Conservative bloggers to GOP: Talk to us, listen to us

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Ace has some helpful things to say (sprinkled as always with words that would make a sailor blush, so be advised) about the Republican Party's failures to plug in effectively to what the conservative blogosphere has to offer. He wants to get bloggers engaged in candidate recruitment, finding non-traditional candidates -- retired military, doctors, farmers, teachers, businessmen -- encouraging them to run and helping to connect them to the resources they need to run and win.

The Democrats have their recruitment pipeline-- lawyers, bureaucrats. The GOP has a much bigger and better talent pool, but we don't exploit it.

I'm not sure why. I think it's because so many people assume, "Gee, I could never do that."

Well, of course you could. If the Democrats can put up one hack lawyer after another, why isn't a Master Sergeant war hero a good candidate?

We need an army of Sarah Palins in 2010.

Look at Joe the Plumber. Pretty sharp guy. pretty likable. He doesn't have the alleged credentials to be a Congressmen -- by which I mean he's not a hack trial lawyer or sub-bureaucrat at the Department of Cutting Checks for People Who Don't Work. So what? He's got what it takes -- he's bright, politically interested, presentable, and, if he does decide to run, backed by a major political party.

I think an awful lot of people fit this profile.

Especially military men and women.

For God's sakes, guys: You know you have a better than even chance of winning just by showing up?

Think about it as just a slightly distasteful new tour of service. One one hand, you'll be surrounded by mutants and halfwits. On the other hand, no one will be shooting at you and there will be lots of free barbecue and (weak) chicken cordon blue.

That is, by the way, how the Oklahoma Republican Party, under Chairman Gary Jones' leadership, has succeeded in winning legislative seats in traditionally Democratic rural/small town districts. They found Republicans who were known as community leaders, not political figures, and gave them the training and access to the campaign support network they needed for a successful run. As a result, Republicans control the State House and are poised to take over the State Senate.

Ace wants to be able to call attention to and rally support for candidates in key congressional races, but for that to happen, the GOP should keep conservative bloggers in the loop and actually solicit our ideas:

Not to overstate my importance, but the internet is a huge fundraising and name-recognition machine. Honestly, the GOP should have us on conference calls every week.

Not for [b.s.] getting-the-message out. They do that. And we do get the message out.

But to be more involved in this. As in, making some decisions and offering input.

Personally the prospect of yet another conference call where I get the talking points I already knew (based on common sense) and was already getting out anyway isn't all that appealing.

Ace links to John Hawkins of Right Wing News, who writes that Republican operatives don't get what blogs could do for them:

The bad news is that the Republican Party looks at bloggers solely as an alternative means to get their message out. In other words, there's a completely non-functional top down organizational structure. It's non-functional because the Republican Party organizations and pols issue talking points and press releases, most of which are of no interest to bloggers, and they are largely ignored. In other words, they spend most of their time issuing unheeded orders to people who, by and large, think they're incompetent and aren't inclined to pay much attention to what they say....

That's a real shame because had they listened to bloggers, most of the big political snafus of the last four years could have been avoided. However, they pay zero attention to things they're told by bloggers, even on the rare occasions when they ask what we think.

Just to give you an example of what I'm talking about, here's a generic conversation, some variation of which I've had with different congressional aides at least half-a-dozen times over the last four years.

Anonymous Aide: Hawkins, I want to ask your advice.
John Hawkins: Shoot.
Anonymous Aide: We're thinking about doing idea x.
John Hawkins: Are you out of your mind? That's going to be a disaster!
Anonymous Aide: Well, they've already decided to do it. How do we sell it to the bloggers?
John Hawkins: You're asking me whether you should put mayonnaise or mustard on a sh*t sandwich. I can give you some advice, but it's not going to go over well no matter how you spin it.

Inevitably, it doesn't sell -- which cuts to the heart of the problem the GOP has with bloggers: they need to have conversations with bloggers instead of just viewing us as another part of the message machine....

What the GOP needs to realize is that bloggers, some of the better ones anyway, tend to have their fingers on the pulse of conservatism.... The Republican Party should pick up the phone and call Erick Erickson, Ace, or Michelle Malkin and ask them what the conservative reaction is going to be BEFORE the GOP makes yet another blunder instead of trying to do damage control afterwards. It would make a lot more sense.

Hawkins has much more worth pondering about how the left and right sides of the blogosphere compare in presence and enthusiasm -- and how the left has overtaken the right over the last few years -- why conservative bloggers are bad at fundraising and generating online activity, and how conservative old media institutions and donors could help grow a conservative blogosphere.

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sbtulsa Author Profile Page said:

I would love to see our government made up of citizen legislators and leaders. But mine would be soething similar to the TV commercial with firemen making up a legislative body and votes taken by voice.

My question is, how do weed out the Kathy Taylors? We need spending reform in some greater and more stremalined fashion than the abortion we have now. Obama presents himself as one of the above but is really just a machine politician. He just doesn't have the length of service within his machine.

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

I think Tom Coburn fits the description. If anyone wants to cough up a couple hundred million, I'll be happy to run for president. But this idea assumes the GOP establishment are spotless and pure which they aren't. They are mostly politicians in the pejorative sense of the word. They just aren't Democrat politicians.

You weed out the Kathy Taylors by not voting for them. It was pretty obvious that she and Miller were both bad choices. Taylor blowing into town from Florida and Miller functioning as backup to draw votes from Medlock.

S. Lee Author Profile Page said:

After some thought, a few comments on the conservative blogging.

As indicated in my first comment, and also indicated in the article by Ace, the self-centered interests of the party hacks are at the top of the list of obstacles. Beyond that, there's conservatism as it pertains to limited government and fiscal restraint, and there's religious conservatism. I'll bet Ace is the former and most certainly not the latter.

I can appreciate what the religiously oriented bloggers want to accomplish, but they seem to be oblivious to the pragmatic realities of politics and society, much like the liberal left of the Democrat party. Consequently, I think the general GOP feeling ends up being: Glad to have your support, but would rather you remain mostly in the background because too many people think your are just another bunch of fascists. Although the religious right, unlike the liberal left, does not generally resort to all means available to force their view on the public, one of the favorites being judicial activism as was recently done with California and gay (so-called) marriage, many (most?) people outside the religious realm don't know that and don't entirely trust the religious right; and I suspect the GOP leadership know that.

And then there is the abortion issue. I once read on a liberal oriented site that gun control was the killer issue for Democrats that drove away votes, and abortion was the killer issue for Republicans. I'll put it to you bluntly: The fiscal conservatives could not care less about the abortion issue. Literally, could not care less. I'll point out that the most conservative supreme court you are likely to see in your lifetime let Roe V. Wade stand.

If religious right can't turn loose of the abortion issue -- the half loaf that they are not going to get in order to go for the half loaf they can get -- I will suggest they settle for a quarter of that loaf and approach it from the direction of what does it take to teach conscientious use of birth control (thus reducing the need for abortion) without teaching it in the way that Planned Parenthood presents where it goes beyond a matter of fact presentation to a blatant presentation of unacceptable sexual behavior as being normal, perhaps in a misguided attempt to be hip and cool.

I hang out on other forums (opinionated person that I am), and I have to tell you that there is a lot of negative feeling out there about religion and religious types. I'll suggest that moral issues can be argued on the basis of pragmatic statistics rather than Bible pounding. For example, instead of arguing against gay marriage by waving the Bible around, how about a factual presentation of the social disaster of moral ambiguity, listing the number of deaths and incurable disease from STD; the crime (violent and non-violent), decline in education, and the poverty resulting from illegitimacy. Although it involves directing people to dirty pictures, point people to the Folsom Street Fair (Nancy Pelosi's district, by the way) as clear evidence that the gay agenda isn't quite as innocent as the MSM suggests.

I think the religious right can achieve many of its goals and regain some respectability by working at things from a direction that is not blantantly religious and being willing to turn loose of those things it isn't going to get (i.e. abortion ban). Recall the kid in the Aesop fable who could not remove his hand from the jar of walnuts because the neck of the jar was narrow, and he refused to turn loose of enough walnuts to allow his hand to slip through the neck.

My own personal opinion is that, in addition to the obvious failure to exercise fiscal restraint, the GOP mostly blew it when it came to dealing with social issues such as illegitimacy, crime, and decline in education because of fear of offending the religious right. And that is coming from a solid GOP-er (of the fiscal conservative branch). If I have it wrong, feel free to correct me.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on October 29, 2008 1:02 AM.

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