Friday, November 17, 2006

Republicans: Our problem is NOT that we are "too nice."

Good Lord, not remotely. From our elected politicians to our media favorites to our bloggers - high, middle, and low - we can be as brainlessly mean and nasty in victory and as childish and wretched in defeat as any non-Reublican was in 2004.

I bring this up after going through a couple of posts at Hot Air. The first, a link to Zell-Miller-Democrat Orson Scott Card's call for Republicans to start encroaching on the Democrat's most valable turf, the Old Media, would carry more weight for me - even after our losing this latest election round - if it weren't for the constant harping by our New Media heroes about the death of that same Old Media (the L.A. Times being just one delicious example). I don't think we lost the election because the MSM had the edge.

The second post, following a related line of thought, points out that Republicans and conservative bloggers are starting to lose the information wars in the New Media arena as well. Our problem there? We're too damn independant and wary of lock-step blogging.

Well, maybe. Many responding to that post seem to think that our presence in the information arenas is the key to turnining things around, fighting fire with fire and etc. As one puts it:

The liberal blogs actually INSTRUCT their readers to Digg EVERYTHING … and they do. Liberals beat us on the internet because they are radical and aggressive in their tactics and they actually work as a group to change things.

We do not. We sit in here and complain about their fanatical actions and lose while we’re patting ourselves on the back for being more civilized.

Same thing with the immigration debate. They are out on the streets marching, protesting, and doing what it takes to impact policy. Meanwhile, we conservatives have a tough time getting 50 people to show up at a Boycott Miller event.

While liberals are pacifists when it comes to real war … they kick our ass when it comes to political activism. We will continue to lose until we find a way to motivate ourselves into taking action in ways other than using a keyboard.
"Concur!" says another. "That is the problem, beautifully stated, of EVERYTHING WRONG WITH CONSERVATIVES. WE ARE TOO DAMNED NICE!!"

Well, once again, maybe. Not about the "too nice" thing, but about our need to increase our presence on the streets as well.

Except that doesn't quite get to the real problem currently facing the Republicans right now. If you want know why we're losing elections now, and why even if by some quirk of chance we win some in 2008 there's still a chance it won't do conservative causes any good, including what apparently only we are capable of perceiving as a War on Terror, I urge you to check out a couple of recent posts by Dean Barnett.

The problem, put simply, is that our elected officials - the ones we've been carrying water for - don't know any more about the world around them than your average reader of the New York Times.


Read some more.

Too lazy to click and read? Here's the gist:

One thing most every reader of conservative blogs comprehends is the existential stakes of the current war. People who read blogs are high end gatherers of news. They’re outliers, but in a very good way. They’re people like my friend, Dr. (of medicine, i.e. a real doctor) Andy Bostom who reacted to 9/11 by learning everything he could about Islam. The product of his research was the thorough and seminal book, “The Legacy of Jihad.”

I’m always astonished by how well informed the readers of a site like this one are. Since I put out a call for books that might help our congressmen get up to speed, I’ve been deluged by responses. Blog readers are high end news consumers, and by nature intellectually curious.

Now imagine if you didn’t read blogs and didn’t read books. Picture all the things that you know now that you wouldn’t know if you left your news gathering to the tender mercies of the mainstream media’s editorial decisions. You’d probably be unaware of the ghastly fate that awaits 200 French automobiles each evening at the hands of rampaging “youths.” You’d definitely be unaware of the youths’ affiliation with certain religious practices.

If all your news came from newspapers, you wouldn’t understand how numerous, determined and flat-out crazy our enemies are. You wouldn’t know how widespread the phenomenon of Radical Islam is because the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal don’t report it. Every now and then you would stumble over an editorial or op-ed piece highlighting a particularly pathological incident, but you would have no concept of how massive the problem is.

AND THIS IS WHERE WE CLOSE THE LOOP. I’ve long wondered how our leaders can be so unserious about the fight we’re in given the existential stakes. Now I get it – they just don’t understand the stakes. The newspapers haven’t told them that we’re in a fight for our lives. Lord knows the intelligence agencies don’t get it. And now we know the congressmen themselves take either no or precious little initiative to educate themselves.

So on the left you get relentless partisanship because they don’t understand that there are larger issues involved. On the right you get mantra-like chanting of “We must win in Iraq” but with little understanding of how the battle in Iraq fits in with the greater war. This explains why we haven’t heard a single one of our leaders offer a vision of how we’re going to not only “win” in Iraq but how we’re also going to “win” in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. They do not grasp the size of our challenge.
This has been some tough crow to eat. I "became political," for lack of a better phrase, in our post-9/11, pre-War with Iraq phase. We Republicans were riding - well, not high, exactly - but we still had some play. I got interested in the sport just as my team was in its winning streak.

Now my team isn't content to merely lose; it seems determined to refuse to change a single thing in its playbook. There will be no new Contract With America from this current loser-remainder of knuckleheads, I'm afraid.

Hang on - I've gotten a little off field, here.


Right. My point, then, is that having more control and presence at liberal/Democrat stomping grounds won't help us unless we have something to present that goes beyond a mere checklist of conservative/Republican tropes. We already have that, and our politicians don't look at it anymore.

Solution? Throw the bums out. Theirs and ours.

Or at least let's put some of this fabled conservative-blogswarm prowess in the direction of our currently deaf and blind elected representatives and initiate our own house-cleaning. I suspect a good kick in the pants from the heretofore-taken-for-granted water-carriers would be a very, very good thing, and remind them that the New Media has created a very new kind of voter, one that didn't exist when the GOP's Contract With American was originally made.

Who should honestly be working harder for whom in this ridiculous relationship, after all?
Greetings, fellow fretboard junkies.

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