They Only Win If We Let Them

When things get rough there are those who whine and moan and assume the fetal position on the bathroom floor, and there are those who roll up their sleeves, get busy and fight until ten minutes after the clock runs out. Which camp are you going to find yourself in from now until Election Day? I can assure you I will be in the latter camp.

I have been optimistic about the election in spite of all the doom and gloom I have heard over the past year. Until the Foley scandal broke, Republicans, led by the President who thankfully is a Reagan optimist, had closed the gap and had the momentum on their side. Foley stopped the momentum and completely drowned out the message and it showed in the polls. I let myself indulge in a few days of being down about it, then I sucked it up and decided to get busy. Along with my fellow Rightroots bloggers, I appealed to readers to contribute to help fund final ad expenditures. Blog readers came through and Rightroots was a big success.

Now is not the time to rest though. It is crunch time and anyone who does not do their part does not deserve to bitch and moan if we lose the House or Senate. Over the next few weeks I will be offering ways that those who want to make a difference can. Because Rightroots is a PAC, some time was required to process contributions to get them to the candidates. Several campaigns have let us know that any contributions given to them directly through their website’s contribution page will be received in time to make a difference. If you have a favorite candidate, consider making one last contribution. I will be posting links to some of those candidates’ contribution pages in the upcoming days.

If you are like me and don’t have any spare cash right now, there are still many ways you can make a difference. If you have some time you can contribute, call your local party headquarters or the campaign office of your favorite candidate and ask how you can help. In 2004, I did quite a bit of GOTV phone calls in the weeks leading up to the election and worked the polls on election day, and I plan to do the same this year.

Other less formal ways that you can help include talking to your friends, neighbors and family about the election and why it is important that they show up to vote. If you know anyone that needs a ride to the polls and you are able to offer one, do it. These are only a few ways you can make a difference.

Don’t buy the spin. Not all on the left are buying it, in spite of the fact they are pushing it. There are too many funny numbers and too much questionable analysis floating around right now. There are many in the media working hard to depress Republican turnout. It happened in 2002, and in 2004, and probably in most every other election to some extent. Read Alexander McClure on the “politics of defeat,” as well as this post from 2004 which is a “how to” for the hours leading up to election day. Read Hugh Hewitt to get some of the good news you will not easily find in the mainstream media. There are some valid reasons for concern, but they should only serve to reinforce our commitment to work that much harder. The other side only wins if we let them.

[Note: A “smart guy” found an error in this post after it had only been up a few minutes. I corrected it immediately — details are in the comments section. Thanks Smart Guy!]

Update: Newt Gingrich has a “must read” post along these lines.

Republicans should enter these closing weeks of the election with clarity, conviction and confidence. The GOP owes it to the American people to give them an inspiring choice. When you are right, you have confidence.

Republicans can turn this around, but they must make the case.

That is what campaigns are for.

In an election, three weeks Is a long time

I learned this lesson in 1978 in my third campaign for Congress. In mid-September, my Democrat opponent was ahead 51 to 37. Like most liberals, in the district she pretended she was a conservative, but two key votes in Congress gave her away. One on welfare reform and the other on taxes, in each case she voted her values as a liberal.

We believed we could win the campaign based on one big truth — she was a liberal — versus one big lie — her pretending she was a conservative.

Every element of our campaign kept coming back to this simple theme: “She knows her record, she hopes you don’t.” This was our consistent way of saying: “She knows she is a liberal, and she is afraid to tell the truth about it, because she knows you will vote against her if you learn the truth.”

We won 54 to 46. That meant that in five weeks of campaigning we had moved from a 14-point deficit to an eight-point majority. I gained 17 percentage points and my liberal opponent, once exposed, lost 5 percentage points.Newt has a fairly detailed strategy for the final three weeks that sounds like a winner to me. I cannot overstate how brilliant this column is. Read it all.

Update II: Here is one of those candidates that can use your help now — Bob Corker in Tennessee. Click here to contribute and here to volunteer.

(Editor’s update: 7:55 a.m. 10/17/06: Link added to complete Gingrich column)

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