There are No Conservative Elites — Everyone Must Give Time to Street-Level Politics

This discussion from the past few days isn’t just aimed at involving people that stand completely outside of the political arena (except for maybe on election day). The conservatives who serve in the “commentariate” or otherwise work in or around government and politics also have responsibilities as citizens.

For example, let’s focus in on three particular groups. First, say you host a radio talk show. You think you’re already involved in the work of reaching the uninformed and misinformed. Not necessarily. Chances are most of your audience is already in the camp of the convinced. The odds are your show is mostly about preaching to or providing entertainment for the choir. Like millions of others I enjoy Rush Limbaugh’s show — but he doesn’t get a pass either. In fact, his recent venture into writing children’s books shows he agrees that we all must do more to bring information to people of all ages. Think about that — Rush has millions of people in his audience but still isn’t satisfied. Neither should the rest of the radio talkers.

The same goes for opinion column writers. Yes, even you high-flying 30,000 feeters — the political royalty that has their brilliant prose grace the pages of publications like the Washington Times or National Review. Here’s some bad news: the liberals reading the left-slanted Google News or the Huffington Post are not clicking over to read what you have to say. And you can bet your backside the low information voters don’t even know you exist. Like most conservative talk radio shows, conservative pundits mostly inform or entertain the already converted. Thus, sharing your wisdom via the printed word doesn’t meet your obligation as an American in the public square.

To my friends and allies in the think tank community, the same goes for you. You might be tempted to think your new study on the economic pitfalls of big government trumps the countless other studies and op eds on the economic pitfalls of big government dating back to the 1970s — but it doesn’t. And the odds of the uninformed or misinformed learning of your learned research are slim to none.

Yes, I realize your think tank is prestigious, well funded, and the donors are always kept happy. You shouldn’t let that deceive you. You’re still failing and the political left is still succeeding. Remember your last conference where a group of experts were brought in to expertly discuss how everything is going to hell in a handbasket? Did you hear anyone say your next study will be the magic bullet? If you did, then the lot of you are more confused than most.

Publishing something or blabbing on endlessly over the airwaves has its purpose — but Obama got elected and reelected years after the rise of the “new media,” and decades after the Heritage Foundation was established and Rush Limbaugh became nationally syndicated.

We still have a nation filled with low information voters. We still don’t have not enough good candidates running for office. Everyone has a duty to help serve at this level because we still have a lot of blue districts and states that can be turned red. The missing political link is easy to identify. Too many conservatives expect someone else to do the street level work — where elections are won and lost.

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