Today I needed to have an argument with someone and so I picked Karl Rove. Good old Karl, who really is a whiz at politics and known as the architect for Bush’s successful campaigns. I do tip my hat to his knowledge of politics. A very intelligent guy.
However, if you have to pick a fight with someone he would be the one. Because he has so much credibility. When you have a disagreement with a guru in politics, it must be real.
Anyway, though I have mentioned it before, he is setting up a nice contrast between Republicans and Democrats. He sees it one way and I think I see it a little differently in perspective. We may both want the same thing, in the end, but we come to and at it on different terms. He being the seasoned expert may have the favor. But I don’t really care, as I am determined to get the perspective right to the core.
He has lectured the same strategy several times on Fox, which he sees as a formula to winning. I don’t accept the basic premise of it. That’s where it gets hairy. Color me skeptical. I have no time-tested methodology or anything, only a sense based on what I know and have seen. That leads me to make a hypothesis and prognosis that I want to treat. He sees more a typical case. This is important and goes directly into my thesis.
Rove has a plethora of plug and play models of prescriptions from which to choose. He also has a good background in history. I am David but battling with an intellectual Goliath.
We both see the same battlegrounds of Democrats and issues driving their whole platform. They are as socialist and radical as the day is long. At least we see the same issues. But our combat tactics have to differ. He is ready to use an arsenal of resources to counter them all. Okay, I understand the reasoning. He wants to get organized and go down some type of list of Democrat issues, one by one, with an answer for each one. He wants Republicans or their spokespeople to be armed and able to tell voters what our ideas are and why they are better than Democrats’ failed ideas. An ultimate battle of ideas. Fairly basic, right?
On the face, you could say he is right. All it takes is that information and plugging it in wherever needed to explain our ideas. Forgive me here because I start seeing that as a little mundane. And in the end, it would depend on whether you can convince targeted voters that your ideas are better and right for America. It sounds a little déjà vu as well.
Wasn’t that what Paul Ryan kept saying? So we do have a case example. Did it work? Jury is still out I guess. But I remember him talking about this “better way” campaign. It is also a tedious thing of sitting down with people and requires being allowed to present your ideas to a willing audience. What could go wrong with that?
Now I promise I am not literally trying to pick apart every little thing with his plan. I’m just trying to be realistic. And today realism can cause you all sorts of heartburn. It is not as simple as it sounds. See we have to consider that target audience. So they are independents and some Democrats. We must know the environment (arena) too.
Targeted audience and arena opens up a big can of worms. And the people who we are inevitably responding to are those Democrats. It also means they are setting the terms for debate with their issues. We are then forced to debate on their terms. Sure we know what those are. But you have to know your audience too, in order to try to convince them. Basically, Democrats are now socialists. They know what they want, too. Long gone are the days Democrats didn’t know what they were, even what they were fighting for. They boldly admit being socialists, or Democratic Socialists if your like. And they are radicals, their ideas are radical. We shouldn’t have to adorn socialism petite along the way.
The logical way to look at it is you cannot go on treating the symptoms without diagnosing and addressing the disease. Pretending it does not matter is not a logical response.
So my point is that you cannot reason with radicals the same way you discuss a family vacation. By their nature they are altered to operate differently. They are hardened in the arts of radicalism. The point is you have to take into consideration who they are. David did know that much about his opponent, Goliath. He found out. And that helped determine how to fight him. It also impassioned David to fight him. I am not saying that socialists or socialism is a giant, only a big glob. Don’t underestimate the ability or capability of your opponent. They have gotten these inherently radical ideas because they are radicals.
When it comes to any interactions with them, one must remember they are radicals. Or go in with that conception anyway. Then the rules of reason that might ordinarily influence anyone else may not work on these people. They have built-in predjudices to their ideas. You aren’t dealing with an objective, even rational, person. Of course you are shooting for those you can influence or convince. Also, by nature, the other way these Democrats move is by group or mob. That is how they are influenced as well, by the wave of the mob.
Then there is the content conflict. We are fighting a mass of media propaganda at the same time. Whatever we say is likely to be turned into the next day’s sound bite against us. So if we are just going for the straight information argument, bombing them with info to make your case, it is possible. But do realize what you are up against or the message will just fall on intentionally deaf ears. When I hear stories of Russian defectors, I get a sense of what this is like. They have preconceived defenses built against your ideas. They are trained to hear things only in a certain way. It may not be code but it is in a way that fits with their ideological (in this case radical) mindset. The worst part is they have built a bias against even opening the door to you.
All this is why I find myself questioning Rove’s approach. Not because he is wrong about any of it, but because of who they really are on the other side. So at one time Karl Rove’s formula would be perfectly right because it would have been like normal politics. Today though, politics is not normal. To call it abnormal would be understating it. This is a whole different politics and relationship to them. What I am trying to say and show is that since Karl Rove has been around and involved in politics, things have changed.
It is not the same as it used to be. And what always worked before may be worthless now, unless you factor in who they are. Regular politics is not supposed to work with radicals because politics is what they were designed to hinder and overcome. Is that a fair match?
And we cannot afford to lose. This will definitely need a part 2 – sometime.
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