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How to Win Elections: Don’t be a Stupid Dick

Jim Geraghty has an excellent prescription for the conservative movement, and one I can’t endorse heartily enough. When your opponents best strategy is to paint you as out of touch, nasty, angry dicks, it helps to not be out of touch, nasty, angry dicks. I think a big problem on the right is there’s way too many people who cash in on that kind of thing, and who have a vested interest in perpetuating it.

The GOP also needs a way to appeal to younger voters. Many younger voters believe the current copyright regime is outdated and backwards. Why the GOP embraces the same policy as the Democrats on issues like copyright and intellectual property is beyond me. There would be no political cost embracing the issue and everything to go gain. Because it seemingly makes such a strong strategic case for the GOP, it should be no surprise they want nothing to do with the idea.

30 Responses to “How to Win Elections: Don’t be a Stupid Dick”

  1. Patrick H says:

    Absolutely they need to join to movement to fix the copyright and patent systems. It would be a great way to show they are for the small businesses and people- who are hampered by the system.

  2. Monte says:

    “The GOP also needs a way to appear to younger voters.”

    I think they already do appear to them… as out of touch, nasty, angry dicks. ;)

  3. alcade says:

    I would just like to point out that to the rest of us who actually keep track, the Democrats say much worse. From my perspective – and I admit I’m biased – the anger, bitterness, and vitriol comes disproportionately from the left end of the spectrum.

    Of course, the sycophant media doesn’t report those remarks, but is always sure to get a close-up of someone playing the victim.

    • Guav says:

      You know what other strategy isn’t working? Blaming “the media” for every setback and failure. Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

      • Sebastian says:

        I don’t think that’s appropriate for every failure. Akin and Mourdoch certainly can’t be blamed on the media. But there are still plenty of traditional outfits feigning objectivity when they are, in fact, in the tank. I actually think partisan media is fine, as long as everyone is up front with their biases.

        • Guav says:

          But there’s a great deal of claims of “liberal media bias” anytime they report something that simply is not The Way Conservatives Want Things To Be. That is to say, many conservatives view objective facts that they do not like as “a liberal bias.”

          A good example is in the final few weeks in the runup to the election—the polls were accused of being “skewed” to favor Democrats, the mainstream media was accused of being biased towards liberals in reporting these polls, so on and so forth. The polls were not skewed, they were accurate. Nate Silver wasn’t predicting an Obama landslide because he was a Democrat (although he is), he was predicting it because that’s what the numbers showed was likely to happen.

          Those who got their news from the “conservative media” had an entirely different view of how the election was going to go, because they were fed a steady diet of “the mainstream media is biased, this is really what is going to happen,” which is why so many were so shocked when Romney lost.

          If you got all your information from the New York Times, you were getting an accurate picture of what was going to happen based on reality.

          If you got all your information from Fox News, you were being fed a stream of “Republican math” invented in conservative fantasyland.

          Time and time again, the so-called “liberal media” is simply more in tune with factual reality. Except about guns, of course, a topic upon which they have absolutely no fucking idea what they are talking about.

          • Alpheus says:

            There were good, statistical and other reasons to doubt the polls, though. Things like the Democrat weightings going up just to keep Obama at 47% (The day before the election, there was a D+12 poll like that). Romney enthusiasm was higher than Obama’s; Obama had shrinking crowds, while Romney’s were growing. Obama was campaigning in the bitter way that losers campaign. Even the polls that kept Obama at 47% gave the enthusiasm gap to the Republicans.

            Heck, even Dan Rather thought out was going to be a good night for Romney!

            For whatever reason, though, Republican enthusiasm didn’t translate into Republican votes. And the margins are big enough that failure of ORCA, or voter fraud, can’t account for it…

            Now that I really think about it, the polls giving Obama more than 50% simply weren’t there. And that, too, isn’t a good sign for the campaign!

          • Alpheus says:

            How many of us still remember Dan Quail’s “potato” gaffe? And how does that compare to Biden’s gaffes–or even Obama’s? The bias is there, and if Republicans don’t take it into account, it is only going to hurt them.

            As for claiming that the media is basically right on everything but guns, you are falling victim to what Michael Crichton called the Geller-Mann Effect: the ability to see a story in the news that, because you are personally familiar with the subject, you can see that they get everything wrong, but you still read the rest of the newspaper as if it were accurate, when the correct conclusion should have been to doubt the entire thing.

            • Guav says:

              I’m not saying the mainstream media is right about everything other than guns—they are not. I am saying that I think when you compare the traditional media (aka MSM or “Liberal” media) with the conservative media, by and large, you get more accurate information from the former. Time and time again, Fox viewers have been shown to be grossly misinformed on a wide variety of topics. Don’t even get me started on WND and stuff like that.

              For what it’s worth, I don’t remember Dan Quail’s “potato” gaffe :)

      • alcade says:

        There’s laying blame and there’s stating facts. And in any case, placing blame isn’t a strategy at all.

        The point I’m making is that, according to the article cited, Republicans are seen as mean. Ok, I can buy that. But I think every visitor to this blog can point out many many instances where liberals have said some pretty nasty and hateful things. Problem is, the media doesn’t report that.

        So what do we have then? Republicans are left playing by the Democrats’ rules for fear of being seen crotchety and out of the mainstream, while the rules imposed by the Democrats are routinely violated by them.

        If you can think of any sort of strategy to counter that, I’m all ears.

        • Guav says:

          The Democrats do not—and are in no position—to impose “rules” for everyone’s behavior. Democrats behave how they behave, Republicans behave how they behave, and people can decide for themselves whether or not they like what they see.

          From 2010 on Republicans acted like a bunch of assholes and people who were only mildly paying attention and weren’t already Democratic or Republican partisans were totally turned off by that.

          Like the GOP primary where the audiences behaved like barbarians and booed a gay soldier, cheered lustily for the death penalty and shouted “Yeah!” when a candidate was asked if someone should die for lack of health insurance. Or Republican mouthpieces calling women who use contraception a bunch of “sluts” and other candidates insisting that women bear their rapists children. Please show me examples of Democratic candidates doing or saying things like that.

          There is no shortage of liberal commenters on the internet saying mean things on blogs—the internet is where assholes go to be assholes no matter what political views they hold. But these are not views or opinions held by or voiced by prominent Democrats. Being a dick is virtually part of the Republican platform at this point.

          Find me a liberal counterpart to Ann “Boil liberals in oil” Coulter. Or Rush Limbaugh. Or Michael Savage, etc. There aren’t any. Liberals commentators simply don’t say the kind of shit that conservatives commentators do. Their most scathing pundits are Al Franken and John Stewart—comedians.

          Do you know why Air America—the closest thing to a liberal version of Rush Limbaugh—failed so miserably? Because your average Democrat just has no interest in listening to shrill assholes. They’re not into that shit. Republicans are, for whatever reason.

          • Sebastian says:

            Do you know why Air America—the closest thing to a liberal version of Rush Limbaugh—failed so miserably? Because your average Democrat just has no interest in listening to shrill assholes. They’re not into that shit. Republicans are, for whatever reason.

            This has been a topic that’s fascinated me for a while. I’m really not into the populist right, and in fact, I’m as repulsed by them as most on the left. But they are there, and they are popular.

          • Alpheus says:

            Alan Grayson said some pretty demeaning things about Republicans when he was in office. Liberals still like him.

            I have always found Bill Maher rather vitriolic. And while Al Franken is a comedian, I wouldn’t consider his political works to be comedy. The fact that Maher, Stewart, and the like exist, indicate that there are those on the Liberal side who enjoys the shrill and vitriolic as much as any Republican.

            But I agree that Ann Coulter and Mike Savage are too caustic. I have read a couple of Coulter’s books, and find the ideas contained interesting, but the vitriol makes it difficult to read them; thus, I don’t read them. Similarly, I cannot listen to Savage.

            I’ve listened to Rush for years, however, and I don’t find him all that shrill, most of the time–although he does have his moments. And I’m more inclined to think that Air America has failed to succeed where conservatives have, because there’s already plenty of news outlets for Liberals–both outright and subtly reflected bias in the media–that for conservatives, having an outlet that takes their ideas seriously is a breath of fresh air.

            • Guav says:

              Alpheus, Stewart is by far the most popular among those you mentioned, and there is absolutely nothing shrill or vitriolic about HIM. He’s sarcastic, ironic and uses humor, not rage. He also makes fun of his own side pretty regularly.

          • jerry says:

            If u want examples of liberal douche bags guav, MSNBC is on 24/7. If u want a liberal talk show host that is a shithead, try Mike Malloy.

            • Guav says:

              You’re right, Mike Malloy is a good counterexample—I would consider him a liberal version of Rush in terms of content and demeanor.

              The difference between Mike Malloy and Rush Limbaugh is 20 million listeners.

              Rush is de facto leader of the GOP. No one listens to Malloy. Liberals don’t listen to him.

              Another good example is Randi Rhodes. She was shrill and offensive, a liberal Ann Coulter. And every liberal I know hated her. It should also be noted that both Rhodes and Malloy were fired from Air America.

              Like I said, your average Democrat has no interest in listening to shrill assholes—they’re just not into that shit. Republicans are.

              • jerry says:

                Maybe thats why you, a democrat, don’t listen to Malloy or Rhodes. The primary reason they have much lower ratings is because they are mean-spirited and vicious. As a conservative, I do not enjoy listening to “shit” as u say, but understand that the republican party is the only option if our second amendment rights are to be protected. Not sure why you, or any gun owner, would ever support a democrat for office, but people do stranger things I guess.

                • Guav says:

                  Yes, they are mean spirited and vicious, and their target audience—liberals and Democrats—don’t like that, so they have low ratings. Being mean spirited and vicious only seems to boost a conservative’s ratings.

                  I usually vote Democrat because as a social liberal, the GOP has absolutely nothing to offer me and I think that every year they get more and more insane. I disagree with the Republicans on many more topics than I agree with them on.

                  I voted for Obama last election—despite knowing his views on gun control—because I did not believe that he would bother trying to enact any gun control measures (I actually don’t think any Democratic president will, ever again) and I turned out to be right.

                  You say that “the republican party is the only option if our second amendment rights are to be protected.” Well, the only gun legislation Obama signed expanded and protected our rights, and if he does not enact any restrictions in his second term, then I guess you’ll be wrong.

                  The best way to ensure the preservation of our 2nd Amendment rights is to get both parties on board. It really shouldn’t be a partisan issue. In my opinion, being against gun rights is an inconsistent position for liberals to hold.

                  • Sebastian says:

                    The best way to ensure the preservation of our 2nd Amendment rights is to get both parties on board

                    You are absolutely correct about this. But the problem with Obama as President is who he’ll put on the Court. If any of the Heller 5 die or retire, the Second Amendment will quite likely just be erased from the Bill of Rights by judicial edict. At least one of the justices has made clear she’d like to do that, and the rest of the dissenting minority in McDonald convinced me that all of them (save Kagan, who hasn’t posted a vote yet) are ready and willing to revisit Heller given the opportunity.

                    • Guav says:

                      I agree that that is a possibility, and something to be concerned about, but I don’t think it’s a probability. It could happen, but it most likely won’t, which is why I have to take all of my other beliefs and positions into account when I decide who to vote for. And when I do that, the GOP loses me completely.

                      I’ve not always voted Democrat—I’m not a partisan—but over the last 10-15 years I think the GOP has been steadily losing their minds and catering to lunatics and zealots. I do not like this new breed of conservative.

  4. Bram says:

    The Republicans can’t recognize how wide open the Democrats are on civil liberties in general.

    Rand Paul is trying to get an amendment added to the Defense bill guaranteeing American citizens accused of terrorism a trail-by-jury. The Democrats are mostly against it. Stunning.

    • Arnie says:

      Thanks for revealing this, Bram! I wish this had been advertised during the campaigns. A lot of libertarians would have come out for Romney if they’d known this!

      • Robert says:

        Why? Romney would no more support it than the Democrats are. Rand Paul is working against his own party.

        If the Republicans came out as civil libertarians, like they were originally conceived, they’d mop the floor with Democrats. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Statism is simply too enticing.

  5. Why the GOP embraces the same policy as the Democrats on issues like copyright and intellectual property is beyond me. There would be no political cost embracing the issue and everything to go gain.

    Actually the copyright lobby is quite powerful. Most politicians don’t want to anger the likes of the MPAA, RIAA, Disney, etc. as they are all big money players in Washington DC. By going against current intellectual property laws the GOP could stand to lose a notable amount.

    • Andy B. says:

      I recently finished re-reading Eric Hoffer’s “The True Believer” for the umpteenth time since I discovered it 30+ years ago. Speaking of “Unifying Agents” for motivating “mass movements,” high on Hoffer’s list is “Hate.” Since the book is over 60 years old, many of the examples refer to Hitler, Stalin, and the Nazis, but other examples are given, too.

      Perhaps it began with Lee Atwater’s rendering of the Republican “Southern Strategy,” but sometime in the past their strategists consciously chose hate as a motivational tool — caving in to the temptation to go after the low-hanging fruit in order to build a majority. (Anyone who cares to deny it, didn’t sit with me across the desk from Republican state legislators trying to persuade us to support “Get Tough on Crime” anti-gun bills, by telling us stories of what [n-words] did to pretty little blonde-haired, blue-eyed convenience store clerks. I have always been fascinated at how they assumed we spoke that language — given only that we were RKBA advocates.)

      But like most tactics, once it was set in motion, a point came where it took on a life of its own and grew beyond mere tactical control. At that point too many spokespeople for Republicans became, well, nothing but dicks. And son of a gun, people heard what they were saying — and bigger surprise yet, didn’t like it.

      • Alpheus says:

        Sadly, what you talk about has infected the Libertarian Party somewhat as well, as can be seen in the controversy with Ron Paul’s newsletters. (That is only one example, too; others have lamented the loss of position that resulted from three temptation of short-term gain, in both parties.)

        Of course, the Democrats are good at doing this, and it helps them that they’ve settled on hating the rich, and hating white folk as well.

        • Andy B. says:

          I will forbear telling one of my Old Stories at length, but back in the ’90s I left the Libertarian Party after it was infested and taken over in PA by loons attracted by a popular/populist regional talk show host who never spent so much as five minutes learning what the LP’s platform was, but adopted the party for shtick and promoted it as having pretty much the platform of the John Birch Society — one of his other sympathies.

          Somehow it appeared similar things happened across the country at the same time — maybe it had to do with Clinton v. The Republican Noise Machine — but nothing I’ve seen out of the LP since has ever tempted me in the least to return. Talk about being truly “politically homeless.”

          I’ll save the story about religionist infiltration and subversion for another thread.

            • Andy B. says:

              Yes.

              There are of course many people who would reject my analysis, but I’ll save my longer story for when someone wants to hear it. It is ancient history and much of it unprovable now. However, an important part of the story is that I was a HUGE Irv Homer fan, and was on his show several times, until I came to recognize his fundamental intellectual dishonesty, and plain laziness.

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