Republican Strategy Needs to Change: Anger Management
The Republicans in Congress and our Republican Governors are playing a low-key, low-profile role in directing the party after several years of “top down” control. This comes at a point when the GOP is politically the weakest they have been in decades and when there are still two critical wars to win. That temporary power vacuum has unleashed the loons at the party fringes, and we are seeing a steady concerted attack on President Obama, but too much of that is misdirected angst. It’s like the poem: “the worst among us are full of passionate intensity…”
An example of this is how the Tea parties are going. The time for tea parties was before the trillion in debt was pushed through Congress – instead they are afterward. There are probably a lot of good people attending Tea Parties, and I’m certainly not against them, but when some of the organizers are from the Ron Paul camp and people are stepping forward to entice people into third parties like the Constitution Party then that’s way off-message and highly counterproductive.
Meanwhile Obama’s doing pretty well in polls, so the hysteria we’ve seen from the birth certificate, secessionist, and other assorted loons is having no effect. Obama has survived the first 100 days with his glow intact, and the general public ranks him higher at this point than the past two presidents we had. That’s not a good sign of success so I recommend changing strategies.
If you follow the secessionist link above to Tim Sandefur’s post, it’s pretty easy to suss out that Ron Paul isn’t a libertarian, but rather a Faux-libertarian. Neither is he a constitutionalist, but rather a faux-constitutionalist. The third party candidate are also all populists, and need rage to be noticed and to stump – but as populists they must have someone to demonize, and they’ve picked President Obama.
The initiative against the O has come from pundits who have rediscovered Ayn Rand and objectivism because her writings seem prophetic in this age of Trillions in debt. The problem with that is not Objectivism but rather the “paleo libertarians” who are just wearing the cloak of objectivism to further the causes they prefer. There used to be a containment of the Paleos, but with the deaths of both William F. Buckley and Paul Weyrich the fence is down and the leash isn’t in anyone’s hand — the dogs are loose and baying loudly.
Going after Obama alone is ridiculous when the problem is really the lack of power Republicans have. That must be remedied first. Sure we have to whittle down that popularity so he doesn’t have long coat tails in 2010, but we can do that persistently and over time. Our main focus the next two years should be the democratic clowns in Congress. Everyone’s likely to spend the next few days frothing about the release of the Abu Ghraib photos, it’s the second flourish of the red cape before the bull, the first flourish was the release of the torture memos. While that’s going on Witch-hunt Waxman is putting together Cap and Tax, and the bloated budget bill is in conference committee. But does the bull ever notice the matador’s sword before it strikes?
How can we whittle down the power base of the Dems in congress, how can we turn some blue dogs and conservative state dems if anyone who works with them or tries is going to have the Rhino label slapped on and the pack set upon them?
That’s got to stop on the right for many reasons. To stop this ineffective angst and sapping of their base the R’s need to get to work, and now’s the the perfect time since it’s a non election year.
Anger Management For the Right
“Anyone can be angry. That is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, in the right way — that is not easy.”
— Aristotle, “Nicomachean Ethics”
Many of our pundits and bloggers are tossing any red meat they find laying by the roadside into this vacuum to get people re-involved. They don’t seem to care that the roadkill they are scraping up is laid out by nutballs from third party and single cause groups. They don’t care that the sauce on the roadkill is faux outrage, planted rumors, and retreaded kookspiracies. It’s also Rovian Rahmian the way Obama floats things that rile everyone up but which then come to nothing or which are non-essential in the longer term. An example is the release of the Abu Ghraib photos. Just the right red cape to distract us with the non-essential at the right time.
Most of what pundits are passing as meat is old chewed over gristle originally planted by the left. It comes from whack job sites like Alex Jones (you aren’t going to see a link there from here…) and the PUMAS, and from the hard right re-branded John Bircher camp. While it might get some riled up, it’s bad for the future of the right in the US. It ranges from kookspiricies to rage over the non-essential – the nihilistic anger stirred is getting some response, but is it right, is it effective, is it purposeful?
The answer to all of the above is mostly no – the polls show that all the frothing to date has been purposeless and futile.
So the right needs some anger management, but nobody seems willing. As long as gristle disguised as red meat is our diet we will suffer from bileous nihilism, and any Republicans who do step forward to lead will be soundly thumped with indignant cudgels of wrath by one faction or another, leaving a trampled corpse in their wake. Hence those low Republican profiles I mentioned earlier, some are waiting for others to self destruct before stepping forward.
Somehow we have to dump the anger and the only way forward is to really stop the madness. With that in mind, I’m going to suggest a few things:
- First does that thing… you know — that thing you are getting ready to raise red flags over really matter? Is it anything people who aren’t pundits will remember in a month, two months, five years? Will it affect lives long term, will it change the course of the nation? Is it essential, and if so are you really reporting the essential part? If not then it’s just another dirty rag in the daily spin cycle.
- Second: Is it well sourced, or just a rumor? Is there an email campaign with someone quoting someone who is someone’s friend who knows a person? If it’s not well sourced and factual it could be something planted, don’t be a goof by running with kookspiracies.
- Third: Have you researched what you are talking about, or are you just letting emotion carry you through your post or monologue? If not you could end up with egg on your face.
- Fourth: Edit. Have you let hyperbole, exaggeration, and purple prose turn your factual piece into a fanciful piece? Is hysteria clouding your finer points?
Next installment I’ll talk more about how the focus needs to change, why congress and the governorships are so important going into 2010, and how Republican political strategy must change from leading through fear to positive direction before conservatives can regain any power.
One last thing: Obama releasing the memos and the photos is horrible indeed, but they are really history long past — the longer we rant, the longer they drive the news-cycle. Think on it and the effect on our troops before you go off the deep end with a week’s worth of posts about this.