When all government, in little as in great things, shall be drawn to Washington as the Center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another and will become as venal and oppressive as the government from which we separated. ~ Thomas Jefferson
Last night (April 24, 2012) after winning the GOP primaries in Pennsylvania, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island, And Connecticut Mitt Romney addressed his followers on a stage in Manchester, New Hampshire. This was the first time I heard Romney begin to address the nation rather than a cadre of Republican voters. Up until this time all I heard from the former Governor of Massachusetts was his business resume, something that was becoming a bit tiresome. Tuesday Night was different.
On Tuesday night Romney began his run at the presidency and I began to listen. I had not been a fan of Romney during this tiresome GOP primary season. In fact I had not made my mind up on any of the GOP candidates during the months of January, February, and March with their plethora of debates and comments by pundits. They were all preaching to the choir and tying to garner enough delegates to obtain the nomination in Tampa this August. In fact when I would have been able to cast my vote in June I still did not know who I would support. No it doesn’t matter. Romney will be the GOP candidate whether we like it or not.
So I listened to Romney’s words and watched his delivery last night. I saw a different Romney, a Romney talking to all Americans and beginning to lay out his vision for the future of the Republic. I saw some of Ronald Reagan in his comments with phases like:
“For every single mom who feels heartbroken when she has to explain to her kids that she needs to take a second job … for grandparents who can’t afford the gas to visit their grandchildren … for the mom and dad who never thought they’d be on food stamps … for the small business owner desperately cutting back just to keep the doors open one more month – to all of the thousands of good and decent Americans I’ve met who want nothing more than a better chance, a fighting chance, to all of you, I have a simple message: Hold on a little longer. A better America begins tonight.”
“This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars. He’s asking us to accept that Washington knows best – and can provide all.
We’ve already seen where this path leads. It erodes freedom. It deadens the entrepreneurial spirit. And it hurts the very people it’s supposed to help. Those who promise to spread the wealth around only ever succeed in spreading poverty. Other nations have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.”
“I see an America with a growing middle class, with rising standards of living. I see children even more successful than their parents – some successful even beyond their wildest dreams – and others congratulating them for their achievement, not attacking them for it.
This America is fundamentally fair. We will stop the unfairness of urban children being denied access to the good schools of their choice; we will stop the unfairness of politicians giving taxpayer money to their friends’ businesses; we will stop the unfairness of requiring union workers to contribute to politicians not of their choosing; we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve; and we will stop the unfairness of one generation passing larger and larger debts on to the next.”
“In the America I see, character and choices matter. And education, hard work, and living within our means are valued and rewarded. And poverty will be defeated, not with a government check, but with respect and achievement that is taught by parents, learned in school, and practiced in the workplace.
This is the America that was won for us by the nation’s Founders, and earned for us by the Greatest Generation. It is the America that has produced the most innovative, most productive, and the most powerful economy in the world.”
“There was a time – not so long ago – when each of us could walk a little taller and stand a little straighter because we had a gift that no one else in the world shared. We were Americans. That meant something different to each of us but it meant something special to all of us. We knew it without question. And so did the world.
Those days are coming back. That’s our destiny.”
There was no mention of more government handouts or pandering to college students who have, by their own volition, accepted massive amounts of debt for the college loans they have taken to attend colleges and universities with bloated tuition costs. There was no mention of fairness by having the government guarantee the equality of results rather than providing a climate of equality for all.
Perhaps Romney’s speech was no Time for Choosing by Ronald Reagan or a Copper’s Union speech by Abraham Lincoln but I think he is moving in the correct direction. Now he needs to distil these themes into a simple and concise message for the voters, a message that will bring the independents and right-thinking Democrats to vote for him as Reagan did with his “morning in America” and “city on a hill.”
There is one thing that President Obama refers to as a silly distraction. But in reality, it represents a key part of the bigger thing conservatives must overcome to win this election battle.
“The left does not win its battles in debate...The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. Narrative is everything.”
Breitbart highlighted the "turning point" in the history of media control -- the mainstream coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. The "guys who idolized Woodward and Bernstein" had been transformed into "open partisan hacks," rewriting the narrative with Clinton cast as the hero and Republicans the villains. Breitbart also noted that the "institutionalized conservative movement" became "conspicuously silent" because they had allowed the left to control the spin and "didn't want to put themselves in harm's way"
The "Democrat-Media Complex" (Breitbart's term) control of the Obama screenplay has been obvious from day one, even when there was no narrative to shape. Instead of offering evidence to refute criticism of their star, the Alinsky-schooled Complex lazily lob potent word-missiles like "racist" or "birther." Most Republican elites defensively duck and run for cover lest any of the labels stick. Conservatives hope that intelligent discussion of economic and policy issues will win election battles, but they fight within an arena defined and controlled by the leftist media, leaving the home court advantage to the left.
Refusing to play by Democrat-Media Complex rules, conservative writer Diana West bravely observed the relationship between two of Obama's scandals: his socialism and the probable fraud of his identity documents. The assertions are related in that even though both are supported by facts and evidence, neither fits the narrative, and so both are ignored by the mainstream. And most of the conservative establishment has reacted the same way it did in the Clinton-Lewinsky affair: conspicuously silent and self-censoring. Author Roger Kimball noted the disturbing consensus that has rendered Obama's nativity a topic "literally undiscussable." Sometimes conservatives side vocally with the Complex, brushing aside the quest for truth as less important than debate on other issues.
While debate on the big issues is important, Breitbart was right — regaining control of the narrative is the big thing. Until last year, Breitbart was focused mainly on "winning issues"; however, a few weeks before he died, his battle lines were redrawn at CPAC with the promise that "this election, we're going to vet [Obama]."
Vetting of Obama becomes both a big and winning issue because it takes control of the conversation away from the Democrat-Media Complex. And the first step is re-examining all of the things that make up Obama's personal narrative. Such things as his origin of birth, his school transcripts, who financed his college education, who his closest advisors were, and who pushed him into Illinois politics from an unknown community organizer.
Most famous conservatives are reluctant to do so.
Angelo Codevilla observed writing for the Claremont Institute:
"In our time, asking how a young man of scarce achievement got into position to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president courts the contemporary synonyms for 'impious': 'birther,' 'conspiracy theorist,' and, of course, 'racist.'"
The eligibility question (labeled the "birther" conspiracy by the Complex) was written off by Ann Coulter as the only mythical thing believed by more Republicans than Democrats. In her otherwise brilliant book Demonic, Coulter erroneously defined "birthers" as focused solely on a Kenyan birthplace, but she failed to justify her description or provide evidence that discredited any eligibility arguments, instead filling pages recounting Democrats' numerous and crazier conspiracy theories.
George Stephanopoulos brought up "birthers" in his interview with Obama (just a couple of weeks before the long-form's release) and observed that it was the only thing he, a smiling Obama, and Karl Rove agreed upon: the controversy hurt the GOP.
Mitt Romney needs to sound more like Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Reagan than Mr. Rogers. Hope and change haven't brought a beautiful day in this neighborhood.
The Founders were brilliant political strategists who didn't need focus groups to tell them that their fellow patriots wouldn't be inspired to pledge their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to "throw off" a "nice guy who was just in over his head," as Romney repeatedly refers to President Obama.
Civilized gentlemen of unwavering conviction were not above using condemnation to communicate the truth about King George and his tyrannical government. The Founders knew that insipid slogans would never carry the day.
Jefferson and the 55 co-signers of the Declaration railed against the "evils" committed by King George III. They inspired a revolution against the most powerful nation on Earth through the power of the pen — no radio, television, Internet, Facebook, Twitter, iPhones, or hiding behind tough talk by super PACs and surrogates. It was the Founders' words in their names, sealing their own death warrants.
They laid out the substantive case against the King in 1,323 elegant, inspirational, compelling and radical words that birthed this nation. The King's abuses of our God-given unalienable rights required more than moderate words:
- "A Tyrant … unfit to be the ruler of a free people"
- "A long train of abuses and Usurpations"
- "Absolute Despotism"
- "A history of repeated injuries and usurpations"
- "Absolute tyranny"
Romney should emulate the Founders by stressing the similarities between the King's "long train of abuses" and those of President Obama:
- "He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good."
- Obama's Department of Justice refused to prosecute armed thugs from the New Black Panther Party who violated federal law by intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place on the day Obama was elected.
- Obama has sued to stop enforcement of immigration enforcement laws enacted by Arizona, South Carolina, Alabama, and Utah.
- Obama's Department of Justice has launched a war against state voter ID Laws, as documented by the American Civil Rights Union. The DOJ has sued to stop enforcement of laws enacted by South Carolina and Texas despite a Supreme Court ruling in 2008 upholding an Indiana law requiring a photo ID to vote.
- "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."
- Obama appointed approximately 47 czars without congressional confirmation or accountability
- Obama created a myriad of new federal agencies, boards and commissions under ObamaCare, according to the Congressional Research Service.
- Obama issued executive orders exceeding his constitutional authority, such as his order to develop a scheme for oversight of oceans and their resources.
- "He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation."
- Obama's Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta informed a Senate committee that the administration "would seek an international legal basis," such as approval by NATO or the UN, to engage in military action in Syria, but that it does not need congressional approval for military action.
- Obama's Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her report to the UN included a legal challenge by U.S. Department of Justice to Arizona's SB-1070 immigration law as of one the ways the U.S. was protecting human rights.
- The Obama Administration is pursuing a renewed relationship with international tribunals and other international bodies, including the International Criminal Court, without a constitutionally ratified treaty authorizing the relationship.
- "Taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments."
- Obama is forcing individuals to contract with a private party to purchase government-approved health care insurance against their will in violation of the 10th Amendment.
- Obama is nullifying the religion clauses of the First Amendment to the Constitution by forcing private employers to provide employees with insurance coverage for practices that violate the employer's conscientious beliefs, including abortifacients, sterilization and contraceptives.
- Obama's Equal Opportunity Employment Commission counsel argued in the U.S. Supreme Court that there is no special protection for clergy in our Constitution." A unanimous Court in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission refused "to accept the remarkable view that the Religion Clauses have nothing to say about a religious organization's freedom to select its own ministers."
- Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder refuses to defend a federal statute, the Defense of Marriage Act, claiming it is unconstitutional.
- Nine State Attorneys General have accused the Obama administration of using federal agencies to circumvent federal law: "Whether it is through the EPA, NLRB, Office of Surface Mining, FCC or other entities, the Obama Administration has aggressively used administrative agencies to implement policy objectives that cannot gain congressional approval and are outside of the law."
- Obama usurped the constitutional authority of the Senate by making appointments to federal agencies without advice and consent of the Senate.
- "He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us."
- Obama endorsed the OWS movement, and his failure to condemn its violent civil disobedience and destruction of private property has encouraged further unlawful behavior.
"Nice guys" get second chances. Obama must not. Making the case against a tyrannical king or the most radical president in U.S. history cannot be entrusted to faint-hearted moderates.
"Will the GOP stop playing Charlie Brown to the media's Lucy? If the Republican Party doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to fight back," warned Breitbart it will be the people who have to step up and win back the big thing: control of the narrative. A narrative of truth.
What a joy it was to watch the Romney campaign executing on the Hilary Rosen flap, launching Ann Romney on Twitter in a heartbeat. And then the Romney war room followed up with the dog-meat play. Liberals thought that the dog-on-the-roof scandal had legs. But it turned out that the legs were Indonesian roast pooch.
Of course, as Bill Kristol insists, the candidate himself needs to be presidential and stick to Big Think presidential speeches about Big Issues. That's especially important in 2012 because the community-organizer-in-chief has left the role of national uniter up for grabs while he shamelessly descends into the gutter, dividing the nation up into the Balkan States of America. Let the president be shrill; let him be petty, writes Bill.
“Romney can give serious speeches about the Constitution and the Supreme Court, the case for limited government and the threat of bankruptcy and penury, about undoing ObamaCare and what will replace it.”
But let's not get too good-government about this. Government is force, and politics is intimidation. While every campaign needs a great candidate who rises above it all, campaigns are won mostly in the trenches by the side that doesn't give up first. That's where intimidation comes in. You need your troops to see the opposition taking hits
The name of the game in political intimidation is to delegitimize the agenda of the other side and shut them up. The last national Republican who knew how to play the intimidation game was Ronald Reagan. Liberals tried to intimidate him and read him out of the mainstream as a mad bomber and an extremist, but they never quite pulled it off. Once Reagan had got liberals on the floor, he never let them back in the game. George W. Bush tried to appease the liberals by running as a "compassionate conservative." That worked about as well as "hope and change."
Today, the task of conservatives is to toughen up and figure out how to intimidate the liberals defending what they believe to be the impregnable fortresses of Race, Class War, and Gender Gap. The job of the Romney supporters is to find the weak spots in the walls and then start the demolition. Take a page from Saul Alinsky, Obama’s mentor.
Only when these liberal fortresses have been reduced can America resume its journey to the Promised Land.
The liberal fortresses are a lot more vulnerable to attack than liberals believe, for liberals have been on the attack for the last decade and haven't really thought much about defense. They imagined in 2008, after eight years of Bush stupidity, that their policies would deliver them a permanent Democratic majority. In other words, they believed their own propaganda.
But suppose that the Romney team decided to exploit its tactical victories on moms and dogs. Suppose they went for the big play and decided to end decades of liberal intimidation on race and class?
There is a big opening on race. For half a century, white America has hoped that one day, perhaps the day that America declared itself ready for a black president, they would gratefully receive racial absolution. But we now know that that isn't going to happen. So maybe we are getting close to a Rhett Butler moment, when Rhett tells Scarlett O'bama: frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. That will be the day that the race hustle hits the wall.
On the welfare state, the liberals have two ways of intimidating reformers. One is the "mean-spirited" argument — that any cuts are made "on the backs of the poor." The other method is the threat of civil disorder. One day conservatives will simply respond like Dirty Harry: make my day.
Turning the tables means putting the liberals on the moral defensive. On race, the liberals have not just tolerated, but encouraged moral monsters like Reverends Jackson, Sharpton, and Wright. On class, liberals have demolished the authentic working-class culture, as the robber barons failed to do, and they have demolished the black community, as the slaveholders failed to do. We are not talking about just hypocrisy; we are talking about a betrayal of everything liberals said they believed on race and the poor. In the 1930s liberals stood on the picket lines with working stiffs. In the 1960s liberals gave their lives for civil rights. Today well-paid liberals make money — big money — out of urban pathologies, ruthlessly profiting from the sufferings of the poor. This must not stand.
Maybe it's asking too much to expect the Romney people to turn around the intimidation game all in one year. But someone has to make a start, because in politics, if your people aren't out intimidating the opposition, then the opposition's people are intimidating you.