We’re What? Really!
Mar 23, 2013
By David Darnell
Much has been written and said about “what went wrong” in the 2012 election cycle. We lost a winnable presidential election and a few seats in Congress. Never mind 30 Republican governors and 28 Republican controlled legislatures in a country of 50 states, we lost the big one and that hurt. Like a feral cat who has chewed a hole in a garbage bag left on someone’s back porch, I too have been returning to feed on the postmortem.
Returning to Draper’s NYT Valentine’s Day post, I’m struck by the now often reported assessment of the GOP’s weakness. Of a focus group session of young female Obama voters, the article states:
” About an hour into the session, Anderson walked up to a whiteboard and took out a magic marker. “I’m going to write down a word, and you guys free-associate with whatever comes to mind,” she said. The first word she wrote was “Democrat.”
“Young people,” one woman called out.
“Liberal,” another said. Followed by: “Diverse.” “Bill Clinton.”“Change.”“Open-minded.”“Spending.”“Handouts.”“Green.”“More science-based.”
When Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”
If you’re reading this you are likely politically savvy, or at least informed and are likely an activist…..and may very well ask the same question I did. Who are these Republicans? As I take a good hard look around me I just don’t see them. Do you?
Are you working with old, rich, greedy, white farmers who are blah, blah, blah? Admittedly the party I invest my time, dubious talent and treasure in has several of the old guard, but by and large we are none of the above. so how did the GOP get here? How have we come to be perceived as these young women see us? Is that our message? Or does the message come from someone other than those of us occupying the rank and file of the Republican Party.
As a Republican Party activist I bought the lie in believing that my advocation of a realistic view of some social issues would guarantee my pariahship. Quite the contrary. It seems that my fellow SoCons do recognize that abortion, though an abhorrent procedure, is not illegal in America. Not something we would ever support but not a club to be used to beat a voter over the head with. And the sending of Rand Paul’s suggestion of removing marriage from the tax code (that it need not be redefined) up the flagpole did not draw the fire I thought it might. We really are not those people.
I have yet to confidently refute Brietbart’s take on politics. Policy IS downstream of culture. Culture IS downstream of media. This focus group, like millions of other everyday ordinary Americans, has been spoon fed a twisted and inaccurate depiction of Lincoln’s party. The left leaning bias of American media needs no introduction and it’s sway over public opinion is beyond question.
If we acknowledge that the voters we seek to court view Republicans through the truth filters of the mainstream media, are we to change our positions and platforms to suit the popular misconceptions? Would a shift in policy position then not be based on a false premise? And if we radically change our positions, are we to believe the Democrat/Media Complex will suddenly reveal to the American public the true nature of the vast majority of Republican voters and activists? I don’t think so.
Honest polling confirms that the majority of Americans hold a center-right view and do not run away screaming at the idea of smaller government, lower taxes and more individual freedom. Simply, it is not the Republican message that is a repellent to some voters, it’s the leftist media’s version of the Republican message some find unpalatable….and rightfully so.
My point is this. Let’s not make a game plan or a strategy based on the string pulling of a corrupt and biased media. In doing so we will only force the puppet master to jerk the strings in a different direction. WE WILL NEVER GET A FAIR SHAKE FROM THE DEMOCRAT/MEDIA COMPLEX…lets not try. We ARE the Rightsided and when we claim the rights to our own message and deliver it to the people…one person at a time…we will win elections.
David Darnell is Chairman of the Marion County (OR) Republican Party. Read more from David Darnell here and follow him on Twitter