I hear so much gloom and doom among the Republicans, especially among the older folks. So often what they rant about is that the party establishment doesn’t listen to them and Hillary is inevitable. I suspect they worry that USA will all be a bunch of marijuana-toking gay couples who came illegally from Mexico before long. Baloney. They are listening to too much TV. TV journalists use a standard filler for their shows which is to put guests pro and con on a subject. He said, she said. And so they go round and round and you learn little from two party hacks with little new to say. What you need is astute analysis and fresh looks at things. So at the risk of showing my own meager resources, I would like to recommend some reading. Yes, reading. Stop looking at all those stupid unverifiable videos somebody forwards you on the internet. Read from good insights on the internet, books and papers.
First are some classic websites. Rushlimabugh.com will catch you up on Rush’s latest insights. He is an astute observer most of the time and almost always right about politics. His Friday program contained 2 terrific pieces about the Walker Revolution in Wisconsin which has not been covered much and another “If the Tea Party is so powerful, what happened in 2012?” Townhall.com is also superb although the multitude of opinionists often concentrate on the current BS in the news. A couple of guys who don’t do this are Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell. They are hard core intellectuals who analyze problems instead of writing in the heat of the moment. Dennis Prager and Jonah Goldberg also share this ability. But if you like to be entertained with the current snit, Ann Coulter and Doug Giles are slam bam in your face writers full of quips. Daniel Mitchell is a great economist who works for CATO Institute.
Speaking of being entertained, GOPbriefingroom.com has Pookie’s Toons, a daily collection of conservative political cartoons. I find this addictively funny.
If you want facts, Real Clear Politics and Heritage Foundation are good suppliers. If you are wanting to watch the news, Drudge Report and Newsmax are good. Drudge is very offbeat and up-to-the-miinute. If you want Christian news try OneNewsNow.com. Supplement this with the magazine by American Family Association. For political races, Real Clear Politics gives mainstream views and RedState.com gives conservative views of these. For Oklahoma news the old standard is Newsok.com (The Oklahoman) and Oklahoma Constitution paper. McCarville Report is also a good source.
Despite all of this reading, I find it often skips basic understandings, long term views and hard knowledge that you need to know. So here are a list of books that are great. Some aren’t new.
Ann Coulter’s Slander and Glenn Beck’s Arguing with Idiots are the best insights into liberal tactics and mindsets with suggestions about how to counter them. ( If you like to revisit old history, Coulter’s Treason is stunning documented truth about McCarthyism’s myths that everyone thinks are true.) Mark Levin’s Liberty and Tyranny is absolutely superb treatise on what conservatism is and how it operates so much better than anything else man has tried. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism shows what we are up against and how the modern Democrat party has swerved into National Socialism. Tom Coburn’s Debt Bomb and Glenn Beck’s Broke will scare you to death and make you rethink your investments.
So what can we do about progressivism? Newt Gingrich’s two books with the same sounding titles, Restoring America and Real Change have a lot of solutions. I know Newt is idea-a-minuteman, but his books are a huge collection of food for thought. Another one is Mitch Daniel’s Keeping the Republic which Tom Sowell is a huge fan of. Daniels is kind of a moderate and can’t speak eloquently but is a big problem solver.
But before we get to problem solving in politics I think it is important to understand how politics works. Catherine Shaw’s Campaign Manager is very in depth about campaigns and I find her Democrat perspective neutral enough to be educational.
Although this book was written long before 2009, she unlocks the problem Republicans are having with the Establishment/Tea Party controversy. Let me share two insights. First, to win in politics takes both money and grassroots efforts. A local race it takes grassroots—door knocking, calls, candidate in front of small groups of 10-30 people. A state-wide race takes money for TV and radio time ads, newspaper ads, big speech events, etc. Yet a local race needs ads, direct mail and door hangers, which cost a lot of money.. And having grassroots for state and national races gives an important counterpoint to all the media blitz. Dems use union slave labor as grassroots. Republicans in big state and national races, have yet to discover the seniors and tea partiers as this resource. Alas, they fit the Tea Party hand in glove. But “establishment” guys in Washington are R’s who have won with big money in the past races and they listen to that big money. They relied on money because ordinary Republicans didn’t do much work in years past. The county Republican party was often a group of about 6 people. So who has money? Groups like Chamber of Commerce, NFIB, Farm Bureau, and businesses—they usually are conservative in charter but will sometimes violate this in order to get on the government gravy train with pet programs. Meanwhile Tea Partiers came into the game as rank amateurs, sometimes spouting unguarded insults and promoting rigid stances that offend the vast majority of voters. Just being right won't get you anywhere in politics. It has to be acceptable.
But the smart candidates recognize their affinity with the grassroots. I watch Tom Coburn walk around his audience at a town hall and talk about government like a wisened doc telling his patient both the bad and good news. He gets 70% of the vote. If he wanted a mammoth grass roots organization, he could command this. He speaks the language of conservative values and beliefs that few will disagree with. So the answer to bringing establishment and grassroots together is simple. Have plain-spoken and faithful candidates. Get the grassroots active.
And here’s why Shaw tells why this is so vital in politics, actually more vital to R’s than D’s. Independents aren’t the holy grail. They are a diverse group, some with wild beliefs that no party will satisfy. And they vote half as often as partisans. It is better to turn out your base than to chase for a few percentage points more among independents. Indeed, if your policies and philosophy are coherent and seem right, independents will be drawn to your party. This is pure Reagan. Now here’s the thing. Conservatives are about 40% of the electorate while liberals are roughly 20%. If you are promoting conservatism, getting out the base is the premier tactic. On the other hand, if you are promoting liberalism, you not only have to get out the base but win over a lot of moderates and independents. Hence they promote identity politics. That’s why so many of the political adivisers, operatives, and journalists who dominate the news media, drone-on about appealing to moderation and getting the independent vote.
But what the R’s need to do is replay 2010!