In the face of today’s sad news about Jane’s mom, I initially suggested to the Admin team that we declare a 24-hour moratorium on posting to show respect for the family. Christy checked with Jane and it turns out that’s the absolute last thing she wants us to do. Well, Jane, we love you and our thoughts and prayers are with you at this time. And if you say carry on, then by god, that’s what we’ll do.
Which brings me to tonight’s topic. As netroots activists, we hear a lot of talk about the importance of "reframing the arguments", and I couldn’t agree more. But so few of our advocates in the public sphere seem to be taking that advice to heart. The whole "Lie and Die" thing is a nice try, Mr. Kerry, it’s short and it rhymes, sure, but it is still a response to the GOP’s charges of us being "cut and run" liberals. It still places us in the argument in a defensive crouch.
As long as we continue to form our strategies and sound bites around defending ourselves, the GOP will always win. They have consistently set the tone for every debate from gay marriage to the War in Iraq by arriving there first, seizing the moral high ground, and hurling accusations, which the vichy Dems seem more than willing to waste their time parrying, ducking and weaving around in a doomed effort to justify themselves to the electorate, no matter how absurd and disingenuous the accusations are. We always enter the debate on terms set by the Republicans. If we continue to do that, we will always, always lose.
Listen to me, Democrats! Never defend. Never explain. Attack, attack, attack! When a right-winger accuses you of something, back up, reframe, ignore the charges, just ATTACK. How hard can this be? Ann Coulter doesn’t waste her time defending herself against our accusations. Neither does Rush Limbaugh. They launch their attacks and the terms of the debate are set from there, and once again, as liberals, we are bringing knives to a gun fight.
A Republican says, "All you liberals are cut-and-run traitors! You don’t support the troops!"
Instead of frantically beginning to tap dance and show that you’re not a traitor and that you do support the troops, you fire back, "Why are you Republicans such cowards? Your leaders are all draft-dodgers who’ve never fired a shot at anything but a bunch of canned quails and old lawyers. You’re using the troops as human shields against the midterm elections! Do you like seeing our brave men and women in uniform slaughtered and killed? Or are you just too much of a coward to face the consequences of your failed policies in Iraq? Which is it? Do you just hate the soldiers or do you hate your constituents?"
There. You have just put the burden of proof on the Repugnican that he/she isn’t a coward and that they don’t hate the troops. Then you set up a false dichotomy that they can’t answer without looking like a fool.
Or say you’re lucky enough to have squared off against Ann Coulter. (I dream of four minutes of live TV with Ann Coulter!) She says, "Liberals hate science! Liberals suck terrorist dicks! Liberals eat babies! *SQUAAAAAAAACK!! SCREEECH!! AWK!! AWK!!*"
You say, "Ann, why are you such a fascist?"
She, of course, will say, "I’M not a fascist! LIBERALS ARE FASCISTS!" (Which is exactly what she would say, trust me.)
You calmly respond, "But Ann, you advocate everything the Nazis did; internment camps, physical intimidation, silencing of media outlets, and murder. Everything the Nazi Party said about the Jews, you have said about liberals. You even look sort of like some kind of Aryan Dominatrix. You’re like a Brownshirt pin-up girl."
And then sit back and watch as she goes nuclear. Now, the onus is on her to prove she’s not a fascist, which is exactly what she can’t do. (Cos she is.) You don’t respond to charges by Ann Coulter. You attack. You treat her with all the respect and courtesy that she would treat you.
It doesn’t really even matter if your accusations are true, just whether or not they’re truthy. (We can play that game too.) It helps, of course, if what you’re saying is true, but it’s not a requirement. Study the work of Karl Rove sometime.
Republicans are cowards. They’re soft. They grew up sleeping on huge billowy piles of other people’s money, tucked in by their immigrant nannies, while Mumsy and Daddy were off at the The Club getting stoned on whiskey sours and arrogance. They won’t have the stomach for this fight. But if we continue to equivocate, back-pedal, and sputter in frustration at the outrageousness of their assertions, we will remain the party of Juan Williams, Mara Liasson, Alan Colmes, and all the other Whiny Little Bitch liberals.
Is this clear? Any liberal pundits or Democratic strategists reading this, you hear me?
ATTACK! ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTAAAAACK!!!!
We have a reputation as a bunch of weak-kneed cowards because we keep trying to answer the charges against us and failing, because the charges simply aren’t true. You can’t defend yourself against baseless accusations. "Why don’t liberals support the troops?" is a question like, "When did you stop beating your wife?" Unanswerable, because it issues from a set of false precepts, and any attempt to answer it is going to be like, as my brother says, "boxing a turd". And that’s the number one lesson that we can take from the right wingers. They don’t waste their time answering our charges. Don’t dignify their charges with an answer. It’s time to seize the narrative, by force. Stop trying to justify yourself to those people. Treat them with contempt and disgust. Flick their accusations aside and then go for the jugular.
"Reverend Dobson, you’re afraid of homosexuals because of your own secret homosexual tendencies, aren’t you?"
"Ms Malkin, would it be fair to say that you hate immigrants because you yourself are an ‘anchor baby’ of immigrant parents?"
"Mr. Hinderaker, this discussion of the DHS is interesting, but what I really want to know is why your kids aren’t fighting in Iraq and supporting the troops in a meaningful way?"
See how easy it is, kids? The fact of the matter is that the people we are fighting are hurting our country and others. Their ignorance and arrogance is costing us our democracy and our lives, not to mention the lives of thousands of innocent people in other nations. We do not have to answer to them. We only have to call them to account. Stop defending yourself. The only real defense against this crowd is a good offense.
Now, go get em.
Remember, this is our enemy:
(Young Republicans at play in their natural habitat.)
Are you afraid of these people? Really?