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5 Things Conservatives Can Learn From Liberals

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

There are a lot of things NOT to like about liberals, but you have to give them some credit. These are people who are badly, dangerously, and devastatingly wrong on almost every issue of consequence and yet, year after year, they hang in there at a rough parity with conservatives. So, they may do a lot wrong, but there are things we can learn from the Left.


1) Fight Harder: Liberals win a lot of battles just because they're willing to fight harder. Look at what happened to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Komen decided not to keep giving free money to Planned Parenthood and liberals, who aren't even willing to oppose cancer unless some babies can be aborted to even it out, raised so much hell that Komen had to engage in a public face-saving maneuver. This is not unusual. Conservatives are constantly complaining that some insult towards Sarah Palin or Michele Bachmann would never be tolerated if it were aimed at Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton. Well, of course, it wouldn't. Liberals raise hell, create blacklists, and hold permanent grudges over that sort of thing. Conservatives complain, shrug their shoulders and let it go. If conservatives get nastier, more vindictive, and less forgiving, then suddenly people will start giving conservatives the same respect liberals get.

On the other hand, ever notice that liberals can get away with everything from leaving women to die in a tidal pool to having a gay prostitution ring run out of their apartment, while conservatives are destroyed for some faux pas that wouldn't even hurt a liberal's popularity rating? There's a reason for that: liberals will stand up for liberals who are politically useful while conservatives will toss those people under the bus in some kind of misguided attempt to appear "principled." When two equally matched forces meet and one is playing by Marquess of Queensberry rules while the other has an ends justifies the means mentality, there's no question which side is going to win anywhere outside of a Disney movie. If conservatives want to save the country, we need to start playing as dirty as the Left.


2) Support Activists: If you're a popular liberal blogger and you want a better gig, you can be certain that some liberal foundation, magazine, or newspaper will hire you. If you're an activist group that helps the liberal cause, whether it's ACORN, Air America, or the ACLU, you will get the money you need. If you're a liberal with any kind of status, colleges around the country will shell out big bucks to bring you in for a speech. Money is never your biggest problem if you can help liberalism.

On the other hand, most big name conservative magazines won't hire popular conservative bloggers, there simply aren't enough conservative newspapers to do a lot of hiring, and most of the big time talk radio hosts treat blogs like a gold mine to be looted for topics, but seldom if ever mentioned on the air. While there are some conservative think tanks that do things to help grassroots activists -- like Freedomworks, Americans for Prosperity, The Leadership Institute, and the Franklin Center -- almost every activist and blogger I know is operating on a shoestring. What it all comes down to with conservatives is that if you can't fundraise or figure out how to turn a profit, it doesn't matter if what you're doing is good for the movement -- because nobody is going to come in to fund it or even give you any real help promoting it. This is why the conservative blogosphere is slowly but surely dying off. Contrast that to the Occupy Movement where a bunch of dirty hippies camping for handouts can have millions materialize out of thin air to help them out. This isn't because liberals in power love activists. There would be Democrats all over Capitol Hill high-fiving each other if Markos Moulitsas Zúniga were hit by a bus tomorrow. The difference is liberals have a better understanding of what their activists can do for the cause.


3) Embrace Identity Politics: Whether you're talking about blacks, Hispanics, women, Jews, Muslims or gays, liberals have the exact same approach to minority outreach. They find people from that group, fund them, have them claim to be spokesmen for that entire group and then their first message is always, "Conservatives hate you." There's a simple reason that liberals do that: It works! In fact, it works so well that conservatives end up buying into the hype and going to groups like the NAACP, La Raza, and CAIR for outreach and absolution. This is insanity. These groups are given power and money by the Left precisely because they're willing to smear conservatives. It's time to have our own conservative NAACP, our own La Raza, and our CAIR that are friendly to conservatism, capitalism, and Christianity. We can pout, cross our arms, and say we'll never give in to identity politics, but that argument has already been settled with the American people and we've lost. Either we can come to grips with reality and start funding our own interest groups or we can keep pursuing the same failed strategy as we inevitably lose the country as it progressively becomes less white.

4) Make Emotion-Based Arguments: Don't get me wrong: both liberals and conservatives make emotion-based arguments. However, it may be 25% of what conservatives do, while it makes up 98% of liberalism. What so many conservatives don't seem to get is that as a general rule, a powerful emotional argument will usually beat a sound, logical argument. Put another way, you can be right and still lose. It happens all the time. So while conservatives shouldn't discard logic-based arguments, we need to work much harder to tie in emotions. This isn't actually all that hard. Ask yourself whom a program benefits or hurts and explain it in emotional terms. "You support Affirmative Action? Oh, so you believe black Americans are inferior to whites and need a hand up to compete with them? That's disgusting." "You think we should turn a blind eye to illegal immigration? Why do you want to put American workers out of jobs?" "Dry and sciencey" may appeal to think tank wonks and "Big L" Libertarians, but it isn't ultimately going to be enough to move the American people our way.


5) Move the ball forward: There's a simple reason that the country seems to inexorably move to the Left no matter who gets into office. Liberals in D.C. are always trying to move the ball forward while conservatives in D.C. are always trying to hold the line. Look at the two years when Democrats were running everything in D.C. They passed everything from the biggest stimulus in history to Obamacare. What did the Republicans do when they controlled the House, Senate, and White House during the Bush years? Medicare Part D. That was after they worked with the Democrats to pass the No Child Left Behind Act and Sarbanes-Oxley. Thanks for the temporary tax cuts, Republicans, but the country moved to the LEFT domestically during the Bush years. This is one of the reasons that Scott Walker struck such a chord with conservatives: he implemented a policy that helped Wisconsin, hurt the Left, and pulled the state to the Right all in one fell swoop. Why can't conservatives in D.C. ever seem to do that any more?

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