The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

At The VA GOP Advance

Posted on | December 1, 2012 | 21 Comments

by Smitty

I just took in Morton Blackwell’s post-mortem on the election. He quoted extensively from Goldwater:

I had a very exciting time at the Republican National Convention. My conservative allies and I all worked very hard in the presidential election.
When I woke up the day after the election, everything I had worked for appeared to be in ruins. An extreme leftist had been reelected president of the United States.
Some liberal Republicans immediately began to blame newly activated conservatives for the presidential defeat. I knew they were wrong. It was clear to me that these newly active conservatives would be the key to major future victories for conservative principles.

Blackwell quoted the Lincoln Four-Step, and pointed out that the air game (consultants blowing piles of money on SuperPAC ads) at the expense of the ground game was a big non-winner, as it is a mis-allocation of resources. No kidding, said starving bloggers across the land. Aside: is Citizens United still the worst SCOTUS decision evar, or does the re-election of BHO mean people exercising freedom of speech in groups is OK again?

Another point brought out by Blackwell was that Ronald Reagan managed to say unpleasant things pleasantly. Mr. Romney never seriously articulated why the class warfare rhetoric is so false. Not all fights are tasteful, genteel, and on the ground of the general’s choosing.

The need for a permanent campaign was another drum he beat. Politics is NOT my number one priority in life. For the Left, it seems like it may be. There seem to be Statists who view politics as life itself. A lady in the audience mentioned a rich Obama family (around Richmond, maybe) that put up four Obama operatives for a full year leading up to the election. Think of Democrats as political Jehova’s Witnesses. I say that in admiration of a work ethic, not endorsement of either viewpoint. I don’t want to make politics that important, frankly. But the need to get people to set aside a modest amount of time to engage and build a coherent conservative response cannot be understated. “A Republic, if you can keep it,” said Franklin. We have to keep it.

“Organization wins elections,” said a fellow in the crowd. Not just the phone calls and door knocks by random people from wherever. The precinct captains who know their turf are what the GOP lacks. As a terrible neighbor who hardly knows anyone on my block, I have to own my slice of the problem. If we’re not engaging in a minor invasion of privacy to get to know people, we’ll be suffering increasing major invasions of privacy from Leviathan.

Sissy Willis on Twitter points to a mea culpa from Alaska:

Sarah Palin warned us, and that is irrefutable. But I have learned from it the hard way. Instead of “forward,” which is the current battle cry, it seems that “backward” is the new norm. I shudder to think what this country will be like in the next four years.
Yes, Sarah warned us, and some listened. I don’t agree with her all the time, but what is intriguing is that she somehow knew. How, I ask? Not sure, but she knew, and that is fact. Maybe I should have listened.

Update: thanks, Instapundit!


  • Bob Agard

    “The need for a permanent campaign was another drum he beat”

    Check out Craig’s List’s employment ads: year around organizing by the left!

  • Bob Agard

    Here is a quick copy of some ads in this week’s Craig’s List for Denver:
    “Post Election Work. Support Progressive Causes. $11-$13/HR”

    “Activists Wanted! Preserve Colorado’s Waterways. $10-$15/hr.”


    “Done working on the campaigns? Work for Greenpeace!”

  • Bob Belvedere

    Smitty wrote: The need for a permanent campaign was another drum he beat. Politics is NOT my number one priority in life. For the Left, it seems like it may be. There seem to be Statists who view politics as life itself….

    For the Left every aspect of life is, indeed, political – it has to be for any Ideologue. This is because an Ideologue sees everything as needing to conform to the system of ideas they have accepted as being necessary for Life to be good and worthy.

    The Ideologue designs a blueprint for how Life must proceed and every material to be used in it is governed by the design. Any deviation and the structure risks becoming unstable. Like a building plan, an Ideology must be followed to the letter and, therefore, it has to dictate the specifications for everything needed to make a building efficient [electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc.]. Thus, an Ideology must encompass every facet of Life. It must pervade every nook and cranny.

    We non-Ideologues reject such an approach to life because we know that a grand design is the purview of a perfect being and we understand that no Human is perfect or perfectible in this Life.

    The Ideologues insist on interfering with every aspect of Life and the Leftist ones have made great gains in controlling The Narrative is every aspect of Life in America, to the point where we all, to varying degrees, think their way.

    Our Dilemma: How do we effectively defeat such an enemy?

  • DavidD

    Charles Fredericks must have been willfully ignorant 4 years ago, because anyone who was paying attention would’ve known that BHO is a flaming Leftist, a hardcore Socialist.

  • Bob Belvedere

    -I think it’s important to get to know your neighbors just for security reasons alone. Know your surroundings. It also, I find, makes life just a little more pleasant.

    -As for political phone calls and door knocks: their day is past because I think they annoy most people. The key is, I think, to get the message out via ways that don’t harry or irritate people.

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  • K-Bob

    Spot on regarding politics as “life itself” to statists, Smitty.

    Politics it has become their day job: working to keep the handouts coming, either to themselves directly, or to put themselves in a position to work in government. …Managing handouts. (Or in schools, educating people to expect and demand handouts.) They MUST live politics daily because their livelihood depends on it.

    A Conservative has personal prosperity in mind, and cannot waste time worrying over every single thing the left is up to. (And BTW, have you folks noticed the incredible flood of outright tyrannical moves by governments large and small in the headlines, now that the election is over?)

    We need a way around the media, and direct to the people. Thinking in terms of a hack to the leftist spin machine, I believe shorter, tighter messaging helps, especially when it’s modeled after Reagan’s manner of delivery.

    This is why I’ve been pushing the following line wherever people don’t get too mad at it for being spammish:

    Only Democrats care about skin color.

    The BONUS aspect of this is that it also works whenever some jackwagon on the right makes a racial comment.

    (And as we all know, the current mindset in Washington is all about how to BONUS.)

  • Finrod Felagund

    Lots of people were willfully ignorant four years ago and now. That’s how Obama got elected.

  • crosspatch

    What I think needs to happen is that Libertarians need to temporarily forgo federal government offices and focus like a laser beam on local and state legislative offices. There are basically two reasons for this:

    1. In elections to federal offices, more often then not, they simply manage to get Democrats elected. An example is Mia Love in UT-04 where Mia’s margin of loss was about 1/10th the number of votes that the losing Libertarian got. Had the Libertarian party supported Mia, they could have at least thrown a Democrat out of the House.

    2. While big government establishment RINO Republicans ARE a danger to libertarian ideals, they are a lesser danger than the Democrats. This is a matter of focusing on the greater threat first. At the federal level, throw the Democrats out and support the Republican candidates (for a while).

    The national Libertarian party should throw its full weight behind candidates running for county, city, and state offices. Their number one priority should be ELIMINATING regulations. They need to go in with a machete and start the wholesale elimination of draconian regulations and getting local government out of the way of our people and our economy. Wasting resources on federal offices only serves to dilute votes against the Democrat candidate and gets the Democrat elected.

    Once the Democrats are ejected at the federal level, then we can work on culling out the “big government” Republicans and even possibly running Libertarian candidates for the House. But one thing is very clear, running Libertarian candidates for President with no seats in Congress is stupid. All it does is get Democrats elected. Libertarians, if they want to be a real force for change, need to get local and start building their base from the ground up.

  • crosspatch

    ““Organization wins elections,” said a fellow in the crowd. Not just the phone calls and door knocks by random people from wherever. The precinct captains who know their turf are what the GOP lacks. As a terrible neighbor who hardly knows anyone on my block, I have to own my slice of the problem. If we’re not engaging in a minor invasion of privacy to get to know people, we’ll be suffering increasing major invasions of privacy from Leviathan.”

    I completely agree with this. People have GOT to find their local county GOP committee, join, and get active. I don’t know how many times I hear about people active in their local property rights group, taxpayers association, Tea Party chapter, complain about “the GOP” but have never once set foot in a meeting of their county committee.

    Your county GOP committee gets NO financial support from the national RNC. Your local committee supports candidates for your local county and city offices. Many of the small local elections, particularly in off years, are decided by fewer than 100 votes. We need to get active at the local level and start working from the bottom up. We need to rip these socialists out of our school boards, off our city councils, out of local court judge seats in cases where those are elected. We can make a lot of change in our local communities if we get involved and get active.

    These local committees are always starved for people and money. My local county likes to have $35 a year dues (but they don’t MAKE you pay anything, they are glad just to have the participation).

    ” But the need to get people to set aside a modest amount of time to engage and build a coherent conservative response cannot be understated. “A Republic, if you can keep it,” said Franklin. We have to keep it.”

    Yes. We need to engage. We need to start talking to people face to face. Engage your local small business owners and people with leadership positions in your community. These are the scout leaders, the little league coaches, veterans groups along with a local property rights, taxpayers, or Tea Party organization. The local party isn’t the national party. The number of people actually involved at the county level is abysmally low.

    The socialists DO get involved. They DO get active. They DO get people to polls in off year elections and end up taking over the local government even in areas where the population generally votes Republican for national offices. That has to stop. The pushback needs to start right here in our local communities. Find your local GOP committee, sign up, volunteer, donate, organize.

  • K-Bob

    I’m tired of hearing about the GOTV machinery and ORCA and Team Romney not having a “ground game,” which is silly. (They damn well did have a ground game because I’ve seen plenty of people report on it, including the actual participants–see for example Spades, Ace of.) I’ve been willing to listen to these GOTV critiques, because it’s nice to have some sort of explanation for the failure to win an obviously winnable election.

    But as time goes by, I’m buying it less and less. I’ve never been called by a “precinct captain” or whatever term I keep seeing (it varies). I’ve never seen people “working the polls” and checking names, other than the actual poll workers who check you in and give you the ballots. And I’ve moved around enough, and voted for enough years that I should have seen these supposed party poll watching, captain-y things at least once or twice.

    Don’t get me wrong, anything you can do to get an edge, no matter how small is probably important. But I think we lost for many other reasons than Romney’s campaign’s “ground game.”

    * We know there’s a lot of fraud.
    * We know Romney wasn’t the man we
    needed. (Being President isn’t about being
    the best manager, it’s about leading,
    guided by the principles of the party, not
    just some of its values)
    * We know that public sector unions have
    made a permanent, government-class that
    naturally uses taxpayer money to vote for
    the party least likely to cut government.
    This particular form of corruption plays
    a massive role in today’s elections, just
    from the sheer math of large government.
    * We know that an unmonitored influx of illegals
    has affected the vote in many ways, all of
    them deleterious to Republicans.
    * We know that the Republican party refuses
    to push back hard–and every day–against
    the “racism” and “for the rich” concepts
    pushed by the left.
    * We know the Democrat/Media complex is
    very real. In large part due to the fact that:
    * The Universities are now owned
    by the left thanks to a total lack of diversity
    in political thinking on campuses

    So we have to sort this all out before 2016. Every thing on the list above is MUCH harder to fix than making sure these supposed poll watchers show up and call people. But fixing any one of them is likely to make a much bigger impact in an election.

    Why, I ask again, would the Koch Brothers or Adelson be willing to spend so many millions on a campaign, but not finance a blockbuster movie that happens to champion conservative principles? We have to fight to regain our institutions, and we can’t do it by focusing solely on campaigns.

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  • cbpelto

    TO: Smitty, et al.
    RE: How Did Sarah Know?

    I’ll tell you how….

    ….she’s a better student of history than you are.


    [History repeats itself. That’s one of the problems with History.]

  • Kurtis Fechtmeyer

    The hard reality is that the bulk of voters (or potential voters) are low information, low motivation voters. Yes, instinctively people get it right (Romney showed he could speak reasonably and win independents), but a long term, urban machine approach to moving low information, low motivation voters to the polls with free gas cards, food, music, etc. is a very powerful tool. Obama’s team excelled at this “community organizing” and Romney’s team dropped opportunity after opportunity to counter program.

  • Minicapt

    “… used sarcasm. … all the tricks, dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.”


  • PapayaSF

    Very true, but also note that to many on the left, their beliefs occupy the same mental and emotional space as a religion. They are on the side of the Good and True, helping the weak and the sick, using the Power of the People to fight the greedy rich who hide behind old-fashioned ideas like the Constitution. Only when their opponents recognize that can they effectively frame counter-arguments.

    History shows that some of them can be convinced that their solutions often do more harm than good, and that individual rights, subsidiarity, and free markets are better at solving problems like poverty and health care than giant, centralized, bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all solutions.

  • werewife

    Bloody hell. In 2010 I wanted to get involved. (I can’t do informal outreach at my job, whose nature is such that anything but cold both-sides-now objectivity will get me dismissed.) I called my local Republican Party about 4 times. I never reached anything but an answering machine, never got a call back. The GOP in my city is a little club of old chums focused on the mayoralty and keeping control of the patronage machine. When the mayoralty went Democrat, so did some of the prominent Republicans. For the professionals here, it’s not and never has been a mission; it’s a career, and a very lucrative one. So in 2012, I helped out via Sheldon Adelson’s Republican Jewish Coalition. Fat lot of good it did, but I have no guilt.
    I agree that the problem is that we see politics as a necessary evil, while it gives leftists’ lives whatever meaning they have. We want to be free to take care of our own interests, while they are divided between an elite famished for power and a mass desperate for the burden of freedom to be tenderly removed from them. Personally, in the light of history I don’t see how we have a chance in the long run (by which I mean, this side of Moshiach).

  • JeffWeimer

    Dang Chris, a Read the Whole Thing ™ from Instapundit! Congrats!

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