“Some Questions for the Losing Team” was the first in a set of articles that ran a month following the original Information War series. This was first posted in January 2014:
This is a selfish post on my part. Below are honest questions for my fellow Republicans and conservatives because I’m failing to grasp something simple — and that is — what is it about macro-communications that’s so difficult to understand?
I’ve argued in this space often that except for a few people like Rush Limbaugh, most Republicans and conservatives are MICRO-communicators. Even those with a sizable audience, at the end of the day, reach very few of the uninformed and misinformed. Take your local talk radio personality. We’ve had over twenty years of politically conservative talk radio from coast to coast and yet our nation still teems with low information voters. How can that be? It’s easy to understand. The audiences for those shows are mostly made up of people who already agree with the host.
The same is the case when it comes to the audience of all the wonderful think tanks, issue advocacy organizations, and the countless conservative news and commentary websites that daily produce a healthy batch of fantastic materials. And yet Republicans and conservatives still struggle election cycle after election cycle to win enough power to be able to enact reforms.
When Republicans do control something — they currently hold the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives — courage is sorely lacking. Its rank and file and leadership still fail to get aggressive about selling policy solutions based upon their party’s platform.
Why is this? I’ve explained it over and over again: the reason why our guys are so feeble and are far more incremental in their approach than the Democrats are when they hold power is because our guys and gals don’t have the first clue about how to win public support for their proposals on a large scale. On top of that they are scared to death of the media.
So here are my questions. Please help me out and send me your answers.
They’re not in any particular order and of course there is a natural bit of overlap.
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. Will there instead be a religious revival that sweeps the country, miraculously changing hearts and minds? I’m not being sarcastic here. I’m all for religious revival much like the one that took place in the decades leading up to the writing of the Declaration of Independence.
5. How do most Americans get their news and information? (Readers of this space already know my answer to this — 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. TV shows and films with a left-wing bent are as familiar as ever. Through the K-College education systems run by liberals.)
6. 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.)
7. 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 rest?
8. 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.
9. 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?
10. 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.
Again, I am seriously seeking answers to the above questions. I could easily come up with another ten that are variations and additions to the above. When I write about the information war I’m addressing something that is staring everyone in the face on a daily basis, and yet, somehow Republicans and conservatives choose to remain in their own little echo chamber, having debates about policies, strategies and tactics — while those debates do nothing to advance the ball down the field because whoever wins the debates still doesn’t reach enough of their uninformed and misinformed fellow citizens.
It’s not complicated. It’s macro v. micro. It’s all about public opinion. Our side fiddles while America’s economy and culture and position in the world burn.
So, you’re a conservative and you have a talk radio show? Write for a big name publication? Work for a think tank or other policy organization? Have published a number of enlightening and provocative books? Lead or belong to a tea party group? Congratulations. Except for one little thing: you’re getting your proverbial backside kicked in the public square by those who wish to fundamentally transform the United States of America.
Please send all answers to the above questions here.
Image credit: National Review.