A 2009 Gallup poll reveals that conservatives outnumber liberals two to one, but it also reveals that the real battle is to win the hearts and minds of the great American middle mass—the moderates.[i]
This poll revealed that in every state of the nation conservatives outnumber liberals—the only exception is the liberal-land of Washington D.C. What about the “left coast”? California has 7% more conservatives than liberals. What about the mecca of liberalism, New York? New York has 6% more conservatives than liberals. What about the home of the godfather of American liberalism, Ted Kennedy? Even in Massachusetts, conservatives outnumber liberals by 1%. Vermont ties that. Who would have thought it? Even in the liberal battleground for public unions, Wisconsin has 17% more conservatives than liberals.
So, why are conservatives taking a beating? PR! Liberals have proven that they are the masters of public relations campaigns—masters of spin (euphemism for lies). Their successes can also be credited to a lame-brained liberal media that has slanted their reports in favor of the left for decades. Until the rise of the new media of internet, radio, and cable news, liberals had a monopoly upon what “news” was spoon-fed to the public.
Now, the “searchers” for truth can “Google” another opinion, listen to talk radio, or tune into Fox News. These renegade “news” sources are driving liberals nuts, and their efforts to re-institute the “fairness doctrine” have doubled and tripled—proving they are scared and that they really do not believe in free speech.
This Gallup poll reveals that conservatives have the advantage—with one little caveat. We do not have a majority—only about 40%. Even in the most liberal states like Vermont and Massachusetts, conservatives have a 1% advantage.
However, throughout all fifty states and even the District of Columbia, the self-identified moderates hold from 32% to 43%. No doubt, some of these probably lean left and others lean right and some could care less. BUT THIS IS OUR BATTLEGROUND—CONVINCING THE GREAT MIDDLE MODERATES!
In every state, conservatives have the advantage, which means that in order to win elections, we must convince fewer of the moderates than the liberals. Even with this advantage, we must overcome the overwhelming overt efforts of the liberal media to mislead, misinform, and misrepresent the conservative viewpoint. In other words, this battle is not for the weak or timid.
With boldness, conservatives must proclaim their message. We do have a secret weapon that liberals do not have—the truth. Liberals always wrap their deception around poll tested words, phrases, and ten second sound bites. To counter that, conservatives must be relentless in always doing one thing—speak the truth, without fear and without favor. Conservative candidates have an added responsibility—they must not only speak the truth, but they must also back it up with bold actions.
The great mistake of Rhino Republicans is that they think this great middle mass of moderates is more liberal than conservative. However, it should be self-evident that they are not liberal in their thinking or else they would have said so. It is also evident that they have become disillusioned with many of the liberal promises like “hope and change.” Within a few months, the sugar-coated poison has begun to sour in their mouth. Yet, the Rhinos think that they can win the moderates with the same sugar-coated appeals. It never works! Besides that, this tactic turns off the true conservatives, and the Rhino loses big time—hello—ever heard of John McCain—future generations will not remember. If we want to win, we must not let them forget.
Yet, conservatives cannot take these voters for granted. It is also evident that these people are leery of conservatives—probably because all they know about us comes through the “rose colored” lens of liberal television. Take the great battle in Wisconsin. The conservative governor is failing in the PR war. Governor Walker’s message is not getting out. He has stood strong, but the media interprets that as uncompromising unconcern for the poor, hard-working teachers. Meany! Meany!
Never mind the truth—that Wisconsin is bankrupt. Never mind the truth that if the budget is not balanced, teachers are going to lose their jobs—along with a host of other public workers. Never mind the truth that if the budget is not balanced, Wisconsin will lose businesses, unemployment will increase, and state revenues will fall—in short everyone will be hurting, except the union bosses, gloating over their “victory over the capitalist pigs.”
So, how can conservatives win this battle? What advice would you give Governor Walker? No doubt, the worst advice costs nothing. But, why are politicians paying millions for misguided advice—it’s obviously “misguided” when it fails miserably to hit the target. For conservatives to win they must consider some basics.
First, we must fight fire with fire. Whenever the liberals shout their ten second sound bites, the conservative must have a better one—a ten second sound bite that will shock and knock the socks off the listener. Surely, these politicians can find someone who knows how to turn a phrase. Yet, the key is to be prepared—super prepared—always a step ahead. Over and over, conservatives watch their heroes turn to zeroes by stammering and stumbling for five minutes while the liberal repeats his ten-second sound bite. KISS—keep is short stupid. Get a ten second sound bite and repeat it until you turn blue in the face. When will conservatives learn this? I hope soon!
Secondly, I believe in taking two giant steps forward, and if you have to, then take a small step backward. Republicans have been notorious for taking two giant steps backward and calling it compromise. Conservatives are not fools. We understand that compromise is often needed, but, for goodness sakes, learn the difference between compromise and retreat.
Learn a lesson from Obama. In all eight years, Bush’s largest deficit was about 400 billion dollars, and he added over a trillion dollars to the debt. The liberal Democrats were screaming bloody-murder, “Clinton gave Bush a surplus, and he has ruined our balanced budget and enlarged the debt.” So, what did liberal Democrat Obama do when he became president—increase Bush’s greatest deficit by fourfold and increased Bush’s debt fivefold. Where are the screams of bloody-murder now? What did Obama just do—take five giant steps forward. Well, the newly elected Republicans press for “spending cuts” of a hundred billion dollars. Obama cries foul. Liberals say these draconian cuts will ruin the economy. They have kicked and screamed over these cuts. Has anyone done the math? Obama increased the deficit over a trillion dollars each year in office. What kind of cut is 100 billion dollars? Nothing! Go back to the 2008 budget and cut 100 billion dollars and you have really “cut” the budget. But, a 100 billion dollar cut in a trillion dollar increase is still an increase of 900 billion dollars—hello—is anybody out there? What has Obama just done? He has taken three giant steps forward and grudgingly backed up six inches.
My point is: when will Republicans learn to do that with conservative principles? What they should have done is to propose a two trillion dollar cut—now, that is two giant steps in the right direction—and then compromise by grudgingly giving the liberals 500 billion dollars. Now, do the math? We have a real cut of about 300 billion dollars.[ii] (I used the 2010 budget figures—2011 doesn’t have a budget—as you may know). Wow! That is a real cut that takes us back to the 2008 budget.[iii] Shazaam! That is a real giant step in the right direction. That is what we conservatives want to see. However, what the Republicans are doing now is playing the Democratic shell game while the Democrats laugh all the way to the bank—we cry all the way from the bank. Watch carefully as the Democrats flim-flam the Republicans once again over the 2012 budget battle. Even if Republicans get 500 billion dollars in cuts—it is not a cut until you erase all of Obama’s giant—two trillion dollar—steps. Democrats succeed because they know that most people are not watching the numbers closely, yet conservatives get that sick feeling while watching the national debt rise to new heights.
Thirdly, can’t conservative politicians hire one advisor that knows where the bold steps forward should be taken? Can’t they hire one writer that knows how to turn a phrase? One minute after the PR battle turns south, the present crop of advisors should get their pink slips. Perhaps the problem is that our politicians keep getting their help from the same pickled Rhino barrel. Find a new source—and fast, before the battle is completely lost.
One more basic tactict! When will conservatives learn to get ahead of the curve and stay there? If you will remember, Democrats started their “ten-second-sound-bite” war months and months ago. Before Republican ever said the first word about tackling Social Security, Democrats started lobbing their opinion-poll-tested bombs at Republicans. What did Republicans do? That’s right! Nothing! They ignored it. Well, now they are behind the public opinion “8-ball,” and do not seem to know how to escape without “scratching.”
When will Republicans learn from Clinton? Who gets the credit for balancing the budget and leaving a surplus for President Bush? That’s right—Clinton—although that’s dead wrong. Does anyone remember the tax and spend Bill Clinton, who lost the 1994 mid-term elections? Does anyone remember Newt and his Contract with America? Part of that contract was to balance the budget. Does anyone remember who screamed bloody murder and said that the budget could not be balanced until 2010 without destroying the economy? That’s right—it was the liberal Democrats. Who really balanced the budget? Newt and the Republicans in Congress accomplished it two or three years before Clinton left office. So, why do most people today think that Clinton balanced the budget and left a surplus for President Bush? I hope you guessed it—that’s right—Clinton and liberal Democrats got out in front of the curve and stayed there. Once, they realized how popular it was; they never stopped claiming they had balanced the budget. With the help of the liberal media, most people today have no idea about what really happened. Who do you think will get the blame for Obama’s deficits? You’re first two guesses don’t count!
Now, when you examine the budgets from President Bush to the present, you will get some surprises. From 2001 to 2005 there were budget surpluses.[iv] Under Bush the income to the federal treasury steadily increased because of the tax cuts.[v] However, in 2006 the Democrats under Pelosi and Reed took control of Congress. In 2008, the Democrats won the presidency with Barack Obama. Since that time, well, Al Gore said it best, “The things that should be up are down, and the things that should be down are up.” In 2006, unemployment was 4.6%; now, it is over 9%. In 2006, 26 million people were on food stamps; now, it is over 42 million. In 2006 the Social Security “lock box” received 100 billion dollars more than it spent; now, it is spending more than it takes in.[vi] But, here is my point: who is getting the blame? That’s right—Bush! The simple truth is that Republicans stay behind the curve while Democrats know how to take credit when they didn’t do it and blame their opponents when it’s their own fault. Conservatives must learn to get ahead of the curve and stay there. Anticipate!
Finally, according to the Gallup poll, our task should be easy—much easier than the Democrats. If liberals make up 20% of the population, then they have around 60 million followers and must convince 90 million moderates to join them just to win an election. That is a tremendous task, but they succeed over and over again because they have learned some basic principles about PR.
On the other hand, conservatives have 40% of the population or about 120 million followers. To win elections, they only need to convince 30 million people to join them, yet they often fail to defeat Democrats. This poll is telling us that if we were just half as effective at PR as the Democrats, then conservatives would win ten times more often. It’s a no-brainer! Even in traditional Democratic controlled states, conservatives should win more often than they lose. What’s wrong? You tell me!
In spite of our advantage, that great middle mass of moderates have been watching Republicans make these same basic mistakes over and over. Why should they trust conservatives? It’s not the conservative message that they are rejecting; it’s the muddled meaningless method of mollifying moderates that they reject. Reagan clearly and boldly demonstrated that great victories lie ahead for conservatives if they can only find a voice—someone like Reagan who will tell the truth with confidence and clarity. He even won the hearts of Democrats—ever heard of Reagan Democrats.
“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” That’s leadership that gets results and wins the hearts and minds of the great middle mass of moderates.