Friday, March 26, 2010

From One of the Brilliant Minds that Brought Us Enron

I admit it: I had fun watching right-wingers go wild as health reform finally became law.
Because you know what's hilarious? Scared people! Millions of conservative Americans go to bed each night worried about what this healthcare bill will do to their families and their futures - HA! It's especially funny because those poor saps spent so much sheer effort trying to do the right thing and make a difference! So what if Congress had never before passed such major partisan legislation with such a razor-thin majority in the face of overwhelming negative public opinion - it's their fault for hoping. They should have expected their leaders to gloat at their loss. They certainly should have expected their President to ridicule and vilify them.

Any wonder why we don't believe Paul Krugman when he says the bill is in ordinary Americans' best interests, when he can't even pretend not to despise us?

And just in case there was any doubt about that, he reminds us today that he thinks fears and disappointed hopes are funny. Permit me to differ. This, on the other hand, is hilarious:
But a few days later, it doesn’t seem quite as entertaining — and not just because of the wave of vandalism and threats aimed at Democratic lawmakers.
. . .
All of this goes far beyond politics as usual. Democrats had a lot of harsh things to say about former President George W. Bush — but you’ll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials.

But don't worry it, Krugman, you despicable asshole. I know you're not going to do much more than whine and laugh (your crackpot lunatic left fringe is another story). And the more you laugh, the less it matters. What are you going to do in November with a massive Tea Party get-out-the-vote effort and a disbanded ACORN, when your fainting spells over "extremists" and "racists" don't elicit more than an eye roll. Whatever you end up doing, I promise not to laugh.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Conservative Activism: How YOU can Fight Back - Part 1

One thing you learn in the courtroom is that while you can’t win your case just because the jury likes you, you can lose it if they don’t. The mainstream media is waging a media war on the Republican Grassroots (an ideologically diverse group I’ll call the Tea Parties for ease of use). Unfortunately, the MSM still controls the narrative for Americans who aren’t political junkies, and we can’t afford to ignore the growing PR battle if we expect to win the war.

We’re the underdogs – we’ve got a lot of work to do to get ready November and 2012, but our work won't matter if we let the MSM define our terms, choose our battlespace, and frame our narrative. As it turns out, this old truism is true: The best defense is a good offense. But going on the attack won’t work unless we know the objective. Our objective is VOTES. Never lose sight of that fact: Everything we do must be directed toward getting more votes than the other guy. Does that mean we need to be milquetoast about it? HELL NO. But we do need to be strategic. Here’s the first in a series on how to make sure our offense is a good one.

Part 1 – Deflating MSM Scandal Stories

PROBLEM: The Truth is No Defense

Right now, some reporter is repeating breathless allegations about those “extremist” Tea Partiers calling someone the n-word, spitting on the Congressman, or beating up a guy in a wheelchair. Is it true? No. Does it matter? Not really. That's not to discount the great work going on in the blogosphere, both human and camelidae, to get the truth out there. But they need our help setting the public straight about media lies. But even without the MSM’s toxic left-wing bias, the structure of the MSM is working against us. They need eyeballs. They need scandal.

Which of the following stories would your neighbor give his attention to?

  • Black Congress Members Spit on and Insulted
  • Usual Suspects Try, Fail to Provoke Racial Violence (Again)



It's going to keep happening, and we need to take action to combat it.

SOLUTION: Don’t Get Defensive

For all of these pairs of stories, one is compelling, and the other is accurate. One tells us something NEW, the other explains that crap that keeps happening still happens. While the second story is accurate, no one wants to read it. And the media doesn’t want to report it, even if they like you. Which, they don’t.

The Tea Party can exploit one good tactic of the scandal-media: The first story is about people. The other is about politics. The story of the Tea Party is going to be a story about people.

The media will report on people who are SCARY! And violent! And racist!!!1!! because that will sell. But while they tell story after story featuring CRAZY! Cheerleader Moms killing their kids’ rivals or SCARY! Cops killing their wives or NUTSO! Servicemen who go crazy, your average People-magazine reaader still likes cops and cheerleaders and our military. That’s because everyone is familiar with cops, cheerleaders, and soldiers (or their moms).

We need to make sure that the MSM’s “Tea Parties are RACIST oN0Z!” isn’t the only thing people know about the people in the Republican grassroots. So here’s what to do:

Step 1. Get involved. Go to a Tea Party, or a protest outside of a Democrat’s office. Or if that’s not your speed, call a candidate, go a meetup, knock on doors. Join your Republican precinct committee, or go to a caucus.

Step 2. Tell everyone. Everyone you know should know you’re involved with conservative politics, but talk about the people you meet when you’re involved. Tell everyone you regularly see – coworkers, family, church members (unless you think you’ll be fired). Use vivid sensory examples and keep the focus on the people and the positive. Example:

Coworker: How was your weekend?

You: Fun! We went held up a sign at Harry Mitchell’s office last weekend. Everyone we met was really cool. There were other moms with kids there and one of them told me about this new kid’s ballet class at the library. A few of us went for cupcakes after. It’s too bad Harry Mitchell is so awful, but at least his office is across the street from Sprinkles!

Coworker: That’s cool! We went to a birthday party. . . .

What happened? The conversation continued, the message was spread, and while your apolitical coworker may think your hobby isn’t her cup of tea (sorry), no one thinks you’re a crazy insane violent racist. The more commonplace it is for people to be involved in conservative politics, the less power the media has to set the narrative. If you work with 20 people in your department and all of them know that this is your hobby, and that you’re not a crazy scary weirdo, they’re not going to take that media narrative as gospel truth.

More importantly, those 20 people will tell other people. People love to share their expertise, and everyone you talk to will have their own first-hand TP anecdote to share. It’ll be like that coworker you know who runs the dog rescue (or whatever). You may think she’s a little nutty, but next time your cousin or someone tells you about a situation they had involving a dog, you’re going to pipe up with “I know someone who does that.” Or you may even give out her number. Or you may go to her if you have a question. People like to spread their expertise. Don’t tell them about what’s in a bill or what you read about your Congressman – people can do that themselves. Tell them something they don’t know, about the nice people and fun times you had helping out for a good cause. Make them experts. Persuade them.

Step 3. Know your audience, keep politics to a minimum, and don’t write checks we can’t cash. Don’t say “Healthcare is EVIL! And Obama LIED! And they are TYRANTS!” While it may be true, it's not engaging if you don't already believe it. About the bill, it’s enough to say:

It’s going to hurt a lot more people than it helps. That’s why they had to pay off all those Congressmen to pass it.

That a criticism with resonance. That gives them a framework for understanding the news media. When they see Fox News screaming THE BILL SUCKS and MSNBC screaming NO IT’S AWESOME, instead of being confused by the contrast, YOUR friends will be able to take everything they hear as true, and still think “It’s going to hurt more people than it helps.”

That’s how we take back the message. The American body politic is sick, but we’re not going to cure them with a massive suppository of Freedom! We’ll get them with a million Flintstones gummy vitamins.

Step 4. Be an ambassador. Go get some swag. Get a bumper sticker for your Republican challenger, slap it on your ride, and quit driving like an a-hole. Stick a tea party pin our purse, or a sticker on your phone. Change your desktop background. And be nice.

Good swag identifies you but doesn’t threaten. Best bets are:

  • Names of local Republican challengers
  • Humor!
  • Benign symbols of group identification (GOP, Tea Party)

Not great but ok stuff would identify local Democratic Congressmen. It’s a bit combative, which turns off our general audience, so keep it benign. November is too far off. Best bets will identify your representative with "politics as usual" or with Washington (and it’s 11% approval rating). So keep it light - something like “Rep. ___ has been in D.C. too long, let’s bring him home.”

Bad swag for our ambassador mission would be anything whatsoever resembling a threat (tar and feathers, “water the freedom tree,” anything to do with blood). Also bad is anything self-righteous. You persuade people by making them believe they agreed with you all along, not by making them believe they were bad before and now they have to change. Actual change sucks. That’s why average Americans voted for Obama – HE would change government so they wouldn’t have to, without them doing *(%#-all beyond pulling the lever. Think of the execrable “Coexist” stickers, and the white-hot rage they provoke. Avoid anything similar.

This may be controversial, but general patriotism-themed gear should be used thoughtfully. In-your-face displays of the American flag aren’t useful to solve this particular media problem. Anything garish isn’t appealing to those who don’t already identify the group, and identifying yourself as a patriot is too general to help the Tea Party’s PR strategy. Anyone who thinks you're using the American flag to mean "Tea Party" only may be offended that you seem to think they're unAmerican if they're not already with you. Show your patriotism, fly your flag, but don’t expect it to do your work for you in the political fight of our lives.

Conclusion: The Truth Will Out.

The scandal-monger MSM is always going to smear us, whether they want to or not (and they want to.) The way to fight back is to get involved, tell your friends, and keep politics out of it. Appeal to your curious or uniformed friends by telling them what they want to know about the people you meet, the fun you had, the good things you did. Make it known that the Republican grassroots are ordinary people, nice people, trying to go a good thing for a good cause. Be the happy ambassador from the land of Tea.

Be the advance.

(This post is first in a series explaining what conservative activists are up against and how we will take our country back. Stay tuned for Part II - The Hypocrisy Trap, coming soon.)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

They don't call me "know-it-all" for nothing.

On Sunday I predicted:
3. Call this the Geraghty Theorum: Obama will revise or abandon the Stupak executive order within 18 months.

Lame self-quote, ahoy! But still, within 18 months? TWO DAYS.

If only Bart Stupak were smarter than those idiot Tea Partiers like me. . . .

You break it, you pay for it.

A fit of the giggles today, day HCR+0, when journalists try to pretend that process matters,

The Hill whines "GOP healthcare protest breaks-up Senate committee business."

While Jake Tapper tweets:
the point of @TomCoburn's amendments - to offer something representing a policy change so 60-votes necessary
Salon's Alex Koppelman writes about the "GOP tactic" of forcing Democrats to vote for-or-against "giving erectile dysfunction drugs to child molesters" while -- this is the best part -- admitting that Medicaid paid for Viagra for sex offenders hundreds of times.

Process complaints from the crew that brought us innovative new ways of corruption for the 21st century (some states got big cash, California's central valley got it's water turned back on!). How precious.

UPDATE: Steny Hoyer is mad about "GOP tactics." Hahahahaha. (HT Riehl)

A conservative message in a medium even liberals can understand!

h/t JCWright

And just a refresher for those who think that the House voted out all those pesky kickbacks and bribes for Nebraska, Lousiana, etc.

Oops, my bad.

All of my education and research and first-hand reading of the bill say that this thing is going to be a travesty, but apparently I'm wrong about that, and should be taking advice on governance from kids and bums. But remember guys, the Tea Partiers are the ones who are ignorant and uninformed.

This morning, in America.

More than a million American seniors lost their health insurance.

Americans who paid for their own routine care and bought insurance for the unexpected saw their health insurance outlawed, and themselves made criminals subject to fine.

With the stroke of a pen, an American president claimed that his citizens were subjects, obligees of government healthcare by merely existing in their own bodies.

This morning, the counterrevolution begins.