If You Only Read One Political Column All Month…

….make it this one by my old boss, David Horowitz. It’s lengthy, but worth reading in full and distributing to as many people as possible. Many have tried to diagnose why Republicans lost in 2012 and what they can do to win again, but Horowitz has written the definitive assessment on the subject, and laid out what I believe to be the only likely path to saving the country from liberal ascendance. 
In a nutshell, Horowitz contends that the Democrats won because they know how to manipulate emotion, and Republicans have no idea how to respond. The solution is essentially to recognize what the Democrats really are and develop the fortitude to respond with the appropriate level of bluntness and moral outrage, demonstrating and standing up for the victims of the Left’s policies. Some representative quotes from the piece:
“An exit poll conducted by CNN asked, ‘What is the most important candidate quality to your vote?’ Among the four choices were, ‘Strong Leader,’ ‘Shares Your Values,’ ‘Has A Vision for the Future,’ and ‘Cares about People.’ Romney won the first three by more than 54%. But he lost ‘Cares About People’ by 81-18%. That says it all.”

[…]

“Behind the failures of Republican campaigns lies an attitude that is administrative rather than combative. It focuses on policies rather than politics. It is more comfortable with budgets and pie charts than with the flesh and blood victims of their opponents’ policies. When Republicans do mention victims they are frequently small business owners and other ‘job creators’ – people who in the eyes of most Americans are rich.

“To counter the Democrat attacks on them as defenders of the comfortable and afflicters of the weak, Republicans really have only one answer: This is a misunderstanding. Look at the facts. We’re not that bad. On the infrequent occasions when they actually take the battle to their accusers, Republicans will say: That’s divisive. It’s class warfare.

“Even if voters were able to ‘look at the facts,’ these are not exactly inspiring responses. They are defensive, and they are whiny, and also complicated. Of course elections are divisive – that is their nature. One side gets to win and the other side loses. But even more troublesome is the fact that responses like this require additional information and lengthy explanations to make sense. Appeals to reason are buried in the raucous noise that is electoral politics. Sorting out the truth would be a daunting task, even if voters were left alone to make up their minds.”

[…]

“The only way to confront the emotional campaign that Democrats wage in every election is through an equally emotional campaign that puts the aggressors on the defensive; that attacks them in the same moral language, identifying them as the bad guys, the oppressors of women, children, minorities and the middle class, that takes away from them the moral high ground which they now occupy. You can’t confront an emotionally based moral argument with an intellectual analysis. Yet this is basically and almost exclusively what Republicans do.”

[…]

“Republicans seem to think the way to inspire hope is by offering voters practical solutions, such as Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget. Paul Ryan is a smart conservative and the Ryan Plan is probably a good one. But with control only of the House, Republicans had no chance of implementing it when they voted on it. Worse, in the real world of political combat, facing an unscrupulous opposition, a plan offered by a party with no means of implementing it is a self-­inflicted wound. You can’t put the plan into effect to show that it works, and no one besides policy wonks is going to even begin to understand it. All the plan does is provide the spinners with multiple targets to shoot at – something they will do by distorting the specifics and ignoring the plan itself. For virtually all voters, the plan will be so complicated and its details so obscure that it will remain invisible. Only those who already trust its designers will be persuaded that this is a reason to vote for them.”

[…]

“The way for Republicans to show they care about minorities is to defend them against their oppressors and exploiters, which in every major inner city in America without exception are Democrats. Democrats run the welfare and public education systems; they have created the policies that ruin the lives of the recipients of their handouts. It’s time that Republicans started to hold Democrats to account; to put them on the defensive and take away the moral high ground, which they now occupy illegitimately. Government welfare is not just wasteful; it is destructive. The public school system in America’s inner cities is not merely ineffective; it is racist and criminal.”
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What I’m Reading Right Now

Currently I’m juggling the following:

I’ve finally started
The Da Vinci Code, and I’ve got to give Dan Brown this much: he knows how to write suspense. The mystery and the distinct characters surrounding it do have quite an allure. Which is why all the falsehoods (Wikipedia’s article on ‘em is surprisingly long, but be careful—it is Wikipedia, after all) within are so inexcusable, especially considering Brown’s “Fact” preface in the front. And occasionally Brown wanders into displays of sheer idiocy like this line: “Langdon was always surprised how few Christians who gazed upon ‘the crucifix’ realized their symbol’s violent history was reflected in its very name: ‘cross’ and ‘crucifix’ came from the Latin word cruciare—to torture.” Uh, note to Dan: the torture Christ endured for our sins isn’t exactly an obscure part of Christianity…Bottom line: if Brown had instead prefaced the book with something along the lines of, “The following story takes creative license with several elements of history, religion and art,” I could probably give The Da Vinci Code a thumbs-up (at least so far; we’ll see how things go when I’m finished).

Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel—Why Everything You Know Is Wrong by John Stossel and The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Radicals in America by David Horowitz. These gems—the former on various falsehoods in all walks of life, the latter on demented college professors—are nice because they’re broken down into bite-sized passages that can be read & set aside without forgetting some important context that came before. Highly recommended.

At a thrift shop tonight I found
Reagan: The Political Chameleon. It’s a book written before the Gipper’s presidency by ex-California Governor Pat Brown. Once I finish the above, I look forward to reading how spectacularly wrong Brown, in retrospect, is with his assertion that “there is no need to qualify this view in the slightest: Ronald Reagan’s election to the presidency would be a national disaster.” Also, this passage from the jacket got me thinking:

“What sort of man is Ronald Reagan? His philosophy has ranged the political spectrum—from left-wing Democrat during the McCarthy era, to capitalist spokesman for General Electric, to Goldwater conservative—changing colors as the chameleon does, constantly camouflaging himself to match his environment. Do Reagan’s beliefs truly reflect the man, or are they merely a method of matching the views of his current circle, with no more depth or profundity that the varying hues of the chameleon?”

Hmm…
who does the Left level that charge against these days? (Now, I don’t want to jinx anything, or prematurely make him into another Reagan…but we can hope…)