2. The Republican and conservative political industrial complex needs to learn about mass communications

As I write this in January 2014, there is no mechanism for conveying the message to the public at large about policy solutions put forth by Republican and conservatives. None. Let me say it another way: if our leaders were to finally decide to show leadership and aggressively seek to sell policy proposals to their fellow citizens they would have to rely on their opponents to get the word out.

That’s right — they’d be almost fully dependent upon the old, dominant, liberal and corrupt media establishment to carry the Republican/conservative gospel to the masses. Oh, but you say, the political right has the Fox News Network and talk radio and countless websites to do that job. Let me suggest that those three things you just mentioned are mostly vehicles for preaching to the choir. Yes, some evangelism takes place through those outlets. Some. Some ain’t gonna cut it.

Wait a minute, you counter, where are those billions of dollars being spent if not to reach the uninformed and misinformed? I’ve got some very bad news for you. Very bad news. That money is mostly spent to give people a paycheck to perform narrowly defined jobs, none of which involves mass communication that reaches those who need to hear the message the most.

Again, a reader might disagree, saying that they know of think tanks and issue advocacy organizations that have marketing and public relations professionals on their staff. Let me explain why that’s nice — but also not good enough. For twenty-five years I’ve watched competent people with proven private sector abilities enter politics only to see their competence melt away. Group-think is a phenomenon because human behavior is contagious. Likewise, the small-mindedness of those who work in politics is so strong that it damages what otherwise would be clear thinking on the part of those who enter the arena.

Biver, some will say, you’re crazy and you’re exaggerating — there are plenty of top-rate people in politics. Maybe so, but you tell me where can I find examples of that top-rate-ness having an impact on the changing of public opinion. I’ll grant that political technology advances, policy proposals continue to get refined, and more good people step into the fray on a daily basis. But who is leading the charge on solving the biggest problem we face? Who is experimenting and innovating and aggressively trying old and new ways to win support for conservative solutions?

Every year new political celebrities arise and some succeed, such as it is, in the game. They raise a lot of money for and expand a think tank. They get a talk radio gig. They start a political action committee that writes checks to many worthy candidates. Or they get elected themselves and, like the rest of the people I just listed, see God’s gift in the mirror every morning.

I’ve addressed all of this before but let us, for the sake of new readers, pass in review. I love think tanks, but they are all micro-communicators with such a limited reach you would think those running it would be able to grasp the fact that they are wasting most of the money their donors contribute.

Talk radio is the quintessential preach-to-the-choir entity. Yes, people get converted through it at times but the 2008 and 2012 cycles should disabuse anyone of the notion that scores of the misinformed and uninformed are tuning in.

Political action committees are a dime a dozen, and while they are needed and critical to future success, their current modus operandi demonstrates perfectly the insanity of just doing more of the same while expecting a different result.

Regarding the newly elected person who sees a demi-god while shaving or putting on make-up — I’ll link to places where I’ve addresses this delusion before — the first is found in these articles:

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington v. The Invisible Man

Small ball v. making an impact

Public opinion leaders v. the hired help

Where’s Waldo? State legislators and their caucuses

The Right Honorable (and Useless) members of congress

The second (which especially applies to some think tankers and talk radio show hosts), is found here: The Untold Story of History: Political Psychopaths (and Other Maladies of the Mind).

Let me finish this post where I started: there is currently no mechanism for conveying the policy solutions put forth by Republicans and conservatives to the American public at large. It would seem to me that this is something that must be addressed forthwith.

So let us continue this discussion tomorrow.