Note: This is an excerpt from the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.”
The great Yogi Berra said it best: “Half of this game is 90% mental.”
Conservatives are so used to being marginalized that we’re often mentally pistol-whipped before the battle even begins. We are so desperate for cultural acceptance that we’ll latch on to even the slightest homage to conservativism from a famous figure, no matter how flawed.
In football it is known as a “helmet game,” when one team has such a mental stronghold on its rival that the minute things don’t go as planned on the field they start collectively thinking to themselves “here we go again” anticipating the worst. When a team has reached that mental breaking point against its rival, it’s time for a culture change and that starts by hiring leaders (coaches) who will challenge the status quo and get the players to believe in themselves again.
We’ve got too many people comfortable with losing not as bad and calling it a win. We need leaders from the Ricky Bobby motivational school who understand “second place is the first loser.” In our case winning isn’t simply winning an election, but winning the future for our children and grandchildren.
We need a house cleaning and a culture change. We need to hit the control-alt-delete buttons and reboot. You do that when your computer itself is still in good shape, but is locked up and not working the way it should. Similarly, our principles are still good, but the process of implementing them and advancing them has lockjaw.
I don’t want to conserve the Left’s agenda, or manage it better. I want to defeat the Left, not conserve it. When it’s time for my generation to leave the world stage, I want us to be known as the generation that did to America’s Leftist Progressives what Ronald Reagan did to the Soviet Union.
To make that happen we need to obey the final commandment of the 10 Commandments of Political Warfare: play offense.
Offense is essential, because you have to be on offense to score points, and you have to score points to win. Playing offense also boosts your side’s morale while doing psychological damage to the other side. That’s why there’s so much talk about returning to the Reagan era today, because other than the early days following the 1994 Republican takeover of Congress that really was the only time any of us can remember our side on the offensive.