3) Sometimes, It is the Thought That Counts: Rich Lowry once said that, "(Bill) Clinton was in favor of small, popular things. Bush apparently likes to be in favor of big, unpopular things."
This is another area where the Democrats are smarter than the Republicans. The Dems are constantly doing small things to show their base that their hearts are in the right place. It's these little gestures, sometimes even throwaway lines in speeches that help keep their base happy, even when the left isn't getting everything they want.
Republicans in general, and Bush in particular, are terrible at this. They seem to be of the opinion that they can mention Reagan a few times, make a few pleasing noises towards social conservatives, and everything will be fine. But often, it's the little things that end up killing the GOP instead of helping them. When Republicans who claim to be fiscal conservatives vote for a monstrosity like the Bridge to Nowhere or when Bush goes to South America and starts talking about how he will help them out by rewriting our immigration laws, it sends a loud and clear signal that is far out of proportion to the actual significance of the event. Democrats understand this. Most Republicans on Capitol Hill do not.
4) Hang Together Instead Of Hanging Separately: Liberals in the blogosphere have a reputation for being good at organizing and raising money for elections. It's well deserved and I can tell you that from experience, because last election cycle, I started a grassroots conservative group called Rightroots to raise money in the blogosphere. We raised around $300,000 from the right side of the blogosphere in about 3 months which may sound like a lot, but it's chicken scratch when it's spread over 20+ candidates. During that same time period, liberal bloggers raised millions and blew our doors off.
Know why? Simple. The liberal bloggers didn't have a problem with trying to raise money for candidates that they support while a lot of people on the right did. Don't get me wrong, the left side of the blogosphere is a lot bigger than the right side of the blogosphere, but Rightroots reached out to almost all of the big conservative websites and radio talk show hosts. A few agreed to help out, but most didn't.
Why not? "We don't do that." "That’s not what we are about." "We’re just not interested," etc., etc., etc. Well, here's the reality. The left does do that. Maybe their website isn't "about that," but they did it anyway. Maybe they weren't all that interested in raising money for candidates, but they took the time to do it when members of the conservative grassroots online wouldn't do the same thing.
The conservative grassroots could be much stronger and more vibrant than our opponents across the aisle in every way, but we don't work together. Most of the big talk radio hosts and magazines treat conservative bloggers like lepers and almost nobody wants to help the GOP raise money to win elections. The potential there is enormous, but we're behind the left because they're much more willing to try to push the movement as a whole forward than most of us on the right.
5) Attack, Attack, Attack! We might as well change the Republican Party symbol from an elephant to a punching bag because the Republican wimps in DC just refuse to fight back. The base may have no qualms about going after liberals, but when we look for Republican pols on the Hill to show some leadership in this area, we're almost always sadly disappointed.
Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Ted Kennedy treat politics like a street fight in an alley. They wrap a chain around their fist, grab a broken bottle with the other hand, and then aim for the eyes and the throat. Meanwhile, George Bush and Company are wearing boxing gloves stuffed with extra foam and try not to hit anybody too hard for fear of making them mad. The Bushies aren't afraid to go after terrorists, but when Ted Kennedy or Hillary Clinton attacks, they tremble like John Edwards after he runs out of mousse.
C'mon, guys, you don't have to start comparing Howard Dean to Hitler or anything, but how about showing a little moxie instead of cringing, apologizing, and rolling over like French poodles every time the Democrats go after someone? You Republicans on the Hill: the Democrats have spent the last 2 years smacking you in the mouth, taking your lunch money, and pushing you down while you keep hoping people will give you brownie points for being "nice" and "bipartisan." At what point does it dawn on you guys that it's time to go after the Democrats as hard as they're going after you?