Lenz: Winning The Messaging War

LessGov

government_is_the_problem_not_the_solution_bumper_sticker-ra7a86f1f144a4b22917670b8e2790be1_v9wht_8byvr_512-300x84

 

How many times have you heard these lines?

If Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, is correct, then the GOP and the TEA Party would certainly appear to be insane.

However I must give them credit because their commitment to stale messaging is unparalleled. Even Christianity gives itself a face left from time to time. Watch Joel Osteen this Sunday, see if you can tell the difference between his message and a Tony Robbins seminar…

Individuals committed to political change within the Liberty Movement MUST do better. I know I’m preaching to the choir, but the future of the country depends on it.

Establishment Republicans, Conservative Republicans, and Tea Party Republicans have all preached the gospel of small government to millions of adoring fans time and time again. However, if we really want to reduce the size of government in the long run, our message cannot be one of negation.

When your opponent is handing out toys like Santa Claus, you cannot win by preaching the long term benefits of delayed gratification. At a certain point saying no over and over again becomes self-flagellation. The Tea Party rode a wave of anti-government emotion, but did the American people all of the sudden decide they wanted less government? No.

medicare-keep-your-hands-off-my-medicare

Need I say more?

The 2010 midterm voters were pissed about the health care law. The reelection of President Obama in 2012 proved that small government messaging does not have staying power. Why is that?

Voters get hired of hearing no. Ultimately voters want solutions and not ones they have heard before.

Politics is the art of packaging policy into messaging. When people are hurting they do not want to hear about how getting rid of unemployment benefits is going to give them more freedom. It is time to change the way the Liberty Movement, Tea Party, and GOP sell small government. Where should we look for help in crafting a new message?

Nostalgia

 

 

Nostalgia will be our guiding light in crafting a new message. How will we put that tool into practice so we can reinvigorate the small government message?

New Slogans of the Liberty Movement

1) Walk Tall:

pXSgpfk

 

What happened to Americans? When did we forget who we are? We are a proud powerful people who in 1776 decided that we will be our own rulers and declared our independence from our colonial masters. Divine right of kings be damned.

When our forefathers drafted that sacred document, the Declaration of Independence, it was the shot heard round the world. All of human civilization heard that this group of unruly frontiersman had told the most powerful empire in the world to take a hike.

As if that were not enough, they had the nerve to dump their sh*tty overpriced British tea right in the bottom of the Boston Harbor. Americans were the toast of the world. We were the powder keg that ignited the largest explosion of human freedom in the history of mankind. Where did that spirit go? When did we start preferring security to adventure? Are we no longer a proud people? Would Americans today have supported King George over George Washington?

No. That spirit is still inside each of us. It just needs to be relight.

Let us walk tall together. Let’s fulfill the promise America once represented, to be that shining city on a hill dedicated to liberty and opportunity for anyone willing to take the risk. Americans seek adventure and the great unknown because its in our DNA. It has been since the pilgrims set off for the new world and a better life.

2) Govern Local: 

Govern-Local

 

Your local government understands the specific needs of your community. They work on them each and every day.

Why should a school principal in Arizona have to put in a request to the Department of Education in DC for funding because the air conditioner went out? Why not leave the tax dollars in the school district for the principal to access as necessary? Instead of making the kids sit in a hot classroom for three weeks because a check mark was missing on the request form?

Why should the city government in Plainfield, Indiana have to put in a request for federal funds to restore a bridge in the middle of their downtown? Wouldn’t it make more sense for the city government to put the funds in a savings account that pays interest and makes a return for the local taxpayer?

After all, the citizens are the ones who will be both paying for and driving over it each day. Why send the money to DC and then be forced to put in a request for the money YOU sent them in the first place? Governing locally is more efficient, more adaptable, and drastically more fair than letting DC bureaucrats decide how to allocate your community’s money.

You can find anything you need locally: welfare, social services, etc…

$952 Billion was spent on welfare between states and the federal government this year.

For every tax dollar sent to Washington DC for welfare,  only $.30 reaches the recipient. The remaining $.70 goes to maintain the federal and state bureaucracies. If you really care about helping the poverty stricken and disenfranchised, how can you support robbing them out of $.70 of every time you send them $1?

Local politicians value your vote more than national politicians. Local politicians aren’t protected by big money lobbyists and billionaire donors. If they do a bad job, rumors spread, and they lose the next election.

Govern Local is what’s best for you, for your neighbor, and for the worst off in your community. You can see the impact your tax dollars make on the people of your community. If we govern local we will stop seeing those that need assistance, as the other side. They are friends in the community who we are more than happy to offer a hand up.

3) Government As A Service (GAAS): 

Og4oCe4

 

Government As A Service

Think about government as it exists today. Look at all the different areas you have to interact with the government in your daily life:

  • Roads
  • Schools
  • Police
  • Post Office
  • Water in your home
  • Electricity
  • Heat
  • Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Court System
  • FDA
  • FAA
  • TSA
  • On and on and on…

Now think about the level of service you receive from each of these institutions. Think about that pot hole you hit on the way to work this morning that caused you to have to go and get a patch. Or how about the school you dropped your child off at this morning? Wouldn’t it be nice if you were allowed to pick the teacher best suited to educating your child?

Maybe you need to renew your license, but  being a busy professional, you can’t take 3 hours out of your day to go grab a ticket and wait for your number to be called. Wouldn’t it be nice if the DMV opened at 6 am two days per week and stayed open until 9 pm two different days per week? Or allowed you to book an appointment online with a smiling customer service representative who appreciated the dollars you were spending that pay his or her salary?

There’s an old saying that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. People have learned to accept crappy service in return for tax dollars. A dollar is a dollar.

If Target, Amazon, or any other private company treated you the way government institutions do, they would be out of business in a month. Yet ultimately, those government institutions are service providers just like Target and Amazon. Its time to quit accepting bad service from them. If anything, given their monopoly status, we should demand a higher level of service.

Government As A Service is how the Liberty Movement can compete with the Democratic Party on “what government can do for you”. We need to seize this opportunity and present innovative bold solutions that will make meaningful differences in the daily lives of voters.

For instance, if a pothole isn’t fixed in your neighborhood and you called about it 48 hours beforehand, pass legislation that makes the local Department of Transportation financially liable for the expense of a new tire or patch. All of the sudden, potholes would be filled within 24 hours of the DOT being notified. We have to give government financial disincentives because they do not have competition. We have to design the system so that the loss of a dollar to the Department of Transportation hurts just as bad as it would Amazon.com.

Remember government exists to serve us.

 The Art of Ridicule

 We have to brand paternalism and the nanny state as treasonous. No different than a British loyalist during the American Revolution. How? We will steal.

Rule 5 from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.

Every time someone on the left tries to espouse the benefits of the nanny state, we must eloquently ridicule them. For whatever reason, those on the right have lacked the witty sharp comebacks that their liberal counterparts have so potently mastered. George Will lands the occasional barb, but not since William F. Buckley has someone on the right so masterfully ridiculed the left.

I want you to imagine its Sunday morning and you’re watching Paul Krugman get a softball from the host. Here’s an example of what I mean:

Host: Dr. Krugman, would raising the corporate income tax 10%, so that those in poverty can afford health care, have a negative effect on the economy?

Liberal: Of course not. In fact, my research has shown it would probably have a positive effect on long term US economic growth. In addition, why can’t billion dollar corporations pay a little more so that a mother working three jobs can take her sick child to the doctor, Greg can you explain that?

Greg (Me): Well Paul, that’s one way of doing it of course, but on the other hand, she would probably prefer one job and the opportunity to pick her child’s doctor. Wouldn’t you agree? And I’d imagine some more time off so she could see her kid for more than 20 minutes a day.

But that would of course require the President and Democrats in Congress allowing her to keep the $200 dollars you keep stealing from her paycheck every other week.

All so a Washington DC bureaucrat can send a welfare check to her neighbor whose currently sitting at home binge watching Days of Our Lives on DVR while texting her friends on a government provided cellphone.

Doesn’t the extra $200 sound better than the gas station graveyard shift after already working 12 hours at the diner?

Or maybe you’re right Paul, maybe she would prefer the government tossing her a few Medicaid bread crumbs so her sick child can wait 4 hours to see a newly minted Cambodian doctor that barely speaks broken English at the understaffed community health center, while she waits 4 hours contracting God knows how many contagious illnesses?

No need to answer now. However, out of personal curiosity, do you require all Democrat voters to watch Days of Our Lives or only the ones that mooch off of the hard working woman you claim to care about?

Cut To Commercial

This is of course overkill, but I think you get what I’m going for. Our responses must be sharp, witty, self-evident, and devastating. The opponent must be so visibly shaken to their core that they begin to question the value of their very existence.

We have to become masters of snark and wit. Each and everyone of us should practice our rhetorical craft. In addition, we need a private brain trust capable of expertly destroying liberal talking points. From there it is our job to refine the tone and delivery so that it is sharp, ever so slightly condescending, and react in an way that we’re astonished anyone would say something so absurd.

I have several favorite lines from the late William F. Buckley to serve as examples when you begin working on your own:

“Back in the thirties we were told we must collectivize the nation because the people were so poor. Now we are told we must collectivize the nation because the people are so rich.”

 

“The majority of the senior class of Vassar does not desire my company and I must confess, having read specimens of their thought and sentiments, that I do not desire the company of the majority of the senior class of Vassar.”

 

“Liberals, it has been said, are generous with other peoples’ money, except when it comes to questions of national survival when they prefer to be generous with other people’s freedom and security.”

 

“Liberals claim to want to give a hearing to other views, but then are shocked and offended to discover that there are other views.”

 

“I won’t insult your intelligence by suggesting that you really believe what you just said.”

William F. Buckley Holding Book

 

I firmly believe if we update our messaging and become masters of our craft, the Liberty Movement will take the American voter by storm.

Please share your ideas because the ones I put in this post are merely to serve as a brainstorming springboard for all of us. I can’t wait to hear new ideas!

Get The Libertarian AuroraA daily newsletter for libertarians.

Please fill in the form and submit to subscribe to emails We Are Libertarians.

Greg Lenz is a reformed Conservative. I've slowly evolved my position from Conservative Republican to it's current status of Libertarian Republican. I'm aware people hate the Libertarian Republican label, but ultimately I'm a pragmatist. Economic issues are my primary concern therefore I do support Republican candidates from time to time (Rand Paul 2016). As of late, I find myself flirting with Minarchism. The writings of William F. Buckley, Ayn Rand, and Thomas Jefferson have played the biggest role in shaping my beliefs.

Further reading

Archives

Categories