Of the 310,000,000 Americans, there are 208,000,000 eligible voters. Obama got only 60 million votes. That’s only 28% of all eligible voters (19% of all Americans). If the media really had power to brainwash people, WAY MORE than 28% of eligible voters would have turned out to support Obama.

Likewise, Obama lost 9 million votes between 2008 and 2012... 13% of his total. How can that be explained if the media has this magical power to make the public do as they wish?

Also, if the media had this power, why are people in certain states immune to their manipulation? And why does the media mysteriously lose this power on issues like guns? The “the media brainwashed people” argument has no merit and conservatives should stop hiding behind it.

The truth is, the public did not “buy” Obama, nor did people do what the media wanted. The public stayed home. The public stayed home because it saw no reason to vote for either side. In fact, the biggest winner on election night was None of the Above at 44%. Obama and Romney were a distant second and third at 28% and 27%. That’s on us. We need to focus on why we couldn’t get more than 27% of eligible voters to support us. We need to look at ourselves. Observe...

Why Our Image Stinks: We Do It To Ourselves.

Ok, so if the media can’t brainwash the public, then why does the public believe that conservatives are extremists? The answer is simple: that’s what WE tell them. In the entire universe of political movements, conservatives are the only ones (except maybe anarchists) who disdain the moderate label. Everyone else, from the Nazis to the Commies to the Democrats, claims to be moderates who speak for the forgotten man in the middle. They do this because the goal of politics is to win a majority of the electorate, so it’s important to tell the public that you and they are the same.

Not conservatives. Conservatives have developed a bizarre mentality where they compete with each other to prove how extreme they are. Conservatives brag about being “genuine” conservatives, they use the word “moderate” as a slur, and they equate moderates with traitors. Because of this mentality, our candidates routinely proclaim their purity and try to attack their primary opponents as being secret moderates. This implies (and is sometimes explicitly stated) that being a moderate is something we disdain, which translates into a message of “we are extremists.”

Make no mistake, the media could not sell the public on the idea that conservatives are extremists if we weren’t busy selling the image ourselves.

Why Don’t We Get Credit For Things We Do: Because We’re Nasty.

But wait, you say, even when conservatives act like moderates, we never get the credit! Isn’t that the media’s doing? Well, no. The problem is that while conservatives sometimes do “moderate/liberal” things, they do them kicking and screaming and lobbing insults. No one is going to give you credit in that type of circumstance.

Take the upcoming immigration reform effort. It will pass with Republican votes. As it does, talk radio, pundits, various grandstanding politicians, and bloggers will scream racist sentiments at the top of their lungs and whine about how these dirty Mexicans will forever destroy America and how any Republican who votes for it is a dangerous RINO who needs to be driven out of the party. These same conservatives will wonder a year later why conservatives got no credit from Hispanics for passing the bill.

Think about it this way. Suppose you want to post an article about your ugly, stupid kid at the blog. You nag the crap out of me to post it because you’re an a*hole who won’t shut the f*ck up and doesn’t realize nobody cares about your lame kid. I finally have enough of you and decide that I’ll let you talk about your dumba*s spawn. So I post the article with this disclaimer: “Here’s an article about some retarded kid you won’t care about, but ___ won’t leave me alone, so I’m only doing this to get them off my back.” How happy are you going to be with me? And are you going to give me any credit for posting your article?

It’s the same thing in politics. Conservatives don’t get credit for things they do because they do them kicking and screaming and making it clear in no uncertain terms how much they hate doing them and how, if it was up to them, they wouldn’t do them.

Why Are Scandals Worse For Us: We Mishandle Them.

That brings us to the next issue. Conservatives claim bias in how scandals get portrayed. They claim that nothing the Democrats do sticks to them because the media covers for them, but everything sticks to us. Again, this isn’t accurate. Yes, the media covers for them, but the Democrats are better at separating themselves from their lunatics.

When the Democrats get a lunatic, they immediately dismiss them as not representative of the party. Essentially, they tell the public, “oh, that’s just crazy uncle Joe. He’s harmless.” This works because the Democrats claim the moderate label, and thus, they can put space between themselves and their fringe. Conservatives, on the other hand, do this backwards. First, we all claim to be at the fringe, so there’s no space to be had. Secondly, we attack our own right out of the gates and then try to circle the wagons after we’ve told the public this issue is an outrage. The Democrats don’t do that. They remain flexible until they see how the wind is blowing and then they act accordingly. And contrary to conservative belief, when the Democrats get someone they can’t explain away (e.g. Weiner), they disown them in a heartbeat and they don’t keep trying to prove that they were actually right. We do.

Why Doesn’t Democratic Hypocrisy Stick: Because We Help Them.

Conservatives complain that Democratic supporters are blind to their hypocrisy. But the problem is actually that we help the Democrats sell their false image. Look at the issue of cronyism. Republicans are seen as cronies because. . . well, they are. So are the Democrats, but they aren’t seen as cronies. What accounts for the difference? For one thing, Republicans brag about helping Big Business, whereas the Democrats lie about hating Big Business. More importantly, however, we help them sell that lie.

Consider Obamacare. Obamacare is nothing more than a power grab on behalf of insurance companies. But no one is telling that to the public. The Democrats certainly won’t say it, and the Republicans won’t say it because they’re working for those same companies. Moreover, conservatives don’t say it because they’re busy mischaracterizing Obamacare as “government run, socialized medicine.” And in screaming that, they reinforce the false sales pitch the Democrats are trying to sell to their own people.

Any liberal who has doubt that the Democrats really are liberals gets constant reinforcement from conservatives that everything the Democrats are doing is “liberal/socialist.” Look at the gun control debate. Obama’s gun control plan is nothing more than a placebo, yet conservatives are screaming that it’s one step away from banning guns. Obama’s environmental agenda is a sop to unions and GE, yet conservatives scream about it being “anti-business” and “wacko environmentalism.” On issue after issue, WE are the Democrats’ best salesmen because WE are pushing the very false image the Democrats need their followers to believe.

Anyway, believe it or not, all of the above is good news. It really is.

The American people did not “buy” Obama. They are not brainwashed by some all-powerful svengali media. And our problems are of our own making: WE poisoned our own brand and WE protect the Democrats from their stupidity with our misdirected hyperbolic rhetoric. That means WE can fix these issues OURSELVES because we are victims of our own stupidity and not of some powerful external conspiracy.

I know it may not seem like it, but that really is a good thing. It means that we are not doomed. It means that we just need to make a few changes and we need to work on winning back those None of the Above voters. And our only enemy is ourselves.


Tennessee Jed said...

too tired to really gather my thoughts on this one tonight. I do think that capitalism, so to speak, has tended to do what it does; e.g. concentrate wealth in fewer hands over the last couple decades. There are a lot of people who probably tend to be "right" of center who have been struggling to stay afloat, and in tough times, they feel like they needed help. Probably Romney was not really good enough at convincing them, he would create jobs, and Obama did a better job of painting him as only a protect the wealthiest kind of voter. The arguments that we are headed for economic disaster if we don't revise our welfare state system are not easy sells. But, I am an economic voter above all else, and I'm sure there a lot of other factors involved. I don't think we are doomed. I do agree, Republicans have been WAY to passive in offering concrete solutions. Democrats offer solutions, although they tend not to work, so historically, after one party has been in long enough, the electorate decides to change. It would help to have young enthusiastic candidates who are somewhat enthusiastic and with some positive ideas.

K said...

Andrew: Conservatives have developed a bizarre mentality where they compete with each other to prove how extreme they are. Conservatives brag about being “genuine” conservatives, they use the word “moderate” as a slur...

Exactly what the Dems were doing during the Bush administration, you know, before they took over the government completely? Remember Joe Lieberman being bounced from the party by the Daily KOS guy and his minions because he wasn't extreme enough? Then, of course, they developed the "blue dog" strategy which the Republicans still haven't caught on to. Something which I think you'll agree, they should be working on.

If the media really had power to brainwash people, WAY MORE than 28% of eligible voters would have turned out to support Obama.

It doesn't work like that Andrew. If you have Netflix, download "Media Malpractice". If not, rent it. It is quite illustrative of the techniques and they don't involve brainwashing.
Be sure and watch all the way through the credits, that's some of the best stuff.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Forget the pendulum theory. It's crap. It's an idea conservatives are telling themselves to avoid making changes. The pendulum theory only makes sense if you believe you can extrapolate from a very narrow period time in the 1990s and early 2000s.

AndrewPrice said...

K, That's not what the Democrats did. When they lost the House and Senate and then the Presidency, they brought in consultants who advised them to seize the rhetorical middle ground. They completely changed their rhetoric. Things like taxes because "revenues" and spending became "investment" and they stopped talking about all their fringe crap. They became rhetorical fans of the Second Amendment and tax cuts and supporting the troops -- they banished their fringe to the fringe. That's when they began returning to power.

As for the 28%, that is how it works. If the media had power to brainwash people, the results would be different. Obama would not have lost 9 million voters. The Democrats would not have lost the House. Red states and blue states would be uniform. There would be no differences across ethnic and gender lines. The public would also buy other things the media pushes like gun control, global warming, that there is no link between Islam and terrorism, affirmative action, getting carbon banned, atheism, ending the death penalty, etc. To believe that the media has this power but only uses it to squeak out a 28/27 victory in one election by winning only certain states and somehow can't use it in any other context is simply wrong. There is no evidence to support the idea except the conservative desire for it to be true.

Not to mention, if the media was able to control the population, why are their ratings crashing and why do only a tiny percentage of the public trust them?

Patriot said...

Andrew...."Take the upcoming immigration reform effort. It will pass with Republican votes. As it does, talk radio, pundits, various grandstanding politicians, and bloggers will scream racist sentiments at the top of their lungs and whine about how these dirty Mexicans will forever destroy America and how any Republican who votes for it is a dangerous RINO who needs to be driven out of the party. These same conservatives will wonder a year later why conservatives got no credit from Hispanics for passing the bill."

First off, Name a "conservative" talk radio, politician, pundit, etc...who screams that Mexicans are dirty and Repubs who vote for it are doomed? This is where perhaps you are brainwashed by the (someone/group) into agreeing that this is what conservatives believe. I beleieve, as I've heard over the years, that the issue for conservatives, and most Repubs, is that ALL these people are here ILLEGALLY, and something should be done about it from an enforcement perspective. Like it or not, "hispanics" (whoever the hell that broad term means) are the largest group that is here ILLEGALLY. They have brought their cultural norms (from rural Mexican states, NOT the cities where the Mexicans are cultured) to this country. Read some of Victor Davis Hanson's blogs on what is happening in the more rural areas of California to get an idea of what is actually transpiring with these ILLEGAL immigrants.

As an aside, why hasn't ANY Repub brought up the issue of ILLEGALS voting in Presidential elections. What we say? How do we know? Exactly? How many illegals voted in the last election? Without any sort of legit Voter ID, ANYONE can vote as citizenship is not required. I submit many of the votes the Dems get, not only Zero on the national level, but the local and state dems also, get are from the ILLEGAL immigrant community. "That's a ridiculous assertion" some might say, My response, prove that they aren't voting. I'm sure conservative minds infinitely superior to mine, should be able to make an argument something along those lines.

As for media brainwashing, I think it is limited to the elite. Remember Paula Kael's I believe statement that "...No one I know voted for Nixon. How did he win?!" Most Americans I have come in contact with over my lifetime could give a crap about politics, politicians and the players involved. They don't watch the nightly news, don't read the Times or the Post and are content to try to live their lives doing what's best for themselves and their families. Politics, no matter the scale, just does not play that big a part in their lives. So, to your point above, I believe their is media manipulation and "brainwashing," but only on those who follow the political scene, like most on this blog. We get our perceptions of what is the popular zeitgeist from the usual sources. We never get the opportunity, until the last 10 years or so, to hear an opposing viewpoint. My God, if you just read the Post every day (as I have to to read enemy dispatches) you see a mindset that reinforces the faithful constantly. If it's outside their brackets and perception of the "extreme right-wing of the Republican Party" then you will never hear it or read of it. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Exhibit A: Madame Secretary, The Honorable, Hillary R. Clinton.

The news was how poorly the "right-wing" treated her and how nobly she fought for her State Dept members. It fits the "brainwashing" narrative for the faithful, therefore, it is fact.

Plenty more where that came from Andrew.

Patriot said...

rant con't....
Plus, I wish you could be more specific in your naming of "conservatives" and "Republicans" who spout the nonsense you write about. I agree that our side has way too many members who are idiots, yet we also have many members who are thoughtful, intelligent and realistic. More specificity please, as I don't like the generalities when someone just uses "conservatives" or "Republicans" or even "neo-cons." We need to emphasize the logical players on our side and stop falling into the mindset of lumping them all together when discussing an issue.

tryanmax said...

Does that mean you won't post the article about my kid?

Patriot said...

tyranmax.....LOL!! I thought Andrew was talking about one of my kids, but then I realized I never asked him to post an article for me!

tryanmax said...

But seriously, there was a time when Republicans did this, when they appealed to the "silent majority." The appeal gave us both Nixon and Reagan, so clearly anyone can use it. It also gives the lie to the frequent Limbaugh assertion that both men campaigned and won on hard-right conservatism. According to Wikipedia, Giuliani and Bloomberg were still using this appeal in their campaigns in the 2000s, so apparently the term isn't even played out yet. Much of it comes down to the current Republican strategy of "whatever the Democrats are for, we're against," which makes it real simple for the Dems. They just have to claim to be for the majority, ergo...

BevfromNYC said...

OMG, people!!! Are you listening to what Andrew is trying to say???? LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE!!! I know he is beating his head against a wall right now.
Please stop doing that, Andrew!!

Here's the deal. We are playing "whack-a-mole" on ourselves all in the name of "honesty and integrity" Bah! We need to stop being so "anti" everything just because Obama or a Dem says it! We need to take a breath and stop being so knee jerky about every single issue! We need to drive the SOLUTIONS and not be "The Party of "NO!" Because that is exactly what we have become. No, just for the sake of saying "no!"

For instance - I was really surprised that McCain and Rubio took a preemptive strike at a immigration bill! I read the synopsis and thought "Wow this is a great start!" What I heard from conservatives? Rubio is a traitor...what?? Oops! and what makes it worse! Obama was willing to get on board with it! So THAT makes Rubio even worse! We keep poisoning our OWN well each and every time by publicly humiliating people who are trying drive the solution car! Okay, that was mixed metaphor, but you get the idea, I hope

I went to a Tea party meeting this week and Peter List of was the guest speaker among others. He is saying almost exactly what Andrew is so eloquently illustrating - we, in our public display, are standing in a circle shooting at each other!

Stop shooting OUR messengers BEFORE the even leave our courtyard!!! And frankly, the self-appointed "conservative" pundits like Rush Limbaugh et al. need to be taken down. Rush in particular is a self-serving jerk drunk on his own power and is doing irreparable harm.

Tennessee Jed said...

Andrew - you clearly are not a fantasy baseball participant. illegal procedure, 5 yard penalty; repeat first down.

tryanmax said...

Pendulum theory is appealing because it is easy to look back at history and imagine seeing back-and-forth swings. But so far as I know, no such theory formally exists in history or sociology. It's mostly something marketing types believe in--or at least espouse to sell their ideas. The evidence comes completely from how the observer defines things; usually in broad generalizations. Thus, you hear that collectivist movements are chased by individualist movements and vice-verse. Such broad interpretations of social movements are inherently debatable; one man's individualist is another man's collectivist. The reality is that history is a pattern of individuals collectivizing to take on the collectives built by prior individuals who built theirs to upset the ones that came before them. Make whatever you will of it...because you can.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot and tryanmax, No, I'm not talking about your kids. LOL! But just be sure... don't ask me to post articles about your kids! :P

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, No, I am not a fantasy baseball participant. I don't do fantasy football either. I don't begrudge people who do, I just don't see the attraction. I prefer the game itself.

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, A couple points.

First, "the dirty Mexican" line is hyperbole meant to reflect the way Hispanics perceive being viewed by the GOP.

In that regard, you have a constant stream of comments that group Hispanics into "they" and "foreign invaders" and something not "us." You hear a constant stream about "those people" "destroying our culture and our country." "We" (implicit white Americans) need "to protect our country" from those people.

The English-only websites tend to be crawling with racist images, or at the very least a lot of anger. I've even heard talk radio host complain about the Spanish yellow pages -- something a private company does because it sees a market... yet, somehow I never hear similar complaints about German newspaper.

You have a conservative obsession with "illegals" and conspiracy theories about them causing our healthcare crisis, bankrupting our welfare system, and swaying elections.

Conservatives made a big deal that Arizona should be allowed to racially profile Hispanics. The arguments in favor of what Arizona did also came down to essentially claiming Hispanics are criminals or gang members or drug mules.

Even now, in the immigration debate, conservatives have latched onto the idea that we can't let criminals stay here. Again, it's not the issue that matters, it's the fact it's become the focal point of conservative objections -- which implies a belief that "those people" are criminals.

Look at the anger of conservatives when they found out that Texas allows the children of illegal aliens to go to college or whenever anyone suggested less that full deportation.

No one needs to say "dirty Mexicans" to sound like that is what they mean when you constantly refer to people as alien invaders and criminals from dirty poor countries who should be forcibly deported before they destroy us.

As an aside, why hasn't ANY Repub brought up the issue of ILLEGALS voting in Presidential elections.

Actually, they have. Lots have. Florida went out of its way to purge its voters list of illegal aliens and criminals. It found around 200 people, and no evidence that they actually voted.

As for the brainwashing, the elite aren't brainwashed. They believe what they believe all on their own. The media just caters to their views, just as Rush caters to yours. (And as an aside, about 45% of the elite still voted Republican... which means the "brainwashing" clearly doesn't work). And in any event, the elite aren't enough to matter to the elections. The people who matter, the people we lost, are the lower-middle class.

Kit said...

"Jed, Forget the pendulum theory. It's crap. It's an idea conservatives are telling themselves to avoid making changes. The pendulum theory only makes sense if you believe you can extrapolate from a very narrow period time in the 1990s and early 2000s."

Agree. See 1932 to 1952 where, except for a brief two-year window the Dems controlled the House and White House and usually the Senate.

re: Nixon and Reagan. They were also pretty brutal attackers. ESPECIALLY Nixon.
Nixon, in 1968 ran ads that portrayed the Dem leadership as a complete failure. that is driving the country to hell. I should also note that his campaign ads are some of the best in Presidential history. Look them up on youtube, they are BRUTAL. He also portrayed himself as someone who, on the international stage, world leaders could respect. The general message was that Humphrey was a man who couldn't even command the respect of his own party (Chicago riots) whereas Nixon was a serious man who could command respect from both fellow political leaders in Washington and world leaders. A man who could restore law and order to the country and bring peace to Vietnam.
The big line in the ads was "This time, vote like your whole world depdended on it."

In 1972 Nixon ran for re-election by casting his opponent as a fringe candidate of the far left.

Reagan ran in 1980 by casting Carter as a weak and inneffective President. One ad even mentions that the Ayatollah Khomeini has endorsed Carter. Reagan's positive ads depicted himself as a "proven leader" who turned California around and can turn the country around.

AndrewPrice said...

As for who these conservatives/Republicans are, I don't keep that kind of list because it's not relevant. But I can tell you that I've heard the things I describe in these articles coming from every single talk radio show host I've listened to. Almost every single candidate says them too.

Look at the last election. I'm not even talking about an Akin or a Mourdouk, the presidential candidates fought about how extreme they were on abortion, on gays and on deportation. They played a game of one-ups-manship with the elimination of agencies... "I'm going to shut down more agencies than you, ha ha!" And the attack was always, "he's really a moderate... you can't trust him."

You'll find any number of articles right now from pundits (Ann Coulter just wrote one) calling Hispanics a threat to the US and accusing Rubio of being "naive" or brainwashed.

The head of the NRA is out there saying "extremism is a virtue."

Republican grandstanders (then supported by voters) passed Birther Laws to get Obama, passed laws banning Sharia law from taking effect, and introduced bills to criminalize the providing of abortions (typically, Republicans introduce over 500 laws each session in state legislatures to restrict abortion).

And everywhere you look... from talk radio, to pundits, to blogs, to comments on blogs... you will see constant calls for us to stop being so moderate... a delusional call because there is nothing moderate left in the party.

The list is endless.

Kit said...

"Conservatives made a big deal that Arizona should be allowed to racially profile Hispanics. The arguments in favor of what Arizona did also came down to essentially claiming Hispanics are criminals or gang members or drug mules."

I've seen a similiar thing with the NYPD stop-and-frisk debate. HEather MacDonald has argued repeatedly and persuasively that its not racial profiling and that the NYPD does not use racial profiling. That these stops happen primarily in black and minority neighborhoods because that is where the crime is, that Compstat is a pure colorblind statistic.
Yet I've also seen conservatives, trying to support the NYPD, seemingly defend the NYPD for using "racial profiling."
Which hurts everything Ms. MacDonald is doing.

Its aggravating.

Kit said...

"extremism is a virtue"

Because that worked SO well for Barry Goldwater. . .

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Nixon made his appeal to the "silent majority. Reagan appealed to "common sense" and "average Americans." Whether or not their policies actually aimed at those people is a different matter, but rhetorically, that is who they claimed to speak for and that is who they tried to reach. And they both won overwhelmingly.

The current mindset is the exact opposite. The current mindset is that we need to adopt extreme positions on certain issues and the somehow, the tiny percentage of people who support those positions will morph into a majority and deliver us into government.

It's stupid.

I think the cause of this is the destruction of our ideological core. Conservatism went theoretical in the 1990s/2000s, and as a result, it lost everything except a focus on macro-ecomomics and theology. That left a HUGE gap for the worst elements of the party to fill in. That's where the grandstanders have come in -- people like Rick Santorum, Tom Tancredo, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Ron Paul, Jan Brewer, the entire birther movement, Sheriff Joe... people who think poisonous rhetoric and obnoxious symbolic ideas can make them important.

Kit said...

On "illegals are criminals" here is my point.

Yes, the illegal and undocumented residents are criminals. Thy have engaged in criminal behavior and committed criminal acts by entering this country illegally or staying beyond their allowed visa. And according to the letter of the law they should be punished.
But let me remind you of another time, when we had a over a million men who had commited violations of American law far worse than the illegal aliens mentioned above.
In 1865 you had over a million fmr Confederate soldiers who had committed the crime of treason. They had taken up arms against the United States and waged war against it. The Union government could have easily lined up all of them against a wall and shot them.
And yet, all of them, were pardoned. Even the leadership was pardoned. In fact, the only confederate officer tried was the head of Andersonville, and that was for war crimes, not treason.
This was done because there was a practical reason in doing so. It was better for the country at that time to pardon these traitors than to carry out mass trials and executions.
I support Rubio's idea because it is practical. It addresses a problem, 11 million illegals, recognizes we can't deport them all, while at the same time recognizing that they committed a crime. That is what Amnesty means, or should mean. Partial forgiveness for a criminal act.
Of course, there are conditions, as there should be.

Tennessee Jed said...

I don't play fantasy sports either, although pro sports has become something of a giant bore these days. My real point is that in sports, one could look at a career .192 pinch hitter and come to a certain conclusion, and ignore the fact that hitter has just gone 2 for 4 in their last at bat. Much of what you say is logical, and could well be true. I happen to think Romney's problem was not Obama, but not enough people who wanted to not vote for Obama, and didn't vote at all. In a fairly tightly contested election, though, everything tends to become important. Your point, I think, is that those of us who are not onboard for a European style welfare state, should not rely solely on blaming the media in trying to change this, and with that I would wholeheartedly agree.

BevfromNYC said...

"That these stops happen primarily in black and minority neighborhoods because that is where the crime is, that Compstat is a pure colorblind statistic."

Kit - This perfectly illustrates Andrew's point. And it IS frustrating because the argument kind of goes like this -

Statement: "Uh-huh!"
Conservative Response: "Nuh-uh!!"

Instead of pointing our WHY it is all statistics.

From the NYPD own statistics openly and transparently available online to all - even Al Sharpton - Here is what it boils down to -
95-96% of all violent crime in NYC is committed by and/or perpetrated against Blacks and Hispanics.

This is what the response should be to all those who think that "stop and frisk" is profiling.

"Yes, and here is WHY. Now explain to everyone Al Sharpton, why you think it is NOT okay to try and stop people from killing Blacks and Hispanic children just to make you feel better about yourself??

"No it's not, Al! You're a racist too."...

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Thanks! Don't worry, I think my forehead got thicker from all the pounding. :)

I think you are absolutely right. We have become the anti-party. We offer nothing except angry opposition. Anything the Democrats want we automatically start screaming "NO!!!", we snarl at the people they claim they want to help, and then we look to destroy anyone on our side who dares to suggest that maybe we should be offering our own solution. In fact, it's gotten so bad that even being seen shaking Obama's hand or being polite to him is enough to set the base off into a cycle of rage.

What I find really ironic is that conservative scream to the world how extreme we are, and then they blame the media for giving us the image of being an extremist party.

Rubio is being slammed right now for being "stupid", "naive" and "brainwashed." Bobby Jindal is doing some great things and he's being savaged on the right because he dared to suggest that things aren't perfect for us.

At the same time, I'm seeing pundit after pundit latching onto the idea that somehow we just need to wait our turn and the public will come back to us. That's stupid. Could you imagine a failing car company saying, "hey, this is a pendulum, people will come back... we don't need to change anything."

Seriously, this is not hard to understand:

1. You need to offer people something they want. That means solutions, not abstract discussions.

2. Anger NEVER sells, not in any context except gansta rap.

3. When you claim to be extreme and you scoff at anyone who isn't extreme like you, all you achieve is turning people off.

Those are basic concepts of human nature that everyone knows -- from political parties to advertisers to anyone who's ever been a teacher to anyone who has friends or has been on a date. Yet, somehow, right now conservatives have these completely reversed.

And this idea that we only lost because the public is stupid or brainwashed is a delusion. It's meant to make conservatives feel good by letting them believe that they've done nothing wrong, but they were undone by a vast left wing conspiracy or because the public "doesn't deserve" our wisdom. That's bull.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The pendulum theory is the same kind of garbage as global warming. It comes from cherry picking your time period and using a tiny set of data to extrapolate vast trends.

The theory is that if you look at the US between Johnson and now, you see a steady turnover of the presidency from one party to the other. But this misses several facts:

1. The reason for the turnover. More often than not, the change was the result of the selection of bad candidates or scandals or the presence of unusual third party candidates.

2. The pendulum theory wrongly assumes that the parties remained ideologically fixed during that period -- they didn't. Nixon's Republican Party was to the left of Obama.

3. Look at the Congress and the Senate. When Newt took over the House in 1994, that ended almost 60 years of Democratic control over the House (with a tiny exception in the 1950s). Where was the pendulum?

Look at Europe -- it's been on a steady march to collectivism since the 1880s. Japan and Korea and China have had de facto one-party rule since World War II.

There is no pendulum. The "pendulum" only exists when parties make changes to correct their mistakes to attract the voters they lost.

Kit said...

"Anger NEVER sells, not in any context except gansta rap."

Or online video reviewers. ;)

tryanmax said...

Andrew, cars are a great example of how the pendulum theory only works in reverse and only when things are generalized. One can look back see that cars started small, got bigger, then compact foreign cars dominated the market, followed by hulking SUVs and conclude that popular car size is a pendulum. However, that overlooks many, many other points, such as that popularity of SUVs has nothing to do with the popularity chrome-plated land-yachts.

tryanmax said...

Sorry, I feel I should connect the dots. The point about SUVs vs. land-yachts is that comparing the sizes of those to predict a trend is lazy strateging. No one in the 80s could have simply said, "we've had a run of small cars, now it's time for big ones" and immediately come up with SUVs. They would have probably just reintroduced land-yachts if they had gone that route. Instead, researchers dug deep and determined that people wanted something with both people and cargo capacity that wasn't a station wagon or a van. The results were SUVs and mini-vans.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Both Nixon and Reagan are great examples of politicians who addressed the worries of average people. No one in our party is doing that right now.

On attacking, absolutely you attack. You run negative ads, you frame your opponent as a fringe-fool who wants to destroy the country. But here's the thing. That only works when you give the public some reason to like you. It is the rare election you can win just by attacking the other guy. That means, we need a level of credibility we aren't giving ourselves.

And let me state, the reason I wrote the article is that everywhere I look people keep saying there's no reason to change anything because it's hopeless -- the media controls the public, the media defines our image, and the media will distort anything we do... so why even try. That's why I wrote the article, to point out just how wrong that thinking is. We have created our own problem and it's within us to fix it.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, On racial profiling, I've spoken with a lot of cops and quite a few FBI agents and NONE of them think racial profiling is a good idea. They don't do it, they don't think we should be doing it. They point out that it's a waste of time because race is not an indicator of criminality, whereas other things are. Using it causes you to overlook criminals of other races -- which is really important in catching terrorist. And it angers the communities you need help from. It is counter-productive.

Yet, every time the issue comes up, conservatives start defending the practice. It's aggravating because conservatives don't seem to realize that they are advocating something useless and counter-productive, and the cost of them doing it is that they come across as racists because they are saying you can spot a criminal by their race.

BevfromNYC said...

"It's meant to make conservatives feel good by letting them believe that they've done nothing wrong, but they were undone by a vast left wing conspiracy...

Andrew - This is EXACTLY what didn't work for Clinton during the whole Monica Lewinsky affair. Though being the particularly astute politician that both he AND Hillary are, they have managed to salvage their reputations.

We always seem to stop at the door at offering solutions, but never actually walk through AND then attack those who DO walk through for giving "the other side" ideas.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Good point about the South.

The immigration issue is one of practicality. There is no chance we will deport everyone who is here illegally. That's a fact. Pretending it might still happen is a fantasy. And getting mad about something you cannot change is stupid. The reasonable solution is to find a way to stop it from getting worse and then address the problem.

Unfortunately, conservatives are determined not to do that. They have chosen the anger route. And in the process, they are not only upsetting the people who are here illegally, they are upsetting people who are here legally who are seeing a lot of racism within the anger. They are also upsetting average people who don't like being with people who are constantly angry, and who won't vote for an angry party.

Add in that anger seems to be our new cause for existence, and you really end up with a party that has no hope of winning people back.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think the first mistake Romney/the GOP made (and continue to make) is relying on the idea that they can win by attracting people who want to vote against the Democrats. The two problems with that are that (1) it gives people no particular reason to vote for you, thus it's dependent on the other guy basically being Hitler in miniature, and (2) when your own image is worse, you'll never win that kind of contest. And right now, our image is worse.

As for blaming the media, I see it entirely as as a placebo for conservatives.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, Excellent point to Kit. Conservatives need to learn the art of flipping the debate. We don't do that right now and I'm not sure why.

Rather than just denying (or worse embracing) the liberal attack, we need to counter attack and we need to do it in a way that shows we care about people. Stopping criminals is one thing, but protecting people from criminals is rhetorically much more powerful.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, Anger can be used as a schtick, but it needs to be used in jest. If people think you're really angry, it turns them off.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I get your point about the cars v. SUVs and I think it's a good one. In fact, it illustrates the real problem with the pendulum theory.

The pendulum theory wrongly sees the world as static and the support as fluid. Basically, people like the Democrats (small cars) for awhile, then they get sick of them and they switch to the Republicans (SUVs) for a while. So we do nothing and the public will eventually come back to us. In fact, doing anything is dangerous because could disrupt the pendulum and we know we can't win the people during a Democratic period anyway.

That's all garbage.

There is no reason to believe that people will go back to an old product. If GM keeps making the 1985 Crapmobile, people aren't going to go back to it just because some magic pendulum tells them it's time. Consumers change their buying habits when they come across a new product that wins them over. Thus, the exact opposite is needed of what the pendulum theory espouses -- aggressive attempts to recalibrate to win over consumers.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, That was Clinton's first response and it was an abysmal failure. It failed because (1) the public doesn't want to hear self-pity, (2) the public at large doesn't buy into conspiracy theories, and (3) it distracted the Clintons from coming up with a legitimate plan to save their image.

Clinton got lucky that Team Newt became obsessed with sex. Otherwise, his legacy would be a lot different.

Patriot said...

Andrew......I look at some on the right blaming the media for things as I do some on the left (hello....Obama...?) blaming Bush and the Repubs for everything wrong. Blaming anything is a zero sum game. Why do it? You either look like a whiner or snitch, never willing to stand up and address the reasons. And I know that the reasons are where the blame game is played.

The problem I see, is many on the right tend to frame their "arguments" or debatable points on large-scale things like institutions, policies, culture, etc., where most on the left frame theirs around individuals (think 2 mins of hate). When we think about these things (which I'm trying so hard not to anymore!) it's easier to focus on some-body then some-thing.

So, let's stop blaming the media, conservatives, socialists, talk-radio (BTW, I really don't listen to Rush all that much...maybe once or twice a month when driving long distance...yet when I do I find him entertaining and willing to address what many on the right seem to be afraid too) and start using the rules of the game as it is played by the Left in this country (worldwide really). Breitbart was on the right track and willing to take the slings and arrows that he knew would be directed his way.

I think if there is any current politico pundit that I think has the right approach, or at least one I agree with tactically, it is Jonah Goldberg. His books are spot on with "actual historical facts" presented with a touch of humor, wit and practicality, and help me put everything going on today in context.

But then I've always been a sucker for Edmund Burke's statement..."Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it."

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, I agree with you, and those are the exact points I'm trying to make: (1) focus on people, not theory, (2) stop looking for someone to blame and focus on fixing our own message.

I wrote this article for two reasons really.

First, I am seeing so many in the conservative world right now saying, "everything we did is fine, we need more of the same." That's wrong. And I'm trying to point out why it's wrong. For example, I hear so many conservatives say, "we've been unfairly painted as extremists by the media" or "nothing sticks to the Democrats because the media covers for them." What I'm trying to point out is that it's not the media, it's us. We are being our own worst enemies on these points.

Secondly, I've noticed lots of people, both in comments at various blogs and in articles, throwing up their hands and saying, "gee, it's the media's fault people don't like us" or "the public sucks, they want socialism." I wrote this article to point out that those things are NOT true.

Let me give you an example of my frustration. On many occasions, I've seen people make suggestions for things we should do. These suggestions are countered with claims that (1) the public wants Obama and thus won't listen to us, and (2) it's pointless to do anything because the media will only spin it and we are powerless against the media, so why even try.

What I'm trying to do in this article, is to get people to realize that those things aren't true. The public is out there waiting to be won over by us. They don't want Obama, they just like us less at the moment. And our image is not beyond our control. The media is only exploiting the things we are doing to ourselves, they aren't creating an image from whole cloth.

That's my point.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, One more thing, I am happy that I'm starting to see some of the pundits getting the things I'm talking about. That gives me hope that change might be coming.

Patriot said...

Andrew....Agree with your reasons for writing the article. One point I'd like to emphasize though. "Most" voters do NOT invest that much of their lives to politics, much less national interests. They are content to vote every 4 years for President and will go with the candidate that fits certain b.s. reasons: They look nice; they talk mellifluously, they like what they have to say; they are different than the same old boring white guys they see every 4 years (Hey, let's try someone a little different this time and see what happens).

Having had the opportunity to live in just about every region in this great country, I've found that once you really get to know people, most really just don't give a shit about politics. Least-wise like we do around the major metro areas on the East coast.

So, while I think Romney would have been a great any other time in history....he was up against a young phenom with too many factors in his favor (see above). Most people outside the large metro areas could care less about how politics is played and when one party or another doesn't follow the Constitution or the rules of Congress. All they have to go by is the individual in front of them every 4 years.

Which is why (cue the freak-out screaming and jumping off of ledges) "The Smartest Woman in the World," will probably be the Dem nominee in 2016 and probably go on to win. No matter who our side puts up.

Oh God.......I picked a helluva time to quit drinking!

Ted Striker said...

"There I the coast of Drambuie"

AndrewPrice said...

Ted, Over Macho Grande?

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, Try sniffing glue! :P

I agree with you, most people don't care about politics and those that don't follow politics and some of those people do vote mainly on image. That's why it's important that we present an image that will convince people that we will make things better for them. We don't even try to offer that... that's the problem.

I've asked this before: what do we offer people who need jobs, who want to own a home, who want to send their kid to college, who worry about becoming sick, who worry that they won't have a retirement, who worry about dangerous products and pollution, who worry about the government taking away people's rights? We don't offer anything.

When people look at the two parties, they see one party talking about helping people -- with bad solutions, but still trying to do something... and they see the other party worrying about esoteric accounting and theological issues and acting amazingly intolerant. Who are they going to choose?

Kit said...

"Kit, Anger can be used as a schtick, but it needs to be used in jest. If people think you're really angry, it turns them off."

I know.

T-Rav said...

Sniffing glue....pfft. Huffing spray paint is where it's at. And if you really want to live dangerously, diluted sarin gas. The twitches go away after a while.

tryanmax said...

Huffing chemicals is for pansies. You wanna really kill brain cells? Try Huffington Post.

AndrewPrice said...

Careful, even minor exposure to the Huffington Post can cause brain damage.

Individualist said...

I would tend to agree with the above being why things have gone south and that we can get around them but honestly after the Fiscal Cliff fiaso I was really disheartened. I truly thought there would be some spending cuts. There were none. not only that there were spending increases. As I understand it they came up with 16 billion in cuts but ended up spending more of the tax revenue increases they are supposedly going to get.

At that point I have become very cynical that the GOP really wants to cut spending at all. There have been to many excuses as to why we need this or that before we can cut spending but it never materializes. If they really wanted cuts it would have happened.

At that point I question why we should save the GOP at all. It is probably however due to the fact that DC has become so corrupt that neither party is salvageable. It depresses me.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I don't have an answer for that. The Republican Party is packed to the gills with fringy morons who will never change. Replacing them is about the only way to fix things. I just don't know how to do that.

Kit said...

I like to say the GOP compromises when they should hold fast and hold when they should compromise.

AndrewPrice said...

Kit, That's a good way to look at it. If they completely flipped their strategy around every time from their instincts, they would probably be a pretty decent party.

tryanmax said...

I think there is a difference between Romney's image and that of the GOP, and in parsing that difference lies the solution to the image problem the right has. I'm told that Romney actually won independents in all but one or a couple of the swing states. That suggests that independents are savvy enough to separate the man from the party and puts the lie to the idea of low-information voters being synonymous with independents.

I happen to believe that the election was lost by the Republicans in the primaries, b/c that is where the extremism was placed most prominently on display. The "Anybody-But-Romney" position the right-wing media heads all took against him and maintained even after the primaries only further served to poison the well. It is perfectly understandable to worry that a president's party will drag him away from center following an election, or at least rubber-stamp the crazies in it.

BevfromNYC said...

Careful, even minor exposure to the Huffington Post can cause brain damage.

Now I know why my head hurts all the time. But then again, it's better to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous opinion than to...well, maybe sniffing diluted sarin gas would work just as well...minus the headaches.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I agree and I would go further.

I know that blaming Romney is a very popular idea right now, especially with purists, but Romney is a red herring. The evidence suggests that Romney was not the problem. He did no worse than McCain with any of the groups they track except evangelicals. Moreover, his failure cannot explain the Senate races we lost or the House races we lost, or the losses in prior years -- with only rare exceptions, we've lost most elections since 2000 and the numbers keep getting worse year by year.

This is an image problem that I think can be traced to the Clinton impeachment and conservative behavior since then. And while I do agree that the primaries did A LOT of damage, I think the kind of damage that has been done to the party brand is long-term damage, done week by week, year by year, incident by incident.

Also, I think our biggest problem at the moment is a combination of the insane worship of extremism/purity combined with a strange disdain for people. In fact, as you know, I'm working an agenda, and it's been a truly enlightening experience of what we really stand for... or don't. On issue after issue, we have no position except disdain for people who want a solution.

I think our rhetorical problems stem from that lack of a practical ideology, because it leaves us nothing to talk about except for a couple theoretical issue which are dominated by the fringe -- marco-economics, second amendment, abortion, gays, deportation. Moreover, the vacuum left by not having an agenda allows the crazies to fill it with things like birtherism, anti-Fed stuff, and various conspiracy theories.

This makes us come across as anti-people, cold-blooded, intolerant, and crazy.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, HuffPo Headaches are murder!

Seriously, I venture over there sometimes and those people are insane, hateful morons. We should organize a picnic for the HuffPo people at the same place we organize a picnic for the HotAir people and see what happens. :)

Patriot said...

Andrew...When is your article on a Repub agenda coming out? You've served to pique my interest in how it will be the Alpha and Omega of repub enlightenment!

AndrewPrice said...

Patriot, It's actually going to be a series of articles. The problem is (the reason for the delay) I want to put it at Amazon (I have a specific reason... to get it into book form so I can mail it to people), and to do that, I need to publish it before I put the articles here or Amazon gives me a lot of grief about it and might not publish it.

It's about 60% done right now. I would guess I'll have it done within 2-3 weeks tops.

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