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The Only Way for Republicans to Win

At Townhall today I look at the lessons learned from the recent election and what Republicans have to do if they ever want to win again.

There is a debate raging on the right about what is more to blame - the message or the media. Republicans were not able to effectively get their message through to the voters because the media was so busy working for the Obama campaign. What made things worse, though, is that Republicans never really articulated a coherent overall message and some Republicans did not hold positions different enough from their Democrat opponents to provide an alternative message. The only message that has ever won nationally for Republicans is an unapologetically conservative one.

When John McCain rushed back to Washington to jump on the massive bailout bandwagon it became hard for him to argue that his approach to the problem would be significantly different than that of Barack Obama and impossible to argue that his was a conservative solution.

If Republicans hope to have any chance to win in 2010 and 2012 they will have to find more effective ways to combat the liberal bias in the media, but even more important they need to decide what they stand for and then to stand firm.


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Comments (12)

I'm a bit confused here. As... (Below threshold)

I'm a bit confused here. Aside from President Reagan, what unapologetic conservative has won nationally? Why did the conservative candidates get trounced in the Republican primaries (seemingly the more conservative the candidate, the worse the trouncing)? What exactly does it mean to be 'unapologetically conservative?' Do fiscal conservatives (but social moderates) count, or is it just the guns God and gold Ron Paul crowd?

Ignore the sniping from Par... (Below threshold)

Ignore the sniping from Parthy.

I think moving the primary dates forward hurt. I believe there was no conservative message articulated over and over. The media did support Obama, no doubt, but conservatives have gotten past that obstacle before even without the internet. People want their leaders to have a core set of principles that will not change no matter what the poles say.

Obama has been elevated so high by the media and supporters, there is no way to go but down. ww

So that's your strategy, Wi... (Below threshold)

So that's your strategy, Willie? Wait until Obama peaks and then high-five all of your friends as he loses popularity?

Parthenon raises a valid question: which unapologetically conservative Republican other than Ronald Reagan has ever won a Presidential election? Name one.

Republicans should learn tw... (Below threshold)

Republicans should learn two things from this past election.

First, HowObamaGotElected.com has proven the extent of media bias in this past election. But the results of their poll also illustrated another basic truth -- most voters do not associate feelings with the names of politicians unless those names are repeatedly linked with negatives over and over again by the mainstream press and popular culture. Republicans lose elections because they stupidly rely on "guilt by association" arguments involving people that the general public doesn't know from Adam.

Sure, Ayers and Rezko and Wright got some press, but merely "controversial" press. But Sarah Palin's name was mentioned so often, and so deliberately linked with negatives -- not just "controversy," but specifically uncouth, unethical, uneducated, and ignorant traits -- that a strong negative impression was formed in the mind of the public. Let's face it: there will never be that kind of negative press about a liberal Democrat. Never. So Republicans will lose every time they try to rely on guilt by association.

Second -- this is very painful for logical, pragmatic conservatives, but it is the truth -- Obama won because he articulated a prophetic vision for America.

Ronald Reagan won in 1980 because he had a prophetic vision for America. Reagan saw America as the leader of the free world, with a strong economy and a firm commitment to end tyranny (specifically that which was sponsored by the Soviets and Chinese). Carter and his defenders argued that negotiation and appeasement were the best ways to deal with the threat of the Soviets and Islamofacists, and they effectively told Americans that they were too greedy and demanded too much, and that the faltering economy of the late 1970's was simply penance for America's sins.

Barack Obama latched on to the disenchanted liberal "everything is going to hell in a handbasket AND IT'S ALL AMERICA'S FAULT" worldview and turned it into a vision for peace and prosperity in the future -- we must elect someone who understands how American has damaged the world: capitalist oppression, the destruction wrought by our military, the fragile nature of our environment, etc. Obama then painted himself as the one visionary leader who can rescue our environment, save the oppressed, fight for the impoverished, and make the world a safer, more peaceable place.

And Americans bought it, even though there were virtually no specifics, and even though the limited number of specifics offered seemed to depend on bigger government, higher taxes, more guilt, and less freedom. The prophetic vision of a brighter tomorrow outweighed those things.

Unless Republicans can recapture a Reaganesque prophetic vision for a strong, free, and prosperous America -- and then clearly show everyone that American prosperity means a worldwide prosperity, not a world raped for our own benefit -- then the prospects for future Republican leadership are indeed dim.

Hyper, I vowed to show the ... (Below threshold)

Hyper, I vowed to show the same support and committment to Obama that you lefties showed toward GW from day one. I owe you that.

Secondly, conservatism came in big time in 1994 with congress and the state. It will again in 2010. What liberal president besides FDR ever served two terms in office? ww

Lincoln would have served t... (Below threshold)

Lincoln would have served two full terms, and he was a liberal. JFK probably would have too, though he was more of a pragmatist than a liberal. You're right, though: ideologues don't do very well in general. Good thing for Obama that he has positioned himself as a pragmatic centre-leftist (and tough sh*t for his far-left supporters who did yeoman's work at the grassroots level throughout the campaign--they'll be disappointed).

CNN is owned by a leftist. ... (Below threshold)

CNN is owned by a leftist. Can't a group of conservatives zillionaires get together and start a news channel? Hell, I'd donate if necessary and so would about 100 million others! Also, as long as the republican party features clowns like McCain, Hegel, Grahamnesty, Shays, Snowe and I could go on, the clear and consistant message will be the wrong one!

*If only* some rich conserv... (Below threshold)

*If only* some rich conservative would buy up a bunch of media outlets and stamp his ideological perspective on all of the content! Do you live in a cave? Have you never heard of Rupert Murdoch? Sheeeeesh...

I agree wholeheartedly with... (Below threshold)

I agree wholeheartedly with Mike. We have been a nation without a vision for at least 20 years. Obama is a vision caster, or, as Mike labels him, a prophetic voice. His prophetic voice is false and deceptive, but it is prophetic nonetheless. It is prophetic because it has been heard, received and has changed the course of our nation.

Right now we have a number of folks with prophetic voices and messages, but they are not being heard because the airwaves are dominated by the left. Now that same cabal is seeking to shut down the few voices we do have like Rush and others like him.

With a few exceptions, we have failed to clearly articulate why the conservative path is superior to the liberal path being peddled by the left.

"Without vision, the people perish."

Yeah, Hyper.The guy ... (Below threshold)

Yeah, Hyper.
The guy that threw Hillary Clinton a fundraiser and said about Obama: "Yeah. He is a rock star. It's fantastic. I love what he is saying about education. I don't think he will win Florida... but he will win in Ohio and the election. I am anxious to meet him. I want to see if he will walk the walk." is really an ultra-right paleo-con.

Being to the right of Ted Turner doesn't really mean too much. I think Putin could make the same claim...

Lincoln and liberal and JFK... (Below threshold)

Lincoln and liberal and JFK "probably" be reelected is your comeback hyper? Do you have schools in canada? What accomplishments of great note did JFK perform? He was in Texas that day because he needed the support. He was losing. ww

Willie,I for one f... (Below threshold)


I for one find Hyper's knowledge of American history fair impressive, not least because my knowledge of his country is close to non-existent; various actors/comedians, The Tragically Hip and the Quebec Independence Party notwithstanding. I find it telling that instead of answering my initial question regarding conservative presidents, you pointed to the midterm Republican victory in 1994 and pulled a bait-and-switch, not only flipping the question around but moving the goalposts to a two-term standard, I imagine so President Carter could be excluded. You further asserted that the Republicans will see large gains in the 2010 midterms, which could be true but will depend on how successful the Democrats have been up to then.






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