Posts Tagged ‘messaging’


Money, Peace, and Freedom

   Posted by: Robert    in Politics

Continuing to ponder my colleague’s comments about the Republican and Democrat parties, his statement that Republicans are about money and Democrats are about peace raises an important point about the current state of political messaging.  In short, it sucks.  My colleague identifies as a Libertarian, which means that he has placed himself off of the Republican/Democrat political spectrum.  Since that doesn’t happen entirely by accident, I’m comfortable assuming that he has put at least some independent thought into the parties and his own position.  Even with that, he still comes up with money (R) and peace (D).  That fact does not bode well for conservatives.

When considered objectively, the stated associations are difficult to reconcile with reality.  Democrats currently make up seven of the top ten wealthiest members of Congress and are well represented at the CEO level in many Fortune 500 companies.  Entertainers, many of whom are no strangers to wealth, also skew heavily Democrat.  Meanwhile, even as President Obama is winning accolades for withdrawing the military from Iraq and Afghanistan, the level of tension and violence in the Middle East has grown significantly without the stabilizing influence of the United States.  We have experienced more acts of terror committed against us under President Obama than we did under President Bush, and programs like Fast and Furious have contributed significantly to violence very close to home.  Republicans hold no monopoly on money, nor do Democrats have any particular claim to having made the world more peaceful.

For my part, I consider the Republicans to be the party of compromise and the Democrats to be the party of theft.

Republicans are the party of compromise in both flattering and unflattering ways.  On the positive side, Republicans have a willingness to listen to different or opposing ideas and find ways to incorporate some of those ideas into their policies.  At its best, this helps to build a broader base of support for policies which support Republican objectives, even if Republicans may not get to go as far as they would like or have to accept some policies which cut against their ideals.  On the negative side, Republicans have a tendency to give away their ideals in a futile attempt to avoid being attacked by the liberal media.  While Republicans couch these giveaways in terms of positive compromise, what usually happens is that they end up compromised because the left doesn’t stop until they get everything that they want.  In such a world Republicans get nothing lasting in return.

I consider Democrats to be the party of theft for all of the obvious reasons.  As supporters of wealth redistribution, their policies end up being systematic forms of theft.  Their environmental policies, land policies, and mountains of regulation all act to take value.  Democrats are also well known to use thethreat of policy changes as a stick in negotiations, threatening to regulate an opponent to death unless their opponent behaves in the right way.  In the private sector, such a practice would commonly be known as extortion.

For Republicans, fighting off the image of both money and compromise seems crucial toward improving the way the party is perceived.  Frustratingly, Republicans are only seen as the party of compromise by those on the right, who have witnessed time and again the supposedly conservative party giving away conservative principles for slightly less awful press coverage.  Where Republicans found the most energy was during the height of Tea Party activism, when Republicans were acknowledged (if only grudgingly) as the party of responsibility.  Responsibility won huge inroads in 2010 and continued to be a great strength in 2012, despite the 2012 election being decided on other grounds and despite a seemingly concerted effort by Republicans to appear as irresponsible as possible.

Whatever word is ultimately chosen, it’s clear to me that neither “money” nor “compromise” are going to win elections.  Responsibility can, but that label requires Republicans to act the part.  Of course, whatever word is chosen, Republicans will certainly need to work to bypass the mainstream media in promoting their image.  To work within the media framework does nothing but make them the party of stupid.



Shoot the Messenger

   Posted by: Robert    in Philosophy

Messaging is key to the success of any political movement.  For at least as long as I’ve been paying attention, conservative messaging has been a disaster.  We’ve spent years in conflict with ourselves, being incoherent, and failing to project conservative values in a positive and uplifting way.  There are a great many reasons for our failure at messaging, but the most important all boil down to one common root cause.  Conservative messaging is a disaster because it isn’t conservatives who are carrying the message.

Ever since the Tea Party developed, there has been an expanding realization that conservatives and Republicans are two distinct breeds.  Although this is well recognized in conservative circles, it seems less well understood by traditional Republicans, and seems to be a fact largely lost on the left.  Unfortunately for conservatives, the Republican Party is the closest thing that we have to a meaningful conservative political party in America, which puts them front and center for carrying our political message.  This hasn’t worked out very well for either of us.

As if having our message distorted by Republicans wasn’t bad enough, our message gets further mangled by the media.  The traditional media — newspaper, radio, and television — has a well known bias for liberalism.  Republicans, for some reason, still believe that looking good in the media is a desirable messaging objective.  The media, of course, does Republicans no favors.  A pat on the head for being “bipartisan” is about the best that Republicans can hope for.  Conservatives, who see “bipartisan” as “giving in to liberal demands”, can’t catch a break in the media at all.

Fortunately for conservatives, the traditional media isn’t the oligopoly on information that it once was.  New social media, transmitted raw and live over the Internet, expands opportunities for conservatives to bring out a message directly.  A strong conservative Internet presence would allow us to connect directly with people in a way that working through traditional media doesn’t.  We have to be careful, because direct messaging forces us to own our stupidity, but it’s a risk that we have little choice but to take.

In the hands of articulate conservatives who can speak directly to America, the glow of our principles shimmers like starlight.  Conservatism is uplifting; it’s a philosophy of love, strength, and achievement; and it should never be used to tear anyone down.  Neither the Republicans, nor especially the media, have any interest in telling that story.

So let’s shoot the messengers.  They don’t deliver our message right anyway.