We had better not be the losing team these next two years… This article is from the Dispatches archive — a version of it was posted at BarbWire.com in February 2014:
Republican and conservative politics today is much like a big company with no marketing department or advertising budget. Instead, much of what exists can be labeled a “Republican/conservative political industrial complex.” While it is populated with a lot of great people doing important work, little of that work actually involves aggressive outreach to the uninformed and misinformed.
As a result of this, there is no mechanism for effectively disseminating the conservative message to America. None. If our side was to decide to sell a policy it would have to rely on its political enemies, primarily the media, to get the world out. What are the chances of that strategy succeeding?
Those who are already political conservatives know where to get reliable information — for example, on websites like this one. They’re not the folks, though, who need to hear it. They’re already on our side. As I wrote recently, what’s needed is political evangelism.
We all know the radical political left wing controls most of the K-12 and “higher” education systems. Likewise pop culture and the old but still dominant media. That reality begs several questions. Here are just a few:
1. How is this country every going to be put back on the right track? What, exactly is going to change and how is that change going to take place?
2. Is the liberal media going to have a change of heart and begin to report on liberalism’s failures and write news stories about how conservatives offer a different approach? If so, what will bring about this change of heart?
3. Will our Republican leaders have a change of heart and begin to lead with courage and determination? If so, what will bring about this change of heart?
4. How do most Americans get their news and information? (Obviously there are many different ways….through family, friends and neighbors…through local, regional, or national press outlets…through Hollywood and its regularly politicized entertainment…through TV shows and films which mostly have a left-wing bent…and through the K-College educations systems that are run by liberals.)
5. Do you realize that not everyone in the country tunes into conservative talk radio, watches the Fox News Network, or dials up all of the great conservative websites? Do you realize that not everyone gets their information the same way you do? (Yes, this is a two-part question and I’m being very serious in asking.)
6. If it is true that a minority of the country seeks out conservative news and commentary, how do you think this information will reach the majority?
7. Do you think people like the Founding Fathers and others like Abraham Lincoln were misguided when they spoke and wrote about the importance of shaping public sentiment? If they weren’t misguided, do you think Republicans and conservatives are serious about doing so? If you think they are, please send me examples of this seriousness.
8. The perception of Republicans and conservatives by many Americans borders on or is a cartoon characterization. They (we) are seen as the party of the rich and/or backward-minded haters. The Democrats and liberals are seen as “cool” and compassionate. How do you think this has come about and what are Republicans and conservatives doing to counter this silliness with the truth?
9. Do you think that effective marketing, advertising, outreach and large-scale public education projects are the sole province of private sector companies, non-profits, and the Democratic Party and their left-wing allies? If not, please name any quality examples of such efforts on the part of Republicans and conservatives.
It’s not complicated. It’s all about public opinion. Our side fiddles while America’s economy and culture and position in the world burn.
Up next: So, what’s the plan?