By Steve Deace:
The 2012 election provided both plenty of hard lessons for conservatives, but also a useful road map of how to win the future:
1. The truth still sets us free.
Yes, the mainstream media favors liberals, but just giving our yin to their yang doesn’t produce truth—it just produces another echo chamber. I couldn’t believe how many conservatives I know and trust who really thought Romney was going to win, and win convincingly, despite the fact several polling models with a 96% accuracy rate in the past two presidential elections said otherwise.
Our version of propaganda is no truer than their version of propaganda.
I say this in love, but brothers and sisters, some of our brethren are dangerously close to becoming the magically thinking, virtual reality-living creatures we accuse the Democrat base of being. If we want to advance truth, we need to believe the truth ourselves—even when it’s inconvenient. And the truth is we are no longer the dominant view in the culture, and we have some work to do to change that.
2. Hypocrisy doesn’t sell.
Pollster Scott Rasmussen once told me the single most unpopular piece of legislation in recent American history was the (in my opinion criminal) TARP bailout of 2008. Yet we nominated a candidate who was for it in the next presidential election. Good luck going to Toledo and telling Ohioans making $15/hour who think their job was saved by the auto industry bailout that they didn’t deserve a government handout, but Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs did.
Sometimes we just write the Democrats’ commercials for them.
3. Cast a vision.
After the Democrats lost an election in 2004 they probably shouldn’t have lost, the more principled-progressive wing of the party took over. The result was an anti-Bush liberal uprising in 2006 similar to the anti-Obama Tea Party uprising of 2010. Next, the new progressives defeated the more pragmatic Clintons head-to-head in a presidential primary. Obama ran for president promising his base he would move the ball down the field for them with their crown jewel legislation—Obamacare.
He then went right back to that base in 2012 and worked the exact same get-out-the-vote model that worked in 2008.
He embraced his base, even on social issues, both in the White House and at his convention. While we were scoffing at him for never moderating, Obama was energizing his base all along in preparation for a tough re-election. The progressives cast a vision that took more than one election cycle, followed it through, and won. They never detoured no matter what the facts were on the ground because they have courage of conviction that their vision is what’s best for the country. They wanted to win to govern. The Republican ruling class wants to govern to win. The Democrats want to run a country. The Republican ruling class wants to run a party.
3. Stop demonizing our neighbors.
We called Bill Clinton every name in the book and even impeached him, and that didn’t work. We called Obama every name in the book (some of them were even true), and all we did was help him to portray his failures as Bush’s fault and energize his base all the more. We called Sandra Fluke a “slut” and all we did was scare even more skittish advertisers away from conservative talk radio.
Yes, there is a double standard here. You should see some of the Tweets I received after appearing on MSNBC, like when someone tweeted he hoped my daughters would get raped after I defended former U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock. We watch homosexual activists glitter bomb conservatives and can only imagine what would happen if we returned such fire. It’s not fair, but it is what it is.
I am as fiery as the next guy, and at times have not been able to hold my tongue, especially when it’s fun not to. But I’ve learned that while we don’t need to moderate our principles we do need to temper our approach. Ann Coulter-shrillness may sell books to the already-converted, but it’s losing the culture at-large. Yes, the entire Sandra Fluke controversy was a phony, liberal media meme devised to minimize the influence of Limbaugh, the Godfather of conservative media.
But that proves my point.
While we have focused on political results, the Left has focused on changing culture. Culture is the mouth of the river. Politics is what occurs downstream. We wait to battle them on the political level, but by then it’s too late because they have already coordinated their assets in media, pop culture, and technology to create the perception of a narrative. Whether it’s phony or not is irrelevant, because the media is the message. As Lenin once famously said, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.”
As a result of surrendering culture to the Left, we no longer have a country that accepts many of our premises. Thus we have to go into — pardon the phrase — evangelism mode. That requires a relationship and trust, and it’s hard to build that rapport with people while demonizing them. Pardon the cliché, but we need happy warriors. As D.L. Moody once said, “When you’re winsome you win some.”
Steve Deace bio:
Deace’s newly released book: Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again http://stevedeace.com/news/national-politics/rules-for-patriots-how-conservatives-can-win-again/
Click on the image of the book above, or click here, to order a copy!
Deace’s influence in the first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses has already been featured in a slew of national media such as Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, Time, Newsweek, The Atlantic, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. He launched the nationally-syndicated “Steve Deace Show” from 9-Midnight eastern time each weeknight on December 5th, 2011, and already he’s heard in five of the five of the 10 markets in the country—New York City, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Atlanta (as well as 8 other top 50 markets).
Also a prolific writer, since 2011 Deace has been a contributor for USA Today, Politico, Business Insider, Breitbart, WND, Townhall, and The Washington Times. He’s been a guest pundit on all three major cable news networks as well. His youth combined with his writing and broadcast ability makes him uniquely positioned for today’s multimedia environment.
Deace, 39, lives in Iowa with his wife, Amy, and three children Ana (12), Zoe (8), and Noah (6). Living in the heartland helps Deace provide a grassroots conservative perspective often lacking in a beltway media culture that treats Middle America like flyover country.
You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.