Why It’s Time For Conservatives To Use Pop-Culture Messaging

Throughout the presidential campaign, conservatives regularly chided President Obama for ducking media venues where he would likely be asked substantive questions about serious issues. He ignored their criticism and spent his time sharing his iPod playlist with MTV, calling morning zoo deejays on local radio stations, and basking in the fawning adulation of the ladies of The View and David Letterman.

It seemed undignified for a sitting president to so regularly present himself as a celebrity rather than a leader, and let’s face it…It was (and it continues to be). Yet, there was a method to the madness that went beyond Obama just wanting public exposure without having to answer questions about the economy and Benghazi. He understood a reality that many conservatives found themselves not prepared to accept during a time of grossly incompetent leadership and deep economic turmoil: Even when the country’s on fire, there is a large, unengaged portion of the American public that hasn’t a clue what’s really going on around them. And sadly, they are the ones who ultimately decide elections.

These people don’t get their news from news organizations or even propaganda arms posing as such. They live in the microcosms of their own personal lives and absorb their news from whatever over-simplified messages happen to trickle down to them through the pop culture world. Thus, they often fail to draw a link between the challenges they face in life and the decisions being made by their elected leaders. They base their vote not on ideology or issues, but rather the candidate they find the most personally appealing.

So, as much as many of us mocked the president for weaseling out of situations where he would be challenged, it’s hard to deny that the strategy paid off for him. And really, it shouldn’t have been that much of a surprise. Celebrities have always transcended politics.

People like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Ventura, and Al Franken had no previous political experience prior to winning top offices in state-wide elections. In Schwarzenegger’s case, he was able to win as a Republican in one of the country’s most liberal states – not because of anything he said or did on the campaign trail, but because he was The Terminator. There was recently a lot of buzz behind the idea of actor Ben Affleck running for the open U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts, merely because in recent interviews, he’s demonstrated a level of political knowledge equal to that of the average basement blogger.

There is unearned yet immense power that comes with being a pop-culture figure. Being a celebrity is a tremendous advantage when it comes to connecting with the public. People are always more instinctively inclined to throw their support behind someone whose work they recognize and enjoy, even if that work is fairly meaningless to their lives.

A big problem for conservatives, when it comes to pop-culture, is that Hollywood has long been hostile to their ideology. Conservatives are often the villains in their movies, the targets of mockery in their television shows, and the recipients of their award-ceremony, self-righteous censures. Thus, the Republican Party has long steered clear of that branch of the media, electing instead to fight exclusively on battlegrounds where substance is valued over style.

That needs to change.

With an American public that is unengaged now more then ever when it comes to real, serious issues that affect their lives and their futures, conservatives can no longer afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to environments that make them uncomfortable. People on the right often talk about how they need to take a more important role in combating the liberal influence of college professors and other academics pushing their ideology on our youth. How can the same not be true about the pop-culture world? It’s far more influential on young people (and not-so-young people) than pony-tailed lecturers.

Conservatives need to find ways to embrace this area of the media, navigate it, and funnel their message down to the public through the mechanism of entertainment. No one’s saying it will be easy or have an immediate impact. After all, it’s a world that’s been largely saturated with liberal activism for decades. But it can be done.

The drive should start with promoting simple awareness, and it shouldn’t be overtly partisan.

A good way to get the ball rolling would be to begin treating the deep challenges our country faces as causes rather than as issues. Issues are boring. Causes are more intriguing, aren’t as toxic, and command a greater sense of urgency – especially when you put a little star power behind them.

Imagine a series of television commercials, in the format of public service announcements, featuring actor Vince Vaughn. I’m using Vaughn as an example because he’s one of the few, outed fiscal conservatives in Hollywood. He’s also an immediately identifiable celebrity who audiences have an affection for. In his trademark comedic, dapper style, Vaughn throws out some metaphorical explanation of how screwed up our nation’s spending problem is, and how that problem affects each and every one of us. The presentation should be simple, but it should also get across a point that people can relate to – much like the Apple vs Microsoft commercials from a few years ago, or the “this is your brain on drugs” campaign from the 1980s. The series could expand to cover over-regulation, over-taxation, and more. They should be aired not on cable news networks, but during some of the popular, prime-time reality shows.

It sounds overly simplistic, but I would argue that something like that can do far more to attract low-information voters to a commonsense, conservative viewpoint than thirty minutes of Paul Ryan using a laser-pointer on color-coded charts. That’s no dig on Paul Ryan. I have a huge amount of admiration for him and his dedication to sparing my kids from paying the crippling price for my generation’s spending addiction. But the sad reality is that his efforts only appeal to people who already give a damn. Many people don’t – more due to being clueless than selfish.

It’s the clueless, unprincipled vote that conservatives can no longer afford to concede to the Democratic party when it comes to elections. These people are sway-able, and they’re prime for a wake-up call. Dumbing down the conservative message through the pop-culture world may just be the way of doing it. If commonsense conservatism is given a mainstream makeover, and starts shedding its curmudgeonly stigma, the tide may begin to shift when it comes to close elections.

Public awareness commercials would merely be a good starting point. The message should expand to FM radio, SmartPhone apps, movie audiences, and beyond. We’re talking about a cultural shift, and if wealthy, conservative donors truly want to make a difference in public perception and support, they might want to consider backing such a shift rather than just the politicians themselves.

Author Bio:

John Daly couldn't have cared less about world events and politics until the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks changed his perspective. Since then, he's been deeply engaged in the news of the day with a particular interest in how that news is presented. Realizing the importance of the media in a free, democratic society, John has long felt compelled to identify media injustices when he sees them. With a B.S. in Business Administration, and a 16 year background in software and web development, John has found that his real passion is for writing. His first novel, entitled "From a Dead Sleep", is now on sale! He lives in Northern Colorado with his wife and two children. Like John on Facebook. Follow John on Twitter.
Author website: http://www.johndalybooks.com/
  • http://twitter.com/BillMarantz BillMarantz

    I think you’re right. (No, it’s not a pun; I mean “correct.”)

  • Saint Christopher

    Bernard Goldberg, a has-been who would be homeless if Bryant Gumbel hadn’t taken pity on him, is now promoting a subliterate vanity publishing hack.

    Sounds about right.

    • John Daly

      Wow. We must have really hurt your feelings somehow, Matthewson. I’m hoping your tears didn’t short-circuit your keyboard when you typed this. Keep a stiff upper-lip. You’ll get through this. I know it.

  • stmichrick

    Every communication by Republicans should be prefaced by, or along the lines of, ‘we understand your perception of this problem, but stop and think…’ about the common sense issue, without mentioning Obama’s name. State a couple of well known facts and pose a question.

    In other words, make it a given that He has immunity with some because he’s the
    ‘First Black President’ and make the situation be the issue, not the person. I have
    concluded that strident language about Obama has shut a number of otherwise
    reasonable minds and allowed him to get away with taking us down the socialist
    road to ruin. Kind of like the libs have used ‘crises’ as a reason to act without mentioning any names.

    Think of how an ordinary, low-information, black voter heard the Mitch
    McConnell sound byte a couple of years ago about the goal of removing this
    president. After that they did not want to hear anything else. However, many of
    these same voters have the common sense to know that massive debt will ruin us
    all and, at some point, will come to understand that sticking it to the rich is
    not a solution to that. In order for that point to come, criticism of leftist
    policy has to be de-coupled from the personality cult of Obama.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1560111594 Robert Blum

    An economy set into motion tends to remain in motion . . .until seeds of reality planted by truly independent minds take root and flourish like a weed.

  • http://twitter.com/surlyrevenant Ken

    Two points. The America we have now, was conceived 50 years ago. When we shifted our immigration policy from mostly European, skilled workers, to 3rd world family oriented, uneducated baby machines. Our govt. also made a conscious decision NOT to stop illegal immigration.

    Result, white Americans went from approx. 90% of the population, to a point where over half of babies now born are non-white. Most of them born to 3rd world bottom-feeders whose only purpose for existing is to pop out little “U.S. Citizens”.

    And now Politicians are stunned, just stunned, that they aren’t grateful enough to vote for traditional American values.

    Point two. Our “We Be Socialist” Education system has been systematically programming our children, from K thru college, to also be anti-American, anti-capitalist, anti-their OWN CULTURE little mindless, one-world muppets.
    NO NATION in recored history, has SURVIVED, that became TOO diverse. But, hey. This is (was?) America, right? We’re too morally superior to fail, right? Right?

    • Switchlight13

      Right on. Diversity without unity = USA

    • Troy Phillips

      Amen…well said.

  • Cindy

    Great article Mr. Daly… And at least you are looking to solutions rather than just moaning about it!!!

    • John Daly

      Thanks Cindy

  • dan g.

    spot on but dont expect conservative republicans to adopt this. mostly they just like to sit around, chew the old fat, and pat themselves on the back like they do in church, sunday school, and their homeowner’s meeting. accomplishing anything other than pickin and grinning is only secondary. “pass the cheese and crackers.”

  • Wheels55

    We live in a fast food – Lady Gaga culture. Where did we go wrong? Oh yeah, when we let rap music be classified as music. When we let Kim Kardasibigbutt be a celebrity. America has lost its common sense.

  • http://twitter.com/PollyannaTaylo1 Pollyanna Taylor

    I have been saying this for years. Bravo for echoing my thoughts. I love that Republicans have principles but we need to WIN in order to bring our ideas to the forefront. Republicans need to hire Democratic strategics and start spreading the message that “it’s hip to be square.” I hate having to turn to Hollywood to help get our message out, but in our pop-culture society, I think it is the only way to turn the tide to conservatism. We need an alternative to liberal media. Donald Trump–start your own conservative Hollywood and let’s find those wealthy conservatives (who will be less wealthy as the economy tanks) who can produce conservative TV, music, movies, etc. There are plenty of conservatives who feel so far removed from pop-culture who would jump at the chance to see good, solid traditional movies. We need to stop supporting liberal Hollywood and put our money where our ideas are. Thanks John Daly!!!

  • IJustHaveAQuestion

    Young people are usually more inclined to use new technology which all social media has to use in order to exist, and most young people are liberal. However I have a solution. You have to make the moderate middle hip. Conservatism will never be hip just like old fashion sounding country music never has nor will ever be either. However rockabilly did become hip. Some of it became rock and roll when it merged with African American style jazz in the mid 50’s. An unthinkable combination given the racial climate of the time.

    My point is that this pop culture marriage can happen again, but instead of music it can be accomplished with social media where combining the benign aspects of both political and economic philosophies on the right and left can progress and evolve into a new progressive movement that can and would look more hip than the radical left. You bill the middle as “Peace harmony and love for all. As said in Revelation 1 by the Beatles, “But if you go carrying pictures of chairman Mao You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow”

    You got to find some hip hop Beatles, some middle of the road pop culture moderate message dissimulators. Ones that already possess all the qualities of “the moderate message,” and some, yes, put together like the Monkey’s were. Keep in mind I’m speaking metaphorically here about social media.

    Can’t believe the folks that own American Idle and the inventors of cutting edge edgy TV can’t pour a bunch of money into creating a new music genre, a new social media movement.

    And what ever happened to Murdoch’s myspace? Did Facebook win that contest?

    Conservative elites have the biggest pile of loot on the planet, and they can’t create and run a cultural influence apparatus that’s worth any spit.

    That’s why they are going to be looted by DC after the first.

    And because they, the GOP elite through contributing to efforts to nominate Mitt, a dummy, was nominated as the Republican Party’s presidential candidate who said things like, ” There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no
    matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are
    dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who
    believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who
    believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to
    you-name-it.”

    Real hip!

  • http://www.facebook.com/walter.mattson.39 Walter Mattson

    John: Excellent article. I agree with every thing you presented. I believe the republicans need to get down to to level of speaking to all voters and especially to the uninformed. I recognized this problem with Romney. He stated that his energy program was different than Obama’s. The problem was that many voters didn’t understand either program so they accepted Obama’s in that he was more likeable. I emailed Romney that he needed to explain all his programs in a way that the uninformed could understand but I didn’t see any change to the campaign strategy. I realize that I am not the one to explain policies in their simplest terms but my attempt was to state that the Romney energy independence plan would result in adding $387 billion to the economy without the need of government and tax payer hand outs but would be financed though the use of private investments. I when further to state that his plan would provide all families with one car, $800 more per year to spend or save plus would save every independent trucker up to 25,000 per year. This savings of $800 per year means less food stamps and more of other items to purchase. The $25,000 for trucker means that all transportation cost will go down and that there will be cost reductions on everything from food to manufactured products. Conversely, Obama’s plan would increase energy cost and result in higher costs for everyone.

    • John Daly

      I agree with you. I’ve said this in past columns. The Romney campaign overestimated the intelligence of voters. Republicans, as a whole, have that same problem.

  • catholicvoter

    This is a great idea, John. I wouldn’t have thought of it because I simply do not like popular culture and do not bother with it. Brilliant! I hope folks who actually know how to implement this idea begin at once.

    • John Daly

      Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=724275066 Kathy Barkulis

    The reason that conservative actors like Vince Vaughn, Adam Sandler, Gary Sinise, and Bruce Willis continue to work in Hollywood is because they keep their politics mostly to themselves. If they were to come out publicly they wouldn’t get work anymore (James Woods). This is what modern day blacklisting looks like. While I totally agree with John Daly’s points, I don’t know if it is realistic to expect conservative actors to come out and voice their opinions. We are living in a country now that is run by bullies who viciously attack opposing viewpoints. It takes older, more established conservatives like Clint Eastwood and Jon Voigt to carry the weight, unfortunately. It seems to me that conservative actors need to create their own production companies so that they have more control and don’t need the Hollywood establishment to finance their movies.

    • John Daly

      I’m aware of the concerns of conservative entertainers who don’t want to step up. That’s why I think the presentation shouldn’t come with a partisan slant, but rather a commonsense stating of the facts. Again, awareness is the key – not mudslinging. I think the right balance can be achieved.

  • Stephanie S

    Rebrand, rebrand and rebrand; No more “conservatism” or “Republican Party”,. Something like “the Peace and Loving People Party”, “the Great Things for the People Party” or “Moving Aheadism”.

    • Stimpy

      How about the give me liberty party? You could start with allowing internet poker and getting the Feds the heck out of the way of medical marijuana. Big government means more regulation and less freedom.

  • Souvoter

    I got both of my 40 yr old children to vote Republican; but try as I do daily to get them to listen to current events and political issues, one would rather rent stupid movies and watch soaps and the other is immersed in football games. This is an excellent idea, John. I hope the ones that can get it done, will get it done!! I will be looking for a good commercial (like during the super-bowl)!!! Maybe Eastwood will lend a hand, but for conservatives this time!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/phil.silverman.9 Phil Silverman

    Really? Obama ducked Bill O’Reilly twice? What biased trash.

    • John Daly

      When during the presidential campaign did Obama talk with Bill O’Reilly, Phil? Once you realize that he didn’t, please feel free to apologize. Thanks.

    • Stimpy

      I was wondering when you would check in. You haven’t refuted the dirty Chicago political machine and the clueless voter proposition.

  • Switchlight13

    The sheep actually believe the media and think Obama and the Democrats do not want to go over the hyped up “fiscal cliff”. Obama WANTS the tax hikes on the middle class, reduced military and to keep the free handouts going to his Homies.

  • io9f

    Excellent point, Mr Daly. Unfortuntately to the young people and various cultures Conservatism seems boring. Facts/figures put them to sleep. The Conservative brand needs young and vibrant cadidates, not the ususl run-of-the-mill old timers.
    Sorry if anyone’s offended; just being honest.
    Take a page from the Democrat’s book. Hardly anyone knew who Obama was, say 5 or 6 years ago. Within months his face was recognized all over the country. He beat the powerful Clinton machine.
    Conservatives need new faces to stand up against the “old white establishment” ones!

    • John Daly

      I know conservatism seems boring. That’s my point. It needs to be made engaging to young people, and it can be done in a way that doesn’t scream “conservatism!” I agree with you that we need more vibrant candidates.

      • SeattleSam

        Reality is boring. [Not surprising given what passes for a "reality" TV show]

  • iggyb

    Conservatives will be fighting an uphill, losing battle in pop culture-controlled venues until they begin populating them. Yes, they should do their best right now, but to succeed, they will have to put money and effort into promoting careers within pop culture among young conservatives – and put effort into fighting the inequality of thought in pop culture.
    Right now, and for the foreseeable future, there are too few conservative stars within the pop culture industries…
    Until that changes, liberals will continue to dominate the message within them.

  • Roadmaster

    Any conservative or libertarian message which threatens the Left’s hold on the clueless would be immediately attacked, mocked and ridiculed, much to the delight of the masses. We know of course that when they are viciously striking out is the first indication we’re on target, but the dummies are stuck in monkey see/monkey do – cockroaches have more awareness of what’s going on in their world….

    We have movies; 2016, Atlas Shrugged II, and others but they barely made a dent in the “dense.” It’s looking more and more like all is lost, but I am not giving up. I’ve gotten a few low information people to pause, and John is right, we have to reach more of them. That means each of us left with the vision must work on this every single day, in every situation. We are WAY behind the curve because we stood by for years watching this train wreck happen, not believing semi-intelligent, mostly rational citizens would allow things to get this bad. Well they did, and it did.

    The most effective tool we have is ridicule, but not with false-hoods and half-truths like the Liberals use, but with facts. The look on a Lefty’s face when you hammer them between the eyes (metaphorically, of course) with a BIG, JUICY FACT, and then ask “How could you not know this? I thought you were smarter than that?” – is one of the most satisfying moments ever. My next favorite is leaving them spuming and sputtering, or better yet speechless because they cannot keep up. This takes a lot of preparation and study, but do not forget, the enemy prepared and studied for many years before bringing about this mess, exactly as Lenin planned.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Economic-Freedom/1490544250 Economic Freedom

      2016 was a serious documentary (as opposed to the ridiculing “mockumentary” style of Michael Moore) so, though it did well at the box office, it wasn’t likely to make a lasting impression. Atlas Shrugged II was only slightly better than Atlas Shrugged I, and accordingly, it failed at the box office soon after it opened. The screenwriting was also unintelligible: no one who hadn’t already read the novel had any idea what the plot was about from watching the movie. The novel will continue to sell and influence readers, but the movie trilogy effort is a total disaster.

      Conservatives should forget Hollywood entirely. There are a few conservative actors, but in general, it’s too difficult and too expensive to get motion pictures produced. “Old Hollywood” (1930s-1940s) under the old studio system thrived because it was basically entrepreneur-driven: Selznick, Warner, Laemmle, etc., could get a movie made just because they thought something deserved to be made into a movie; not because their marketing departments approved. With the demise of the studio system — thanks to the US Justice Department and anti-trust suits, by the way — Hollywood is completely driven by marketing department mentalities and bank finance mentalities. What these sorts of mentalities know — regardless of their own political orientation — is “what sold well yesterday.” That’s how they think. They’re all bean counters.

      Conservatives and libertarians should be putting their efforts today into the venue that most incentivizes entrepreneurship in filmmaking: the Internet. Hulu.com and NetFlix are both starting to finance their own content, but I’m sure there’ll be others. And now, with “convergence” between traditional TV and new media like the Web, it should be possible, with advertising, to gain large market share.

      “Ridicule” is a key emotional hook in entertainment today because it passes for sophistication without the viewer having to expend any mental effort; it’s a way of flattering the viewer without him being too conscious of it. The right needs an episodic comedy series on the Web similar to something like the great old series “All In The Family”, except the message in each episode is coded in, and informed by, conservative assumptions about the world, not leftist ones. (The father, perhaps, is a smug government or union bureaucrat; the sexy daughter just lost her full-time job because of ObamaCare and was demoted to part-time status, so now she has to find two jobs at opposite ends of town and every time she tanks up her car, she has to spend over $60; the mother is a 1960s radical trying desperately to reconnect with some of her Weather Underground friends (most of whom are now lawyers, accountants, or college professors); etc.

      It can be done. The production values can be kept high with all the new, high-quality, low-cost digital equipment out there today. The challenge, of course, will be the writing. “All In The Family” had great writers and every episode was high quality. And just as “All In The Family” simply took its own leftist bias for granted without overtly emphasizing it to viewers (and certainly, without lecturing them), a conservative series must also take its own viewpoint and assumptions for granted and avoid political or philosophical lectures.

      TV shows are inherently low-information venues; they are meant to entertain, not teach. That might be the biggest hurdle conservatives will have to overcome.

  • mcweijun

    The last 2 sentences of the second paragraph speaks volumes. “Even when the country’s on fire, there is a large, unengaged portion of the American public that hasn’t a clue what’s really going on around them. And sadly, they are the ones who ultimately decide elections.” So now that we have accepted the idea that the main stream news media will no longer keep the people informed, and that idiots will decide our elections, where do we go from here? In my opinion, that age old thing called conversation will lead to healthy debate. Healthy debate may even turn into intelligent thought. Or we can all walk around like mute, brain dead zombies and let our thumbs do our thinking. I wonder what would happen if the main stream media could find some real journalists who were interested in telling people the truth so that they could cast educated votes?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YMJUHF4UNZWSLIDRXPSSTOHA3Q Shane

    Good idea. The GOP needs to do more in the social media.

  • Estuarte

    Well, all reason, logic and common- sense has tried and failed…I say “go for it!”
    I have even exerted great effort to dumb down my vocabulary in this writing to put myself in practice so that i may circulate unnoticed by this great mass of dull intelligence that will determine our collective destiny! Better stop, I’m regressing!!

  • Randy

    Nailed it! Helps make the Big O an “ordinary guy”. Something Mitt could never do. If republicans can’t get on board with this then the game is over for them and all is lost.

  • http://twitter.com/MullenniumFin Bill Mullen

    Liberals appeal to emotions while conservatives appeal to logic. It is not logical to work for an Obama phone when you can get it for free.

  • Gizmo

    Is this not what Romney Machine supposedly paid so much useless money for? In this world of technology, there is no reason why technology isn’t used to it’s fullest. It’s cheap, multi-faceted, quickly changeable for new messages & new audiences. This would be a super powerful way to present the conservative platform. Just because we stand on “old” standards & expectations, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use the newest & best technologies & abilities.
    We just need to be more careful about WHO gets the money and WHAT they promise to accomplish!

  • kegan05

    No way do I want to see the Leader of the Free World schmoozing with the Pimp with the Limp or David Letterman! He only demeans the office of the President and embarrasses millions of serious Americans who would LIKE to respect the office!
    NO! It is not necessary. Let the Congress deal with Social Media.

  • artlouis

    Vince Vaughan? Is that the coolest we have? Maybe we had better come up with some other strategy. I didn’t even know whose photo that was before reading your piece.

    I refuse to buy the argument that conservatives must be like liberals. It makes no sense. We are conservatives because we cannot abide liberals or their creed. Or their tactics — lying, cheating, stealing, pandering.

    • John Daly

      Something tells me that you don’t fall in the target audience that I had in mind. ;)

  • Switchlight13

    Good article. I think we can all agree even before it happens that the 2013 Super Bowl Half Time Show will suck as always. Rap mixed with country, hip hop and rock etc never works.

  • KStrett

    The premise of the article is we have reached a tipping point and America is now an idiocracy. In order to reach the low information voters, conservatives need get the message out via pop culture.

    The problem is liberals have a monopoly on the culture. When someone within the pop culture attempts to convey a conservative message they are attacked. After Clinton Eastwood spoke at the republican convention, he was called senile. Vince Vaughn was attacked too.

    One of the points the late Andrew Breitbart made was conservatives didn’t really put up a fight when the 60’s radicals took over Hollywood. Now conservatives have to win an uphill battle.Actors within the the system have to worry about being blacklisted if they speak out.

    The other two problems are the educational system and the media. The educational system is an assembly line for teaching children liberal ideas. Conservatives are going to continue to have problems when the “non partisan” moderator of a presidential debate jumps into the fray and tells the Republican he is wrong over an issue of semantics and lets the democrat get away with lying.

    • catholicvoter

      You are certianly correct when you say the liberals have a monopoly on pop culture! But they once had a monopoly on the media too and that’s changed. Not to the extent many of us would like but it has changed so perhaps John’s idea is worth trying. Happy New Year!

  • gloria

    This is excellent food for thought and Daly may just have a great idea here. Will it happen? Not likely. Too bad – because the clueless have overtaken the clued – and in large enough numbers to force poor election results that do not bode well for our future generations. Sad.

  • Iklwa

    Cult leaders rarely allow themselves to be subjected to
    scrutiny from objective sources.

    Even though republicans could hardly be termed “objective”,
    they would have posed questions that would have required answers somewhat more
    in-depth than “boxers or briefs?”

    We are witnessing the fruition of 30 years of our education
    systems’ efforts to lower critical thinking to the lowest common denominator.
    In this case it is enlightened discussion espousing opinions on the relative
    merit of hip hop music instead of socialism versus capitalism economic/social
    ideology.

    I have children and grandchildren who can converse with ease
    on multi-core processors in their smart phones yet haven’t a clue about what
    the term means from a technical standpoint or even how a micro-processor
    functions. I read somewhere these folks should be termed “The Gilded Peasantry”.
    They have so much and know so little.

    What the Gilded Peasantry doesn’t realize is that there is a
    large segment of our political class actively working on enslaving them with
    the very toys they seemingly want so badly and expect to be freely given.

  • John Daly

    I just wanted to thank Thomas for pointing out my type-o earlier. I appreciate it!

  • ginger

    have to get the American Idol idiots to see the other side.

  • nickshaw

    Gary Sinise.

    That’s all I have to say about that.
    Well, unless there’s a woman of his stature.

  • http://shawmut.blogspot.com/ Dave O’Connor

    If this dumbed-down mass can be reached, conservatives might do well inviting them ‘up’ to sharing responsibility.
    I frequently use the Tom Sawyer’s whitewashing Auntie’s fence. Accent the importance of the task and invite others (making selection a compliment) into the responsibility. He conveyed their importance and – jealous of thier standing they did a damn good job.
    (Of course, the substance of the fence wasn’t changed; no pickets were curved nor ‘signature’ elements added {it stayed within the gang’s plan}).

  • Tetonka

    Many people think their own life is boring and they want “excitement!” They want to run with the “in-crowd”, no matter what that involves. Give me Hollywood, fast cars, big money and fun, fun, fun! After all, the elite must be doing everything right. Right? The office of the president allows the person who holds it to be “in” with whomever he wishes. If you have someone like Barack Obama who would rather rub noses with celebrities instead of attending to the people’s business (for which he was elected), you get what we have. And the empty-headed followers crave his flashy smile, his thin body and his ability to chum around with all those glamorous, empty-headed, clueless versions of himself. Until the American people (not all, but too many) pull their head out of the sand and wise up, we will continue to float (faster and faster) down the river of no return. There are certainly a lot of brainless followers in this country. I hope the conservatives WILL rise up soon and true leadership will arrive! We’ve got to have a different crowd in D.C. occupying those elected offices! The people in Noah’s time had 120 years to decide to get on the boat……we don’t have that long. I fear we don’t even have the next four years.

    • ginger

      What is astounding is the adulation of the young for the hollywood types, in crowd, rich..but deplore riches in those who actually work for it.

  • I Hate Fascists

    Yeah there are many people who absorb over-simplified propaganda that trickles down from the media. Those people are known as the Know Nothing And Proud Of It right wing, and the media in question is of course Fox News. Didn’t you already try the celebrity thing with Clint Eastwood? That didn’t work out too well for you did it?

    • nickshaw

      I see you’ve had your Kool-Aid ration for the day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1607934335 John Henry Lawton

    My comments from yesterday: There seems to be a reluctance by the GOP to “scream louder and more often” than the socialists. If the GOP does not get their own propaganda apparatus ramped up to the levels(and tactics) of the Democrats Chicago Machine, they will continue to cede the initiatve to the opposition who will continually brand them as obstructionists, out-of-touch, racists, radicals or any other label that smears the party, and maligns the party platform and their message.(All the while ramping-up the Dems cache of “cool”) For instance, Republicans need to quit turning up their collective noses at appearing on the View, late night talk shows, early morning talk shows, SNL and Dancing with the Stars; because this is apparently where our electorate gets their information from!
    I do believe that about 56% of the electorate are “low information voters”. But, I also believe most Americans are that way by choice. Unlike the writers of these blogs, cable news, talk-radio, politicians, and we commenters, (those that represent the other 30%) most Americans just don’t care about, or particularly like politics. They merely tolerate it. Thus the Republican party must take a lesson from the socialists and feed their message in small bits and pieces( but, louder and more often) in venues and format that is palatable to the low-information voter…or be resigned to irrelevance.

    • Cindy

      Interesting comment John, and I think you might be onto something here. But do you think conservatives have the “stomach” or will to get out and DO these things? Sure, our senators and elected officials are trying, but I’m talking about everyday people like you and me that are disenfranchised now with politics, seeing as how it turned into a high school election promising a free soda machine in every hall? I DO believe today it is up to the every day conservative to really squeal and move if change/education is to be accomplished. We must demand it! But will we?

  • Bob Burg

    John wrote: “They base their vote not on ideology or issues, but rather the candidate they find the most personally appealing.”

    Indeed, John, that is true. So much of adult life is as much a
    popularity contest as was high school, only with much higher stakes. When people *like* a person they are much more likely to trust them, and buy into their thoughts and ideas.

    I
    agree with you that the majority of people need to understand some very
    basic economic principles such as that you pointed out in your Vince
    Vaughan reference (magician Penn Gillette and comedian Drew Carey –
    Libertarians who are “cool” and popular – would also be good choices).
    And, it probably wouldn’t be very hard to make the points; it would, as you implied, just take a lot of work to make that happen).

    One
    thought is that can be done effectively with the celebrity asking a
    question where the intuitive (left) solution can easily be proven
    incorrect and the solution that works (right or libertarian) then be
    offered. This can be done very quickly and powerfully (and must be done
    in such a way that the viewer is not made to feel wrong – only that it
    causes them to question the usual info they receive). Then, done on a consistent
    basis – and always by *likeable* celebrities, some headway can be made.
    Again, just a thought.

    As usual, your article was terrific. Thank you for sharing with us!

  • Switchlight13

    If you ever saw the endless parade of human trash on MTV & VH1 you would understand why a lot of the young vote went to Obama. Single women think he’s “so sexy”. They love that Mulatto look and 98% of Blacks vote race not issues which is, of course, racism on steroids..

    • Saint Christopher

      Mulatto? Like Goldberg’s employer, Bryant Gumbel?

      If it weren’t for affirmative action by Bryant, Goldberg would be selling his plasma to survive.

  • Frank

    This hits the nail on the head. With a society so disengaged as to what affects their daily lives and lives through the reality shows on TV, this is the new way to communicate.

  • John

    I said the same thing many months ago. Obama was smart in getting people to accept him as a celebrity. That is why he spent so much time on the tube and on those late night shows. He is a consummate and gifted politician. If Romney had spent more of his time on talk shows and the like he would probably have garnered more votes. But that conservatism for you.

    • io9f

      Romney was not the right candidate. He had run previously & lost to another “old time establishment” guy who had already lost to Barack. There was nothing “cool” about Mitt or most of the other candidates.
      Stop getting bogged down with social issues. And stop knocking each other during debates. Sometimes it looked like former (old) boxers trying to score that knock out. – – Each one claiming to be a “true conservative.” (boring!)
      Young, vibrant & exciting new faces with fresh ideas are desperately needed. People tired of the same ole, same ole; some who had been in politics for literally decades.

      • Stimpy

        Marco Rubio. He should have at least been the VP candidate instead of the principled but scary Ryan.

        • John Daly

          Ryan was scary?

  • SeattleSam

    So, the solution is like, you know, to get down with debt, Dude?

    No doubt you are correct in your observations, but a nation that can’t follow a logical argument for more than 10 seconds is beyond saving, I’m afraid.

    • John Daly

      No, I’m not just talking about slogans. I’m talking about quick, poignant lessons. I think having a celebrity give them will earn more than ten seconds of attention. That’s my hope anyway.

      • ginger

        10 seconds is about the attention span of the typical liberal, young uninformed people who are the texting, social media types.

      • SeattleSam

        Optimism is a wonderful quality, John. I have less of it than you. We are not just fighting ignorance or indifference. We are fighting a fundamental shift in our national “default assumptions”. It used to be that the DF was: You are responsible for your life outcomes. Now it is: Someone else is responsible for your outcomes. This isn’t a completely new phenomenon (see Officer Krupke), but it has reached the point where virtually everyone that fails to achieve is PRESUMED to be a victim (of their parents, of a bad neighborhood, of poverty, of The Rich, etc. etc). If that proposition were true, than understandably they feel entitled to relief. For a lot of the population (including especially those who work in government), it’s in their best interest to proffer that proposition. Changing that is a daunting task — even for Vince Vaughn.

  • GlenFS

    John, you are a genious… for writing what I’ve been thinking (again)! Of course you’ve written it much better than I could have too. Conservatives have always been too dignified to stoop for the “clueless-unprincipled” vote. It’s high time we figured out how to reach them.

    • John Daly

      Thanks Glen!

    • Troy Phillips

      Nothing short of getting their goodies removed will have ANY impact whatsoever on that voter base. This drivel to reach the unprincipled, low information voter is fodder for conservatives who also are living in a fantasy world if they believe that somehow we can turn this around by a couple of 60 second ads with cute, funny hollyweird peeps. You defeat them..you cut off their faucet of endless tax dollars…you move to right to work states….you quit sending your children to gov’t indoctrination programs,,err schools. The beast ain’t going away – we starve it or it consumes us.

      • GlenFS

        Troy, at the risk of speaking for John… I don’t think he’s suggesting that this voter block will swing on over to the good guy side as a majority. Of course they won’t. By definition they lack discernment and judgement. But if a conservative messages seeps into their consciousness (via their only channel, pop culture), enough of them may vote GOP to swing elections.

  • G. Daylan – Peoria, IL

    The great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they are realities, and are often even more influenced by the things that seem than by those that are. – Niccoló Machiavelli

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Economic-Freedom/1490544250 Economic Freedom

      Quite true. Machiavelli was a very astute political thinker.