What I’ve been saying since the second Reagan term: Our guys aren’t in the mass communications business

What happens when we cede K-12, higher ed, pop culture, and the big scale media to the political left-wing and then only hire political consultants to counteract the pollution caused by all of the above? Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 happens.

My friends, some of the post-election analysis is laughable, but that’s the case after every Republican defeat. Compare two sets of headlines — the first can be found on this page — it’s Dave Diersen‘s terrific daily email Illinois news digest.

Tears, sadness, confusion, angst, and some of the most confused interpretations about what happened on Tuesday you’ll find anywhere. One of the few worth reading is here.

Also highly recommended — check out Andrew Klavan’s article here.

I’ve been banging my head against the wall for decades — especially when talking with some of the big-money guys who think Karl Rove’s way is the way. Others know big-money guys who prefer to live in a fantasy world and who are incapable of learning despite years of evidence that should’ve opened their eyes. None of their business smarts translates into political smarts. None.

I’ve been a Karl Rove critic for many years. He’s got a few skills, yes, but he doesn’t understand the big picture:

  • We’re not reaching people, and too many of those we do reach we don’t genuinely connect with or win over.
  • The left is ever engaged in evangelism, while our side only feeds the choir through talk radio, boutique magazines and websites. (That is not the way to increase your numbers.)

Remember, George W. Bush won the presidency by one state in 2000, and after having the biggest megaphone in the world for four years, Bush won reelection again by just one state. Two years later Nancy Pelosi (of all people) became U.S. House Speaker—that was following twelve years of GOP squandering their congressional bully pulpit. After eight years of a GOP White House, Obama (of all people) entered the Oval Office.

It’s not complicated, and I’d love to hear your theories as to why the brains of otherwise intelligent people freeze up when they encounter this explanation.

I’ve written countless columns on this — here’s just one passage:

Morton Frisch and Richard Stevens in their book, “ American Political Thought: The Philosophic Dimension of American Statesmanship,” wrote that big policy challenges requires leadership that is able to—

“…take the whole nation to school.”

The nation needs candidates and elected leaders who are able and willing to take citizens to school, and who will accomplish the task that their role demands.

Here’s another way to sum up the problem. Our guys aren’t in the mass communications business. Few campaigns amount to anything more than a 30-second commercial or bumper sticker, which, they think, can counter-act the 24/7/365 messaging efforts of the political left-wing. After election day, our guys pretty much disappear.

Who do I mean about “our guys”? The literally tens of thousands of candidates, campaign consultants, elected officials and their staffs, and unfortunately most of those who work for conservative policy advocacy organizations.

These two quotes are on the home page of my website and have been for a long time:

“Politics is an information war, and our side does a lousy job of fighting.”

“The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.”

But from National Review to Capitol Hill to state legislative offices across the country, the belief in horse and buggy communications lives on.

Below is the other list of headlines that should be compared with the one linked above. If you don’t like me saying I told you so then you should stop reading here. I’ve seen this coming for a long time. The problem is the competence and vision of our side. Until that’s addressed, Illinois will remain a fiscal disaster blue state and national elections will be difficult to win. And when it comes to state and federal spending, the tax code, energy policy, entitlement reform etc., etc., forget about it. As I’ve written often, political reform must come before policy reform.

Read ’em and weap. On Leadership and Political Communication:


Political consultants continue to doom the Republican Party (From April 2008!)

How to win the 8th Congressional District (From April 2008!)


Counterinsurgency: An operations manual conservatives

Modern political communications

Political troops, energy and action

Resurgence is possible with new generals and an updated field manual


Raiders of the Lost Ark

In search of political magic fairy dust (Part 1)

In search of political magic fairy dust (Part 2)

In search of political magic fairy dust (Part 3)

Wimpy conservatives need to toughen up for the fight


The dumbest generation?

Psychoanalyzing conservative elected officials


It’s High Noon again for Republican state legislators

We need GOP leaders who are good at math

It’s time for a new generation of leaders in the Republican Party

A lot of work will be required to regain lost ground

Political power: Use it or lose it


A Sherman-like warning needed for Republicans

Republican money, metrics, and lines of communication

GOP dominated by political socialites instead of public opinion leaders

Political battlefields to reach the middle third

Now hiring political fighters

Self government and a republic in name only


Beyond commentary and analysis and getting to the cure

The GOP’s problems extend well beyond Hastert’s old district

A GOP civic and political culture reformation is required

Republican failures make a renaissance necessary


Why we need Republican elected officials in the fight

Palin v. Biden and the opportunities of a vice presidential debate

Preparing Sarah Palin: First, fire all the consultants


Wanted: People with the ability to lead

Fixing the failure of our Republican politicians

Republicans continue to fail in their duty to sell

It’s not complicated, but Republican leaders still don’t get it


Horse and buggy legislators – The Last Hurrah

Republican leaders need to come out of the wilderness

Elected Republicans are failing on the big issues

Voters know our leaders aren’t getting the job done


Where the Power is and What is Needed

Political realism, change, and reform

Want change and reform? Personnel is policy

Public opinion and political organization


Our Hastert-led IL Republican Congressional delegation has failed us

The wasted Congressional bully pulpit

Gen. Petraeus and Amb. Crocker help the IL GOP Cong. delegation do its job

Republicans who won’t lead on Iraq War debate can’t lead on other issues


All Politics is NOT Local

“All politics is marketing”

What the political class doesn’t want to do but better start

What’s politically possible won’t change as long as Republican politicians “don’t like to think”

What elected Republicans owe for that ballot line


History, harsh politics, and tough words

Honey and vinegar and reality politics

Republicans don’t understand how to get to a good compromise on policy issues

Illinois GOP members of congress and the health care debate


Public Opinion quotes from Washington, Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln