What If We Stopped Shouting?

I shout a lot.

Not with my lungs. With my pen. Well, not a pen, actually. With a wireless Bluetooth keyboard.

A few years ago, I shouted with my lungs at Tea Party events. I realized pretty quickly that shouting wasn’t doing any good. It worked at first. Shouting carried my voice to people who thought “no one believes what I believe.” Some people heard me yelling at the Arch and came out to see what the hell was going on.

“What’s that guy yelling about,” they asked the crowd.

“TARP,” someone answered.

“What about TARP?” the newcomer asked.

“He’s against it.”

“Well, I must be in right place.”

Pretty soon, though, everybody who was against TARP was out of the house and in the street. Then we started yelling about Obamacare. This brought out a few more people. At some point, a full 21 percent of American adults were yelling with us.

Then, I got tired of yelling. For one thing, my throat hurt. For another, I noticed our yelling wasn’t attracting any new faces. Everyone had heard what we had to say, and the ones who believed what we believed had come out to yell with us. Like wolves baying at a full moon.

We could find new things to yell about which might attract a few new people. This might also drive away some of the TARP people, though. Todd Akin tried this. And worked. A lot of people who don’t normally vote showed up to vote against him. And a lot of people who normally vote Republican either undervoted the Senate race or voted for McCaskill. (At least, that’s what they told me when their wives were around.)

No,  I think it’s safer to stick with a few things that we really, really believe. The things we first yelled about. Things like bailing out billionaire banksters, nationalizing private companies that make cars that kill people, and borrowing trillions of dollars to distract the kids from the trillions in debt we’ve already asked them to pay off. (Something tells me the kids wouldn’t have enjoyed the trip to Disneyland if they’d known we used their credit cards to finance it.)

I just looked at my Twitter timeline and realized I’m still shouting. But I don’t know why.

I shouted at Erick Erickson the other day. I feel better, but I’m not sure I accomplished anything.

Then, I opened up my Kindle version of P.J. O’Rourke’s fabulous work Don’t Vote It Just Encourages the Bastards. Here’s what I read:

I don’t think drugs are bad. I used to be a hippie. I think drugs are fun. Now I’m a conservative. I think fun is bad.

Wait, not that. I mean, yeah, I read that. And highlighted it, because it’s hillarious. But that’s not the part that triggered this blog. It was this:

My laugh was followed by an uneasy thought. Who was Rush Limbaugh shouting at? Was he shouting at Wesley Clark? I doubted that Clark listened to AM talk radio the way I listened to NPR, to get his blood pressure up. Besides, Howard Dean was already doing that for Clark. Was Rush Limbaugh shouting at uncommitted voters, hoping to scare them into the George W. Bush camp? Shouting “Hillary Clinton!” “Howard Dean!” “John Kerry!” over and over might have done it. But what uncommitted voter cared a spit about Wesley Clark? The person hearing the shout had to know enough about Democratic politics to know who Wesley Clark was and enough about Wesley Clark to know that he was a small pumpkin and a false alarm. Was Rush Limbaugh shouting at Hillary Clinton supporters to hearten them? At Dean supporters to energize them? At Kerry supporters to alert them? These people didn’t tend to be ditto heads. No, I realized, Rush Limbaugh was shouting at me.

That paragraph hit me. When I shout on Twitter, I’m shouting you. But you knew that. So I’ll let O’Rourke explain it, since he went to Harvard and I went to Fontbonne:

Me. I am to the right of . . . Why is the Attila benchmark always used? Fifth-century Hunnish depredations upon the Roman empire were the work of an overpowerful centralization of authority with little respect for property rights, pursuing a policy of economic redistribution in an atmosphere of permissive social mores.

I am a little to the right of Rush Limbaugh. I’m so conservative that I could talk Ellen DeGeneres out of supporting gay marriage. Gays wed, they buy a house, they have children, they encounter our public school system. Then gays vote Republican.

After I’d realized, in 2003, who Rush Limbaugh was shouting at, I performed an experiment. I listened to some more talk radio, watched some conservative television programming, and read some of the conservative books that were popular at the time. I listened to Michael Savage and Mark Levin. I watched Bill O’Reilly’s No Spin Zone and the Sean Hannity part of Hannity and Colmes. They did a lot of shouting. But they didn’t seem to be shouting at the potentially repentant sinner who had guiltily slipped in at the back of the congregation after emptying his bottle of malt liquor. Nor did they seem to be shouting at the abashed political wire puller in the middle pews, his conscience botherd by the electoral blood on his hands. No, Limbaugh, Savage, Levin, O’Reilly, Hannity, et al. were shouting at the pious women in the big hats standing blamelessly in the choir. That is, they were shouting at—with a change of gender and headgear—me.

I know I’m no Rush Limbaugh, but I recognized myself in O’Rouke’s words. I also recognized the left-to-right political migration of Irish and Jews—O’Rourke, Hannity, O’Reilly, Hennessy, Savage, Levin. When I was a kid, Irish and Jews all liberals, weren’t we? All the conservatives were English. Or Austrian. Except for Buckley, but he went to school in England, which is probably where the conversion happened.

If you were hoping for something profound, I think it’s time to warn you that I began writing immediately after reading the paragraphs I just copied from Don’t Vote. I realize now that I should have thought more, but here I am. Let’s make the best of it as we take this journey together. A journey that might end anywhere. Strap on your headgear and get ready to march.

Shouting: Who’s It Good For?

Except for alerting others who already believe what we believe, what good does shouting do? Many of us have stories of converting friends or family to our way of thinking, but did we shout them into compliance? If so, how long will their conversion hold?

And we probably didn’t conservatism into them by strapping them to a chair and reading The Federalist Papers. Or Common Sense. Or The Wealth of Nations or The 5000 Year Leap or Democracy in America or The Road to Serfdom or any of the other books that we form support groups to discuss.

Yes, our converts might read those books. Eventually. But the reading of our sacred texts is a symptom of conversion, not a cause. Maybe a symptom of doubt in their prior beliefs. If Al Franken were to take a year off to read the abridged version of The Road Serfdom, he wouldn’t become a conservative. He’d write “bullshit” in the margins 348 times. And he’d scribble down little snippets of the work out of context that he’d repeat endlessly to show the world that Hayek was a narrow, stupid, racist elitist who liked cutting the fins off fish and throw them back into the pond. “The semi-colon is racist,” I can hear Franken shouting, “and Hayek used seven of them one page alone!”

I know why we shout. It feels good. I don’t know what we expect shouting to accomplish. If you have some strategy for shouting, please share it in the comments. But also share some empirical evidence that shouting works.

Instead of shouting, what if we found a way to show people what life is like at the end of the road to serfdom? How would we show that? How could we help people feel that? How might they experience serfdom? What if we began with them?

Sure, there are some people, like Al Franken, who won’t be converted. But there’s a big group of people who vote wrong because they don’t know any better. They’re not hardcore leftists, especially Millennials, as Reason Magainze discovered in a recent survey.

Twenty-five percent of millennials identify as liberal, compared to only 14% of Americans over 30. However, most millennials are basing their choices onsocial issues, which they prioritize over economics when making political judgments. When we investigate liberal millennials, the report shows that only about a third of respondents describe their own liberalism in both social and economic terms.

One-third of one-quarter is . . . a relatively small number (0.0825). So ignore that eight percent. They’re Franken material. There’s hope for the other 92 percent.

Reason found even more contradictions in their poll:

This pattern plays out in policy stances too. Millennials tend to favor a larger, more active government with more guarantees, and are more sympathetic to socialism than older generations. But this isn’t absolute. When millennials are educated about the concrete trade-offs these policies entail, their support drops dramatically, even closing commonracial gaps in the process.

So how do we reach them, if not with hard, cold, boring, difficult to memorize facts?

George Orwell did it with 1984 and even Animal Farm. But nobody reads those books anymore. Or they’re guided in their reading by teachers who explain that Big Brother is actually Apple or IBM or George Bush and that the Department of Justice is Your Friend protecting your from abuses by these corporations.

Facts convince no one of anything, as science has shown again and again. But stories do. Because stories let us feel and experience. Great stories turn off our thinking caps and suspend our disbelief and let us feel what it would be like to be the character looking up at the etchings on the Ministry of Truth. Later, after we’ve felt something, the facts justify our new “beliefs.”

Back to my original question: what if we stopped shouting?

Author: William Hennessy

Co-founder of St. Louis Tea Party Coalition and Nationwide Chicago Tea Party Persuasive design expertLatest book: Turning On Trump: An Evolution (2016)Author of The Conservative Manifest (1993), Zen Conservatism (2009), Weaving the Roots (2011), and Fight to Evolve (2016)I believe every person deserves the dignity of meaningful work as the only path to human flourishing.

17 Comments on “What If We Stopped Shouting?

  1. Excellent piece, Bill and greatly appreciated. As I get older I find more of the crotchety “when I was a boy” crap coming out of my mouth whenever I get involved in an impassioned political debate or fwd an email. In other words, I found myself shouting. Even though I instinctively knew the wisdom and effectiveness of reasoned, factual, “tale-based” discourse, I would lose patience dealing with some idealistic, fantasy-believing product of modern “higher education” and bluntly begin verbally beating them about the head & shoulders! I had forgotten the wisdom of the old saying, “Arguing with an idiot is like wrestling with a pig in the mud. You both get dirty and you soon realize the pig’s enjoying himself!”

    Your post (and especially the very lucid commenter above, kudos to him!) remind me to keep my focus and my calm and also to remember the first rule of Debate & Rhetoric: “He who asks the most questions controls the Debate.” Instead of lecturing or ranting, ask questions that force your opponent to examine why they believe what they believe and if possible force them to defend it. They usually can’t and you have the satisfaction of knowing you can answer effectively if they try the same tactic on you or, as often happens, you realize you have “won” the debate when they become so flustered that they resort to ad hominim attacks. But every once in a while, you also get the satisfaction of realizing that maybe you just opened their eyes and made them think.

    Thanks again for the reminder and the advice.

    1. Good point; when engaging people in conversation (attend your local repub meetings and other such things… it is important if we want to retake the party), use the Socrates approach of asking questions, and seeking truth through a dialogue. It is harder to do sometimes, and takes more effort / discipline than shouting, but it also has longer-lasting results, which can multiply if you get *them* to start asking their own questions internally… soon they too will become another Socrates, spreading the message by questioning the status quo (Latin for “the mess we are in now” per Saint Ronnie).

      p.s. Now get off my lawn, whippersnapper… back when Aristotle and I were young, we mumble mumble …. :-)

    2. Something we all need to keep in mind when debating our “opponents” – whether they be Democrats, establishment Republicans, or the leftists mainstream press – is that we will rareley, if ever, change their minds no matter how lock-tight logical of an argument we make. A debate “victory” for us needs to be defined in terms of bringing more people to our way of thinking on the need and benefit for smaller, limited government while our opponents spout the virtues of big government, or – in the case of the establishment Republicans – the virtuers of their actions when they vote to support big goernment while talking against it.

      The essence of Bill’s argument here is that those “spectators” on the sidelines, essentially the voters who are the ones we really want to convince, tend to not listen to shouters. None of us really do. We will never convince the like of Roy Blunt or his boss, Crusher McConnell, the error of their ways when they vote for corporate subsidies and handouts any more than we will convince McCaskill and Pelosi that the nanny state isn’t a good thing. What we CAN do, is convince the majority of voters that our limited government argument is in their best interest and motivate them to vote the big government establishment incumbents out of office. This will take time, but it’s win-able; what isn’t win-able is convincing incumbent politicians of the error of their way by having a better argument in a single debate.

      We need to always keep our true audience in mind and, as Bill suggests here, stop shouting. It turns off the people we are really attempting to reach.

  2. The keys are as follows:

    1. shouting, which in the olden days was called pamphlets. The tea party has that down pat. But so do the dems slash estab-repubs, and *they* control the teevee. Shouting can only take us so far.

    2. thoughtfulness, which in the olden days was called the Federalist Papers, Hayek, et cetera. The tea party also has this down pat, although more could be done. As before, though, the dems slash estab-repubs largely control the schools, from the NEA && Common Core in K-12, all the way through PhD in Keynesian Econ, which means that philosophizing can only take us so far.

    3. weaponry, which in the olden days was called the second amendment. The tea party, once again, has this one down pat. But once again, the dems slash estab-repubs control the marines, the air force, the ICBMs, the NSA surveillance, and the paramilitary SWAT teams. There are constitutionalist sheriffs here and there, and the constitutionalist Ron Paul got more donations from active military than anybody else in 2012, but the cards are stacked against this one.

    4. organization, aka coalitions and delegates and caucuses and PACs and so on. This is an area where the tea party is weak, but growing stronger. There are many PACs now which do good work. There are tea-party-caucus groups (and liberty-caucus groups) at the national level. There are local tea-party-groups in many states and counties of the country. But there is still much more to do. Many PACs and caucuses are compromised, either by groups pushing non-tea-agendas, or by estab-folks trying to co-opt the infrastructure, or both. Reactionary-tea-party-members screaming on the internet will not help fix this; we need to have a clear-eyed look at which groups and which leading members support which aspects of the tea party, and by what percentage, and in what priority. Screaming is no help with such work; more infrastructure is needed, to separate the truth from the lies. Similarly, the tea party is weak in helping do the mundane and boring work of running a political party; not enough tea party folks are on their county executive committee, on their county election commission, on their state-level party delegation, and so on. There are not enough tea party supporters who are members of the RNC, state party chairs, national convention delegates, and in other positions of power. Hence, whenever there is an RNC motion to censure Henry Barbour, it fails, and when McDaniel puts evidence before the SREC they refuse to consider it, plus around 25% of the time when McDaniel volunteers seek courthouse-records, they are denied. We have the numbers, but we do not have the organizational strength. Duverger’s law prevents any hope of making a ‘third’ party succeed; we must refactor the repub party from within, if we want to have a REAL second party. That takes work, and we are not yet doing enough in that respect. Estab-repubs re-asserted control over the Iowa party and the Nevada party and the Alaska party, during 2013 maneuvering — this is part of the reason why Ed Martin had no luck getting Barbour censured in August 2014.

    5. story-telling, which in the olden days was called history and oratory. How did the founders convince the broad mass of people in the colonies to support the war of independence? It wasn’t with shouting, with thoughtfulness, or with weaponry. It was with stories: the Boston Massacre, the Boston Tea Party, the Ride of Paul Revere, the flag of Betsy Ross, and Washington Crossing The Delaware River on Christmas Eve to defeat the Royal Army via sneak attack at knight with bayonets (forcing them to flee back to OWS territory). Older stories were also key: there was good reason that the founders drew parallels to the republic of the Athenian Greeks, with wise Athena and her shield as their heroine. There was good reason for drawing the parallels to the republic of the Romans. There was good reason to linking our success to Adam Smith, with his story of the pin-making-factory. There was good reason for linking our success to John Locke, with his discussion of individual rights. There was good reason for linking our success to liberty, and stories thereof. What can the dems and estab-repubs offer, in terms of stories? The story of the 1871 welfare state of the Kaiser. The story of the 1917 welfare state of Lenin. The story of the 1949 welfare state of Mao. The story of the modern welfare state of Greece. Those are not very convincing stories, even when filtered through the estab-schools and the estab-media! The internet makes rewriting history harder than it used to be.

    6. real-world success, which in the olden days was called reality. On the dem-side, their most recent “success” story is Obama, but his success is a lie (starting with broken 2008 campaign promises and continuing right through the current scandals… each with their associated coverup). On the estab-repub-side, their most recent “success” story is GWB+GHWB (and soon Jeb aka Bush The Third). The tea party repubs have a modern success story, in Ronald Reagan, although estab-repubs often try to claim him also; tea also has a fairly recent failure-story, in Barry Goldwater… not to mention Bob Taft of the 1940s. The conserva-dems && centrist-repubs have a modern success story, the latter six years of Bill Clinton && Newt Gingrich. They hope to paint Hillary as part of that, rather than as part of Hillarycare which screwed up the first two years of Bill Clinton (and as part of Obama and Benghazi and Obamacare of course), but this ploy is unlikely to succeed. Personally, I expect that just like in 2008, the dems will nominate somebody hitherto relatively unknown, most likely Gillibrand D-NY, who has the advantage of being a drop-in replacement for Hillary (female && wall-street-friendly) but without the baggage && wrinkles. Dems and estab-repubs can use their influence in the media and the schools to try and rewrite history, and also to rewrite reality, but facts are stubborn things, as Reagan was fond of saying. We can show real-world success, by getting elected (tea-party state legislatures are beginning to form in NH and in TX for instance), and by getting real-world projects up and running (Rand Paul is trying to convince people to help form tax-free regulation-free zoning areas for instance). Given the nasty tactics used in the 2014 contests, and for that matter, in the 2012 elections, it is definitely going to be hard for the tea party to have a strong showing in 2016. But we will do better in 2016 than we did in 2014, and with luck, better than we did in 2012; our eyes are open now.

    Specifically, as far as story-telling is concerned, one thing that I would recommend is for tea party folks in Mississippi to organize gratis public showings, in all 82 counties, of the old Frank Capra film from the black-n-white days, Mister Smith Goes To Washington. This is a tale of a Constitution-loving boy scout leader, son of a populist pamphlet publisher, who is sent to DC as a senator by mistake, when the ancient holder of one Senate seat died in office. The corrupt governor (in Jackson City) made the appointment, thinking that this rube would be an easy-to-control moron, and would therefore unwittingly help the corrupt Senator still in DC(called the silver knight based on his hairstyle… and his principles before the estab co-opted him twenty years back) plus the corrupt establishment thugs continue their pork-slash-graft operations. Turns out, that the “rube” was not such a fool after all, and uncovered the corruption, vowing to overturn it; the machine tried to assassinate his character to stop him, but with help from a plucky secretary, his mom back home, and a bit of luck, the good side won in the end.

    I have hope that the good side will win in the end, too, here in our full-color modern reality. But if we want to do that, we need to get the broad mass of Mississippians on our side; more shouting will not help much, additional thoughtful philosophizing will not help much, either. Weaponry and organization are both of zero help here. Telling the story, of how McDaniel stood up against the corrupt machine in real life, may just help. Double-especially if we have a Capra tale, to make the message go down easier, and more memorably. (Also won’t hurt to use the Atlas Shrugged movie trilogy, when that comes out in September, during the general election battle against Childers.) Story-telling has not been the strong suit of the tea-party, to date, but it very well may just be our ace in the hole.

    1. Excellent piece. Thank you. May I promote this to If so, how should I attribute to the author?

      1. “Copyright 2014 Chris Z. McDaniel , released under CC-BY-SA3 (Wikipedia license)”

        We are all Chris McDaniel now; Mississippi was the I-am-Spartacus moment for the tea party (another good story). Or if you want, feel free to assume copyright to yourself, but if you do, please clean it up a bit and fill in the gaps — those six are not *everything*. But yes, feel free to spread the message, and make improvements/corrections/etc.

        In other unrelated news, somebody *actually* named Chris McDaniel, R-KY-Latonia, is likely to run for LtGov of KY next year, with endorsement from Rand. So maybe this will become a trend, and tea-party candidates in 2016 will legally change their names to “Chris McDaniel” for the duration of their elections? Heh heh heh. As bad as this year has been, I have hope that this is the knee-bend year, and 2016 and 2018 and especially 2020 will be the years that liberTea and boilingTea politicians start to have control of ~30% of each major branch of the federal govt (including the SCOTUS if the sitting judges can make it until 2017 before they retire). That would be enough to get many policies adopted, and start showing unmistakably-real-world success.

    2. …a…

      I assume your Atlas Shrugged approach refers to the tea party sitting out the MS senate election, and that “…the general election battle against Childers.” is the Cochran/Blunt Republican establishment’s battle to fight and NOT ours to fight; especially after this group just pulled out all stops to “crush” McDaniel.

      This is how we need to approach EVERY general election involving Republican establishment candidates – sit them out or vote 3rd party. Another radical thought: To really “crush” the Republican establishment “crushers” we need to consider holding our noses and voting for Democrats in close general election races against establishment Republican incumbents, who for all intents and purposes will continue to vote like Democrats to expand the size and power of government. At this point the main electoral purpose of the Republican establishment seems to be to construct an impenetrable firewall during primaries between the tea party candidates and the Democrats, no matter what the cost.

      1. Jim, consider me an optimist: I expect the general election battle to be McDaniel vs Childers, in which context the Atlas Shrugged movies make perfect sense, and the tea-party folks will have to be hyperactive (since the media will try to crush McDaniel and some of the estab-repubs in MS will help do so). There is a very real possibility that McDaniel could win his courtcase, but lose the redo-runoff, or if that is avoided, lose to Childers by once again being falsely tarred as a racist.

        If, as is quite possible (even probable given the uphill nature of the battle), McDaniel loses a battle at some point along the way, most likely due to the court ruling against him thanks to the wiles of Butler Snow lawyers (Haley’s lobbying firm is representing team Cochran), then it is pretty pointless to show Atlas Shrugged movies in support of *Cochran* versus Childers… neither one of them will significantly change the direction Obama is heading us towards, one being an estab-repub, the other being a conserva-dem. I would still recommend the local tea party folks to start hosting movie-nights in Mississippi, but the showing of Atlas Shrugged would be more of an educational effort, looking forward to the 2015 statewide elections and the 2016 presidential primaries, than topical for 2014. Does this make more sense now?

        As to your larger points, on our strategy going forward, I strongly disagree that we should go scorched-earth in EVERY contest. And I can tell you why in 13 glyphs: story-telling. There were 61m repubs who voted for Romney in 2012. They were the same 60m people who voted for McCain in 2008, more or less. Most of them are low-information-voters. The vast majority get their info from teevee. The don’t participate in primary-elections. They believe in individual responsibility, and in free enterprise, and in equality of opportunity. Although they disapprove of the direction of the country, and have low regard for the folks in DC, they do not grok how the system itself is rigged. Say that a large and angry faction of us tea-party-types decide to agree on a scorched-earth strategy, across the board. That means we will be painted as sunshine patriots on FOX, not just as crazies on NBC. Many of the Eisenhower-repubs (talking regular voters here not party activists) will not understand. So the story-telling will be against us, if we use the scorched-earth strategy.

        How do we make the story-telling aspect be on our side? I think there are a couple ways to do it. First, we tell the story of how big money paid for the race-baiting in Mississippi. We keep telling that story, and we tell it right. RememberMississippi. That means, no guilt by association, and fair is fair, and give credit where credit is due, and give blame when deserved (but no more and no less than is deserved). Henry Barbour, nat’l cmte’man of MS, nephew of gov-slash-lobbyist Haley, was personally responsible for funding race-baiting adverts, and later admitted to it (after first denying any connection but then getting caught), plus doubled down and said the tea party supporters really *do* want to keep minorities from voting. That makes Henry somebody we must vow to defeat; Ed Martin failed to censure him in the RNC, so we need to train tea-party-folks in MS on how to unseat Henry Barbour — and Joe Nosef while they are at it — at the 2016 MSGOP state convention (precinct & county delegation-elections were April 28th in the 2012 Mississippi contest but the 2016 schedule is “compressed” Feb-June instead of Jan-Aug so the date may change).

        We should NOT give Nosef as much blame as we give Henry. (For that matter, we should not give Haley quite as much blame as Henry… even though Haley actively and unabashedly campaigned for Cochran personally, plus donated directly to Henry’s MsConservativesPac.) McCain personally campaigned with Cochran, praised the tactics, and donated too, so he gets significant blame. You are in Missouri, so you are mad that Roy Blunt was a donor to Cochran, and also directly to Henry’s PAC. That is well and good. But it is important to get it right: did Blunt donate after 6/3, and especially, after 6/10 when the race-baiting adverts started airing? If so, give blame where blame is due. Did Blunt know about the content of the adverts? (It seems unlikely but get him on the record.) Has Blunt publicly stated, like Senator Portman in Ohio, that using race as a wedge is wrong, and he would not support his money being used thataway? If not, why not? Also, to be fair, 90% of sitting repub senators donated to Cochran; Blunt should not be unfairly singled out. Similarly, basically *every* Senator supports the NRSC, and many of the 61m low-info repubs do as well; the staffers at the NRSC used that money wrongly, but the 61m are not to blame.

        Surely, though, we can tell the story to the 61m, and recommend they do NOT give money to the NRSC any more, until and unless the staffers involved are fired, and the NRSC vowed to stay out of repub-primary-chanllenges going forwards. Ditto for the RNC, until Henry is off it and the RNC chair apologizes for failing to act in timely fashion. As for Blunt, put the heat on him. Get him to go on record: did he support the race-baiting adverts that his money paid for? Do the same for RNC elected folks in Missouri, the state party chair, the national committeeman, the nationalcommitteewoman. Why did they not vote to censure Henry Barbour, at the August meeting of the repub natl cmte in Chicago? Do they support race-baiting adverts that Henry Barbour paid for and approves of? We know the answer for Ed Martin (yay), but what about the other two, is my question. Lance Beshore & Susie Eckelkamp.

        And hey, now that the RNC censure has been denied (once… maybe Martin will bring it up again at the next meeting as more evidence — and more vivid storytelling — filters to the masses), we still have other options. It would be useful for the SREC of Missouri to pass a resolution on the race-baiting tactics in Mississippi, for example. And look, Ed Martin and Lance Beshore are members. The RNC is still fundamentally a ground-up operation, with the state parties having significant control. Similarly, the state GOP operations are also grassroots-up operations, with the county committees having considerable control. See how many counties you can convince, to pass a resolution censuring Henry Barbour’s race-baiting tactics. That will make the SREC pay attention. That in turn will make the RNC pay attention, especially if other states do the same. Perhaps most importantly of all, that will tell us whether the folks that are local county chairs, local precinct chairs, and SREC members for the repub pty of Missouri, will stand on principle… or will instead toe the party line. There are upcoming elections for Missouri GOP seats, too. The RNC has already “inquired” about the dates for unseating Ed Martin, remember; they may be in for a shock, if instead of Ed Martin leaving, a wave of tea shows up at the next presidential nominating convention.

        Anyways, sorry about the long response; hope you are finding it useful. In a nutshell, what we should concentrate on doing is not a scorched-earth policy, that we will never support anybody who is not Ted Cruz / Rand Paul / Chris McDaniel / etc. That is a bad idea from a story-telling perspective, and also mathematically, Duverger’s law shows that in our kind of electoral system, the *only* thing that works is controlling one of the dominant parties. Right now, the estab-repubs control the party of Reagan. Right now, you are correct, the *main* goal of estab-repubs is to weaken the tea. They don’t care if dems get elected as a result; they will just tell the (false & lying … but backed up by teevee news) story that the *tea* folks are responsible for the 2014 losses, if only they had rallied around Thad….

        No, we have only one pragmatic option: we must retake the party of Reagan from within. That means getting and holding precinct-chairs. That means getting and holding county-chairs. That means getting and holding seats on the county election commission. There are more of us, than their are of estab-lackeys. More importantly, most of the 61m people that vote repubs, would be on our side, if they only knew the truth. We must tell them the truth, and then get them to help us retake the party. If we control the counties, we will also control the state conventions, which means we will be able to elect good people to the SREC and to the RNC, and send good delegates to the presidential conventions, and make sure that the elections are certified PROPERLY without fraud.

        We should never stoop to the estab-repub level, and use our future control of the party to “win” at any costs. For one thing, we don’t have to! Their ideas are wrong, whereas our ideas are right; balancing the budget with the penny plan (NOT with new taxes), and then inverting the deficit so we can pay down the debt to ~10%gdp over the next generation or so, is not extreme / crazy / wingnut. Sane monetary policy is not, either. Cut the size of government to 10%gdp, and cut the size of debt to 10%gdp, and liberty and freedom will necessarily result. The welfare state is a *bad* story; ours is a good story.

        There is one exception to the scorched-earth policy, that I would support: we will never support a dem candidate who calls the tea party (or repub party) inherently racist, or says the tea party (or repub party) wants to keep minorities from voting. Those people are beneath our contempt, just as the pro-segregation dems of the 1900s, and the pro-slavery dems of the 1800s, are beneath the contempt of the repub party. We should apply the same exact rule to repub candidates. But we should apply the rule carefully, not wildly. Thad Cochran never personally said such things. But his team paid people to say such things, and his affiliated PACs now have doubled down to back him up. There is an election-challenge lawsuit in progress; when it is over, the evidence of race-baiting will be plain for all to see. If Cochran sees the evidence, acknowledges it was wrong, fires the people involved, and disassociates from them going forward, plus apologizes to McDaniel in particular and the tea party in general for his name being used atop race-baiting adverts… well then, quite frankly, that would be a big step toward re-unifying the party.

        However, if Cochran takes the tacit approval by silence approach, then some sort of scorched earth is merited, in my book. I probably could not bring myself to vote for Childers, and staying at home is not an option either (that is exactly what the estab-repubs want us to do!). But I would never vote for somebody who stood by while evil was being done, knowing it was evil, and if not being able to reverse time and stop it, at least apologizing. Candidates who tar the tea folks as racist, should expect we’ll leave their line on the ballot blank, or vote for the Libertarian/Constitution/Reform/somesuch candidate in their race, if a good egg happens to be running as such. Those numbers will show up, in the overall totals; people paying attention will see the impact of this surgically-scorched-earth tactic.

        One final note, and then I really will stop: words mean things, as Reagan knew, and we modern tea folks must remember that. There is not a clear split between dems and repubs, as we know; many repubs are dempubs, RINOs, estab-repubs, etc. Some dems, like Childers and Manchin and Matheson, are pretty squishy too: they don’t always vote like Elizabeth Warren. (Mia Love was still gonna beat Matheson though, which is why he dropped out of the running in Utah.) We need to start thinking in percentages; set Senator Obama at 0%, and Senator Warren at -15%, and Senator Manchin at 30% or so. The same applies to repubs: Collins is 40%, Cochran is around 55%, Blunt is 70%, McConnell is 85%, Cornyn is 90%, Rand/Cruz/Lee/Scott are 95+%. Plenty of people this year have been trying to call Cornyn and especially McConnell estab-repubs. That is true, in the sense that, they both donated to Cochran, they both toe the party line, and they both are not really tea-party-types. But they both have decent voting-records, which counts more than rhetoric for me. Sure, Stockman is 110% boiling tea, but that’s only a gain of +20% over Cornyn. By contrast, McDaniel at 95% tea would be a +40% gain over Cochran, a far more important upgrade. Bevin was only about 90% tea (he took TARP bailout money) in my book, which is +5% gain over McConnell; pretty paltry. That’s not to say Bevin and Stockman shouldn’t have run; they helped put pressure on the incumbents, to watch their steps.

        That’s also not to say McConnell 85% is “good enough”… just that it is better than Blunt 70% which in turn is better than Cochran 55% which in turn is ‘better’ than Childers 40% (unless unapologetic race-baiting is involved that is). Tea party folks tend to be high-information-voters, but we also tend to fall into the dem-trap of abusing the English language, conflating things, hyperbole, and so on. We need to be surgical in our language. Dems hate that; estab-repubs hate that. For instance, Jeff Sessions, who is strong enough tea that he had *no* challenger this year in deep red Alabama, actually has a voting record of 83% or so, like McConnell rather than ~95% like Cruz/Rand/Lee/Scott/McDaniel. Sessions is a legitimate tea party candidate; he did not donate to Cochran, for example. But he could be doing better. Tea folks need to use precise language, so we are not fooled. Look at Shannon vs Langford in Oklahoma; Shannon was the 91%-rated tea-repub, and Langford was the 73%-rated estab-repub, but the voters there were fooled into thinking Langford was “just as” much a conservative tea-party type as Shannon. The estab-repub strategy is to lie their way to “victory” over the tea party folks: call Brat a “liberal college prof” in Virginia (backfired), call Langford “just as conservative” in Oklahoma (worked), call McDaniel a racist in Mississippi (REALLY backfired).

        Estab repubs love to call themselves “conservative” to trick the low-info-voter. And hey, Thad Cochran *is* ever so slightly more “conservative” than Childers, by about +15% or so. But McDaniel is more conservative than Childers by +55% or so, and in a PVI+9 state, would still easily win. (By contrast, Collins at 40% in Maine is about the best we can hope for right now.) When you look at it numerically, you can see that Cochran is a “conservative” who is equally close to conserva-dem Childers as he is to estab-repub Roy Blunt. In other words, Cochran is a porker and a compromiser; Blunt is a “mainstream” semi-porker estab-repub, who is midway between McConnell and Cochran. McConnell is a tight-hawk-estab-repub, something like Newt; still a pretty big spender albeit not a porker, still pretty weak on the Constitution, about midway between Roy Blunt and Rand Paul / Ted Cruz / etc. It will not be easy to use precise language, going forward; the tea party is a distributed movement, and some folks care about fiscal matters, some about Constitutional matters, some about foreign policy matters, and some about social issues… most of us care about all of them, but prioritize uniquely. Unifying our terminology will be tough. Still, it is important we try to be precise; how *much* of an estab-repub is Cochran, compared to McConnell? How much of an estab-dem is Childers, compared to Hillary? If we are going to get angry about being unfairly tarred as racists, it is only fair we try to be careful ourselves, and not tar *all* squishy repubs as no-better-than-the-dems. We should quantify the ‘squish’ percentage: that will help us, plus thwart estab-repub lies.

        Thanks, and keep up the good work. Chris Z. McDaniel (CCBYSA3 license)

  3. Who is shouting? No One I know of. All we have are compliant republicans. The American People Have NO VOICE. Our Lords have won.

    1. I feel that way sometimes. But then someone reminds me about grit. Grit is the stuff that scratches and chafes. It doesn’t hurt, really. Grit irritates. Like salt in a wound. Grit doesn’t stop us. It mocks us. We press on in spite if the irritation. And when we’ve won, once we’ve traversed the course and walked across the goal line, they say about us “they have grit.”

      Damn straight.

      1. That’s it, genius of Hennessy, call the app “GRIT”. Tap the millennial social media habitat. Go forth with gritty stories!

      2. I have the GRIT and I am shouting every chance I get to our elected officials. They don’t LISTEN! But I have one tool let that they will listen to. That is to VOTE them OUT!

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