After losing to Obama twice, I decided to ask some of the best bloggers what they thought we could do differently.
Below is a short summary of what they feel like would be the best approach (tips, tactics, what to do, what not to do, attack strategy) for enabling conservative bloggers to help conservatives win more elections.
“War!” Andrew Breitbart
I will add the rest as they come in…
Rule 1 – Pamela Geller (Atlas Shrugs) - A complete reevaluation of the opposition strategy is needed. The Republicans have failed. The Republican Party has failed. The left controls the media, the government, the educational system, and the pop culture. Obama’s reelection is the fruit of 50 years of hammering at the American psyche to destroy American exceptionalism.
Those who are left who still believe in it have to go over the heads of all the centers of power, appeal directly to the people, and formulate new groups and organizations that bypass the corrupt and compromised entities.
The Tea Party did this but failed when the media crushed it. Our only hope is to attempt such an organization anew and decisively throw off old attitudes and perspectives and ways of doing things, refusing to accept the media paradigms, and forming a world view and perspective that is a true alternative to socialism and statism. If we cannot or do not do this, all is lost.
Rule 2: Dave Blount (Moonbattery) – Here’s my advice for countermoonbat bloggers:
Be relentless. Liberalism is like rust; it never stepscorroding every aspect of society. That’s we why can never stop fighting it. If our attention flags, readers will inevitably wander away. Hammer away with everything you’ve got, day in and day out, not just when you feel particularly inspired.
Be honest. Let the Fox News analysts come up with politically expedient compromise positions. Honesty is what we have to offer that they don’t. Bloggers are the spine and the conscience of the conservative movement. If we sell out, it’s all over. Unite. We don’t all have to be on the same page on every issue; we would go stagnant if we were. But we are all pushing in the same direction, so we should promote each other whenever possible.
Find your angle. There isn’t much difference between 1,001 blogs and 1,002 blogs all shouting the same thing. Ideally every blog will find something slightly different to bring to the table.
Keep your sense of humor. It isn’t easy to laugh these days, but no one is going to read you if you don’t stay entertaining.
Rule 3: BigFurHat (iOWNTHEWORLD.COM) - There is no denying that American culture is on the decline. Most people. left and right, agree. Where we split politically is which way the finger of blame points. I think it’s important to be able to lay all societal ills at the feet of progressivism, where it rightly belongs.
No matter what problem you see it is to be labeled “progressivism in action.”
If you encounter racism in our own ranks, teach them that they should NEVER use derogatory terms for any minority. This is the only arrow the left has in their quiver, to call us racists, that is why they are using it so much lately. Do not play into that hand.
Purge our side of racists by reeducating them to be able to articulate their frustrations by blaming the real enemy – progressives.
Remind everyone that when they are witnessing a decline in culture, like a flash mob or a wilding event, it is the corruption of good people by “progressivism.” They are merely victims of progressive policies. Stress that the removal of progressivism will be the first step toward repairing our broken society.
Rule 4: John Hawkins (Right Wing News ) - The Short, Sweet Three Step Guide For Brand New Conservative Bloggers
1) Take the time to see what else is out there and then do something different — enough so that you will stand out.
2) Reach out, link, meet people, market, use social media and try to cross-post as much as possible. It doesn’t matter how good you are if you can’t get anyone’s attention.
3) You don’t build an audience overnight. Be consistently and persistently good over a long enough period of time to draw eyeballs.
Rule 5: BC (im41) – 1) No more vote splitting: I realize that this will not be as pertinent in 2014, but still the conservative blogging community needs to come to an agreement as to whom they are going to support long before the primaries start. We ended up with Romney because we could not come to an agreement.
2) Target The Embedded RINOS: It is time for conservative bloggers to rethink and re-target. It is time to declare victory on the liberal media and address the exposed right flank.
While bloggers have been busy busting largely irrelevant crackpots like Chris Matthews, the real damage has been done by the enemy within. The establishment GOP plants in the conservative blogosphere.
Hitting the liberal media does nothing except help their falling ratings. But ignoring thinly veiled Teaparty hit pieces from blogs that wave the conservative banner has had disastrous consequences. They are doing the real damage – not MSNBC.
These establishment bloggers post enough Teaparty red meat to keep a readership, but their main function is to gently nudge their readers away from Teaparty candidates. They are the ones who convinced the masses that only a moderate like McCain could beat Obama. They are the ones who scared conservatives into believing not picking Romney as the nominee would mean defeat.
We need to leave the Cris Matthews and Rachel Maddows alone. They didn’t give us eight years of Obama. It is time to target the people who did – the legions of Ed Morrisseys embedded in the new media.
Rule 6: Mj Stevenson (Zilla of the Resistance) - Don’t be afraid. Just tell the truth as you know it to be, because if you are thinking it the odds are that someone else is also thinking it and wishing someone would say it, so say it.
Also: Check your facts, check your spelling, and check your grammar, because if you don’t then you are just giving people who are want to disagree with you something to beat you over the head with and portray you as a “stupid rube” to be dismissed without ever having to address the merits of your position – and nobody likes having to write up a retraction when they’ve fallen for a “fact” that really wasn’t.
Rule 7: Moe Lane (Red State) – To quote the philosopher:
Rule 8: Karen (The Lonely Conservative) – I don’t know what the answer is anymore. Until our side finds a way to infiltrate the entertainment and media complex I think we’re all doomed, or at least our kids are. Just look at the latest polls. Most Americans believe in smaller government and prefer to see economic growth over this economic “fairness” that the Democrats have been selling. Yet they voted for fairness over growth. I guess the Republicans need to change their message, and stop caving in to the Democrats’ demands. I see it more as a failure of Republican leadership than a failure of Republican or conservative bloggers.
Rule 9: Jimmy Z (TheJimmyZShow.com) - We must rally people to be invigorated, motivated, positive and optimistic. Many people believe it’s now too late for America. It’s over, we lost, the country is done for, a goner. Jesus is coming back soon, hang it up, America isn’t in the Bible prophecy anyway. Excuse me but that’s bull. We don’t know God’s plan. Want to save America? Pray for Barack Obama. Then follow 2 Chronicles 7:14, get to know your Lord again. And then, remind yourselves that this is not Germany. It’s not Europe, it’s not Venezuela. It’s not Cuba and it’s not Russia. This is America. Nothing is over until we decide it is.
No talk of our demise, no talk of secession. No fear mongering, no scare tactics. Empower the people. Give them things to do, such as: Call the White House and Congress on a regular basis, and have those phone numbers programmed into your cell phones. NEVER tell yourself that they’re not listening. Call Washington DC as if you were the ONLY one they’re listening to.
We are Americans. We don’t give up, we don’t quit, we don’t shut up.
Rule 10: Milton Wolf (Wolf Files) – 1. Realize that conservatives (and libertarians) are in the minority. A center-right nation simply does not elect Barack Obama twice. Forget the Gallup polls saying self-identified conservatives outnumber liberals 2-to-1. Self-identified “conservatives” voted for government largesse in this election and last.
2. Conservatives and libertarians must join forces to save America from the statist liberals. We can fight out our differences once the republic is saved. For now, cast a wide net.
3. Refocus on the three animating principles of the Tea Party movement (which are also founding principles of America itself): (1) Constitutional fidelity, (2) limited government and (3) free-market capitalism.
4. Make Democrats own it. Democrats rarely defend their leviathan government. After all, it’s indefensible. So instead, they hide behind the fact that Republicans grow government too. RomneyCare. Medicare prescription drug entitlement. Bush’s wild spending. Republicans have simply got to wise up and quit acting like Democrats-lite. It’s like Lucy and her football and Republicans just keep falling for it over and over again.
5. Break the Democrats’ alliance. I have more details in my Washington Times column this week, but in brief, there is a natural divide between two Democrat voting blocs based on who is willing to work and who is not. Retirees worked hard for their Social Security and Medicare benefits. Remind them that the real threat to their benefits is not reform of the programs, but rather squandering those funds on food stamps and Obama Phones and disability giveaways and all the other welfare spending that all too often goes to people who sit on their sofas and game the system.
6. Use the Democrats’ class hatred against them. Reject all corporate welfare, whether it benefits Republican or Democrat interests. As the retirees face inevitable austerity measures and health care rationing, let the Democrats be the only signatures on the checks to Solyndra and Cash-for-Clunkers and Big Corn and Big Oil and all the rest.
7. In the long term, we must fight and win the culture battle in the news media, entertainment media and education.
8. And finally, prepare now for the Cloward-Piven collapse of our economy. Statists have been strategizing for decades to overburden our economy in order to force its collapse so they can replace it with overt communism. We should start planning right now for that day with the goal of replacing our current economy with actual free-market capitalism instead. If we wait for the collapse, it will be too late. Conservatives can’t be caught flatfooted, like usual.
Rule 11: AWD (Angry White Dude) - If you’re going to be a blogger, be bold. Say what you believe and don’t apologize for non-PC beliefs. Don’t allow your ideological enemies to define the rules of the game.
Write quality stuff and make it interesting. AWD tries to infuse humor (tries, anyway) to make his stuff more fun to read while getting across the message.
Write daily. Seek blogs you like and ask them to post your stuff or at least link to you. Most large bloggers will help small blogs get started and push traffic their way.
Decide if you’re going to have an opinion blog (like AWD) or post news stories written by others (like Drudge, Instapundit, Weasel Zippers, etc). Find your niche and decide who you want for your audience and focus on building traffic from readers who share those opinions.
Do not censor trolls unless they violate your rules. AWD has two rules…no N or F words. Oh, and no vulgarity. I prefer opinions and ideas (even leftist) if they are thought out and not name calling.
Get a good webmaster and learn SEO. Use Key Words to be more easily found in search engines. Use Facebook and Twitter.
Make your blog look professional for buying a ready-made theme. Most are under $100 and make your page look professional and serious.
Use photos and graphics in every post that relates to the topic. Learn to embed videos. Be creative and come up with things you would like to read. AWD has Libtard of the Week, Music That Doesn’t Suck, Dude of the Week as topics each week.
Off the top of my head, those are some of the things that has made AWD the 126th largest conservative page (according to Doug Powers) in four years. I try to make it fun, irreverent, funny, and sarcastic. My page critiques the world from the eyes of a middle class white guy. Hope that helps!
Rule 12: Kathy Shaidle (Five Feet Of Fury) – Elections and are 95% B.S. And as Mark Steyn says, we can’t imagine citizens steeped in liberal media/entertainment/academic offerings 24/7 to pull the lever for “R” once every four years.
We need to change the culture, or at the very least, carve out our own parallel cultural institutions. Blogs are one tool for doing this.
I’m a former punk and am still very much informed by the DIY, anarchist, prankster ethos, and the British music press, which is MUCH more daring, cruel and obnoxious than anything most North Americans are familiar with. I take advantage of my independence as a blogger to write things I could never write in national newspapers or say on television — until AFTER I’ve made it OK by saying it first
Because my blog is read by Canadian journalists and politicians, it no longer surprises me to hear my ideas quoted (sometimes without credit) on the air and in print years later, because I “softened the cultural ground” for them doing so. For example, for years, one of the catchphrases on my blog has been “Halt Muslim immigration to the West.” I used to get accused of “racism” for that, the sort of accusation that silences wimps. Now I hear the same view put forth by more “establishment” conservative writers up here, including one who happens to be Muslim.
My husband, BlazingCatFur, is always breaking stories about Muslim radicalism in Canada, and has gotten radical groups defunded, scumbags publicly humiliated and so forth.
Today’s radical idea is tomorrow’s public policy. It has always been true on the left. We need to take the same long view. And have some balls.
I’ve been sued. I probably will be again. (Get a libel lawyer, and libel insurance if possible — one DIY thing you should never do is “homemade libel law.” EVER.)
My blogging has probably cost me some “real” jobs. However, it’s also GOTTEN me work from like minded people, and I’ve never had to pay my own legal fees — my readers have generously done that for me. When you go out on a limb, don’t LIE, and are RIGHT (and don’t act like a total a-hole), people will support you. Be supportive back.
I don’t believe in anonymous blogging. I feel you should stand behind everything you say publicly, or else you reduce the impact your words can have. And today, you WILL be outed eventually, so why bother.
Get your facts before you post. I listen to my gut: if the story sounds too bizarre to be true, it probably is. I’ve never regretted missing a “scoop” because I didn’t post some story that turned out to be crap. No one will remember that you were the first to post a story, but they’ll remember that you were the idiot who fell for it.
Have a life. Read a book once in a while. Be interested in things beyond party politics. There’s nothing more embarrassing than rightwing bloggers and commenters who sneer at movies that aren’t Star Wars and activities that aren’t football.
If all you do is bitch about political correctness on your blog, then meekly go along when your workplace bans the expression “Merry Christmas” or your kid’s school holds a “Holiday Concert,” then you may as well not blog at all. Bitching alone solves nothing. I’ve been _bitching_ about P.C. since I was a _leftist_ during the Reagan administration. Unless you are prepared to take risks in meatspace — “lives, fortunes, sacred honor” — the culture will never change and the West will crumble.
– Kathy Shaidle
Rule 13: Robert Stacy McCain (The Other McCain) – Read More Books — The only way to defeat ignorance is with knowledge. Unfortunately, most people nowadays end their education when they leave school and never read a serious book thereafter. Given the dominance of liberalism in academia, this self-imposed ignorance leaves people in a condition of mental slavery, unable to think for themselves. Conservatives should fight this trend by exemplifying the opposite: Read extensively, read deeply, read widely. Do not limit your reading to strictly political subjects. Read history, biography, philosophy, science, theology, economics. Nor should your political reading be limited to conservative authors. It is my boast that I’ve read more Marx than most Marxists, and I know more about the history of the Democratic Party than do most Democrats. As much as I love the digital age, I still find that the good old-fashioned dead-tree book is a superior weapon in the War of Ideas, and I have a vast arsenal in my library.
Rule 14: Buffoon (Waznmentobe) - It’s been mentioned already a few times but isolate what it is that you bring to the table to set yourself apart from the rest and go with it, no matter how slight or subtle the nuance is. Have fun, don’t “force it”.
Recognize your strengths and offer to help others.
Recognize your weaknesses and know who to reach out to for guidance. If I want to share something I did that I’m proud of, who better to contact than Zilla (she knows everyone)! For SEO issues that stump me who better than Red Rooster from the Peoples Cube? Stumped with getting a certain graphics effect? Who better than Maksim to give feedback, and so on. Please don’t inundate them with questions though LOL.
Bottom line, you can’t do it alone. A site takes a minimum of two core people. The more writers the merrier. I’d be lost without Whoopie but he’d probably be relieved if I got hit by a truck. :O
Another blurb I’ll add that’s a pet peeve of mine. Make sure your site is visually appealing and not a jumbled mess of sidebar gifs, network badges and never ending blog rolls and feed widgets. http://waznmentobe.com/tech/top-ten-best-looking-right-wing-websites.html
We’ve successfully gained a regular readership of 6 (count ‘em six) people (only two on parole and one blind) with this tried and true approach.
Rule 15: Kevin Jackson (The Black Sphere) - Attack 3 of the liberal pillars of Wackademia, Hollyweird, and the Media…using their tactics. First, make them laugh. It’s time the Left got a dose of their buffoonery. Next, make their words unpleasant, e.g. “progressive.” There is nothing progressive about progressivism, unless you like living in the Stone Ages. Expose their hypocrisies, e.g. most very rich white “progressivies” always lamenting the plight of the poor? Now THAT’S funny! How does Jay-Z march at an Occupy event without getting FLOGGED?! Russell Simmons, Michael Moore, and the list of other degenerate Leftists. Want to talk Unions? They are so popular, they FORCE you to join!
Rule 16: Blazingcatfur (Blazing Cat Fur) - My only suggestion is cultivate the smaller blogs, link, encourage and give them due credit.
Rule 17: Jared (The Looking Spoon) - What you’re doing is great, and it’s a tough question to answer. I guess I could go with telling you what I do and why I do it.
I started off as a general conservative humor blog and evolved into images only, but injecting humor into the content was important to me because I wanted to help dispel the (very erroneous) notion that conservatives aren’t creative or humorous.
So, to the extent a conservative is capable of employing it, using humor is a vital tool in attacking the left’s view of the world. This is especially true because they use it so effectively against us. We can employ the most devastatingly factual rebuttal to an argument there is, but if the rebuttal is to a liberal argument/joke that sparked laughter it wont be heard as effectively in our sound byte culture as a pithy, snappy and witty comeback would….
On that note I don’t know if you know about Kevin Eder (@keder on Twitter), but he is very good with that sort of thing, especially if you friend him on Facebook. One of his comments inspired a graphic by me (http://thelookingspoon.com/tlsimages/blog/2012/gop_compromise_with_obama.jpg) that ended up being shared over 5500 times on Facebook…but I digress…
Humor in order to deconstruct an opponent isn’t new ground, Alinsky called for this, but very very very few conservatives have adopted it, more need to do so.
It would also be nice if conservative professional artists tried stepping up more. Even if they don’t we need to emphasize and utilize more the power of imagery and even simple memes with pithy captions. There are three main reasons The Looking Spoon evolved into an image-only blog. One was the idea that it would fill a niche and be more consistent content-wise. Second, the images I create were the most popular posts…by far. The last one is a personal belief that messages in imagery can hit home more immediately than a column or essay, especially in a culture of instant gratification. The building of arguments through op-eds, talk radio and books are invaluable, but useless if we can’t get people to care to look at them in the first place.
As a matter of cultural circumstance conservatives have to try to enlist people to create and use images to message our points of view. It doesn’t have to be left to professional commercial artists like Big Fur Hat and myself. There are so many tools out there now, some are software that can be purchased, but there are even online meme creators that can help conservatives get the job done as well (memebase has a great one, incidentally I’ve actually become interested in creating one of my own and will probably do so sometime in the future).
These shouldn’t only apply to blog posts, when battling liberals on Facebook, Twitter, and the comments section of any blog these tactics will be vital there as well because the public nature of such posts. People pay attention to the comments sections/tweet stream. Even though it can feel futile and a waste of time, smacking down liberals in these forums is important for spectators (particularly the low information ones) of the battle who may think there is little difference between the two sides, or may not know anything at all about what we stand for…or worse, they believe what the left has told them about conservatives. Battling on social media and the contents section can help dispel myths and get people to understand us better after the initial argument is made.
The only other thing I would add is to advise people to steer clear of having a hateful sounding tone, that’s a real turn off…and to use profanity very judiciously…meaning there should be a reason or context (like referencing Biden’s BFD/Obamacare gaffe, for example)…leave the crude language to the left…IMHO.
Thanks for including me in this project!
Rule 18: Mock (Chicks On The Right) - I don’t know that there ARE best practices. If there are, Daisy and I have never paid attention to them. :) We simply write the way we talk, about the things that we talk about when we’re together. The reason we’ve had modest success is because we completely ignore anyone who tells us how we should act, how we should write, what we should and shouldn’t say, and what we should or shouldn’t believe.
Personally, we’re hoping wannabe bloggers who haven’t already got something up and running use their time to volunteer for their local/state governments instead of adding yet another blog to the internet.
That’s probably not what you were looking for, but that really is our attack plan.
Rule 19: Stilton Jarlsberg (Hope n’ Change Cartoons) * Base your posts on solid information and provide links. Do not link to “tinfoil hat” sites. If material is questionable but credible, then make clear that you’re talking about an accusation – not a fact.
* DO NOT use inflammatory language which makes it easy for people to write you off as an angry lunatic. Do not make the focus of your attacks anyone’s race, ethnicity, nationality, or religion. That being said, do NOT be hampered by political correctness: if Obama is playing the race card, feel free to call him on it. If Dems policies have an especially bad impact on poor black families, then say so. “Sensitive areas” aren’t off limits – they just need to be handled intelligently. Eric Holder has called us a “nation of cowards” on the subject of race: prove him wrong, but do so intelligently. Personally, I feel that Conservatives are the real champions of African-Americans and try to make that point as often as possible.
* PERSONALIZE your story by saying how it’s going to affect your reader. Will the Left’s policies increase their cost of living, wreck their schools, curtail their freedoms, or make it harder to find a job? THEN SAY SO. Not many people care about politics as sport, but they care a lot when it affects their lives and pocketbooks. The Left has convinced a lot of people that their lives are improved by big government – but it’s a lie. We need to tell people clearly why big government is bad for the way they want to live their own lives. (It can’t hurt to remind them how much money the government has already borrowed and promised that the peons would pay back).
* NEVER suggest violence as the answer to a political problem, or accept it in the comments from your readers. There’s nothing wrong with defending the 2nd amendment, but don’t give anyone an easy way to shut your site down.
* Be concise and pithy. You want to convey points which simplify the fog from Washington and make it easy for people to tell their friends. If you get in the habit of making super-lengthy posts, people will lose interest.
* Have a viewpoint and stick to it. In my own case, I believe that Barack Obama is an anti-colonialist (per Dinesh D’Souza’s excellent “2016″) and it’s his goal to cripple our country because he feels it will help the rest of the world. Your viewpoint may be different, but you need to be consistent and the evidence you give in your posts needs to consistently support your viewpoint.
* Resist name-calling. Don’t just say that liberals are assholes – explain WHY they’re assholes. And then resist using the word “asshole” unless it’s absolutely necessary. Which is not infrequently the case.
* Know your history. Frequently, the folks on the Left will say or do something completely at odds with what they said or did a year or two ago. This is rich and fertile ground to call them out on their hypocrisy – but only if YOU’VE been paying attention. Again, make sure you cite sources and provide links when showing that the Lefties are talking out of both sides of their mouth.
* Don’t be boring – ever. And if someone else has made a great post on another blog, don’t be shy about sharing it on your own blog. Conservative bloggers aren’t in competition with each other – we’re a team. If someone has a great post, quip, or graphic then share it…and hope that others will do the same when YOU knock one out of the park.
* Be funny if you can. But if humor isn’t your thing, then at the very least be accurate. If you make a mistake or cite a bad source, OWN UP TO IT and apologize. Your credibility is all you have. That doesn’t mean that you’ll never make mistakes – but if you apologize and offer corrections (and it doesn’t happen too often) people will know that you can be trusted. And that’s important.
-Stilton Jarlsberg, Hope n’ Change Cartoons
Rule 20: Aleister (American Glob) - We must do everything we can to unite Conservatives and Libertarians in opposition to Progressives. The simple truth is that we have much more in common with each other than any of us do with Progressives. If we could unite behind one message, one candidate and one party, we would be unstoppable. That’s exactly why the Tea Party infiltrated the Republican Party instead of creating a whole new party. The initial success of the Tea Party was remarkable but there’s so much more that could be done.
The recent successes of the Democratic Party are based on building a coalition of support in unions and identity politics. We must do something similar on the right, not with unions or identity politics but with a message of freedom that resonates for people of any background.
The liberal stranglehold on the media must be destroyed. FOX is the only news network that conservatives have and yet it’s constantly accused of bias by Progressives who control every single other media organization in the country. That has to change somehow.
In terms of blogging, I think people on the right should work together. Keep doing what you’ve done here, reach out to other bloggers and communicate with them. Also, reach out to political candidates you like and communicate with their offices.
Above all, keep a positive attitude and keep writing.
Aleister – American Glob
Thanks for all the great input…