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Give me Ideas not a Theme, or, How Not to Win

According to the AP, Democrats are coalescing around a message of community and purpose. In my last post I pointed out the best way for Republicans to get me to vote Democrat. Let me put out a clue for the Democrats. medrx-one.com

Socialism is a loser. Collectivism is a loser. You’ll bring in the votes from the idle elite, the wishful, and the welfare plantation, and that’s about it. These are the people asking, as a great man once put it, what their country can do for them. No matter how you package your stale 60’s socialism, you won’t sell it. I don’t care if you call it ‘a village’, or ‘community’, or anything else. Expanding government control of people is a losing issue.

What can you win with? Admit that we won in Afganistan and are winning in Iraq. Go ahead and claim that it’s in spite of Bush’s mistakes. Americans want to be winners, they know they’re winners, and they will not tolerate people calling them losers. If you don’t believe me, think how YOU reacted to the previous paragraph.

You can win with giving people control over their own lives. Trust them. They’re not as dumb as you seem to think they are. Let them control their retirement plans, choose their schools and manage their own health care. If you don’t trust the people, they will never trust you.

You can win by being true to your stated ideals. Gore wrote a book calling the internal combustion engine the worst thing that happened to the planet, then he rode around in limousines and private jets. Every do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do issue will count against you. Stop it.

You can win by defining yourself positively instead of negatively. Kerry’s campaign was primarily, once the dross was removed, “I’m not Bush”. We knew that. We already knew who he wasn’t. What we never knew for sure, was who Kerry WAS.

If you really care about the little guy, find out what he cares about. Focus groups and polls won’t tell you. You have to listen. Otherwise, the little guy will quite reasonable conclude that you don’t really care.

Most important of all, find a new idea. The Republicans owned federalism, until they dropped it. You can use that. A lot of people are upset about restrictions on free speech or free practice of religion. You can use that. Minorities in the inner cities are turning to home schooling to break the poverty cycle, because of a failed public school system. You can use that. Illegal immigration worries many people. You can use that. But whatever you use, you have to mean it. Americans can spot a phony.

The one thing that won’t win? Simply trying to put a new wrapper, a new label, or a new spin on a 40 year old idea.

Via Power Line

Update: added link to home home schooling article that I couldn’t find earlier.

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