This blog features information about the political campaign nationally and in the state of Pennsylvania. it will discuss congressional races western PA, but it won't restrict comments to those jurisdictions. On many occasions, it will feature humor, but its main purpose is to "cut the legs off" political jihad. This is a site for political grown-ups of all ages.

Location: Ambridge, Pennsylvania, United States

I have a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester (English and American Literature). I taught for 10 years at various educational institutions (Univ. of Rochester, my alma mater, College of William and Mary, and University of Georgia, where I was also Asst. Ed. of the Georgia Review. Later, I worked as a speechwriter and "thinker" at various large companies, including Phillips Petroleum, Gulf Oil, Aetna, Merck (consultant), and Eli Lilly (consultant), among many others. I'm a full-time writer and political commentator/analyst. Favorite company: AudioTech Business Books. Favorite female: my wife, Patricia Ann Maloney. Favorite politcal candidate: Diana Lynn Irey (PA's 12th congressional district)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Mutterings from the Mothership: A Three-Step Process in Conservative Renewal

(Revised December 21, 2006)

Read the superb essay by Paul Weyrich! Link is below.
Weyrich has been active in conservative and Christian politics since the 1960s. Currently Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, he was a top aideto Senator Gordon Allott and has been a major “idea person” and political organizer for many years.

His piece deals with organizing groups to support conservative candidates and/or causes.

If you're the conservative candidate, how do you get groups to support you? You do so by pointing out to them how working together will help advance your common cause. “Scratch MY back, and I scratch THY back.”

Remember one very successful politician's answer to the key question of how you get others to support you. The simple answer is: YOU ASK THEM. (If you want to understand the art of persuasion, read Cialdini's great book, Influence: The Art of Persuasion.)

Requesting groups' help should appeal to them because it will help leverage their local and national influence. It's step one in a three-part process whose goal is influencing the making of public decisions -- and, especially, winning elections.

Yes, in political campaigns, each of us has just one vote. However, if we influence the way others vote – asking them to cast their ballots for a candidate, or driving infirm people to the polls, or participating in fund-raising efforts, or calling and reminding others that you appreciate their vote -- then we might as well be voting several times.

In one campaign, I worked with a young woman (Amanda) not old enough to vote. She called approximately 400 registered voters and urged them to vote for the candidate she supported. Technically, she didn't have a vote, but through her actions she "cast" many votes.

It’s a little bit like one very successful politician’s answer to the supposedly tough question of how do you get people to vote for you? The simple answer is: YOU ASK THEM.

An entrenched congressman like John Murtha of PA’s 12th District is NOT going to ask them on a face-to-face basis. He’s “much too busy” (or so he’d like you to think) actually to go out and request something from people he regards as The Great Unwashed. So, he sends out an unending river of brochures dealing with the all the pork he's bestowed on the district.

If you're not exactly entrenched, the pesonal act of asking for help is the key. It’s the political version of the Biblical injunction, “Ask and you shall receive.”

If you're having any trouble getting groups to come on board, then proceed by giving them ONE GOOD reason they should vote for you. First, however, find out what they want done, and if you agree with their position, they'll probably be yours forever.

As Paul Weyrich points out in his essay, requesting help is the first step. The next step is staying in touch with your newfound supporters. As he puts it:

"As your coalition of interested groups and individuals grows, you must maintain constant communication with them. They must always be receiving something new and interesting from you, including not only information but also activities in which they can join.

"Constant communication is the lifeblood of any movement, and if it is not maintained, the movement will die. Fortunately, thanks to the internet and other new technologies, it is technically much easier and much less expensive to maintain constant communication today than it was when I began in conservative politics in the 1960s.

Weyrich adds a third step: "While your new movement's leadership must always be open to communications from your troops in the field, it is a mistake to think any movement will just 'happen' on a bottom-up basis. For the most part, your troops will be asking you, 'What should we do?'

"Your leadership must be pro-active in coming up with things for them to do, things that will hold their interest while advancing your movement's cause."

In too many cases, good people don’t know exactly how to go about working together. It’s a little like the statement made about the anarchists (people who believed in no government) at the turn of the 20th century. “The anarchists have some good ideas but a terrible organization.”

Whenever you’re speaking to individuals or a group, as them to DO SOMETHING. It might be to join a movement, or write a letter to the editor, or call a talk show, or to e-mail their friends, or to send in a few of your hard-earned dollars to support a cause, or a or to vote for you candidate of your choice.

Purposeful action is essential. Yes, many people are in a kind of mild despair about the current state of the nation. However, sitting around and bemoaning the country's fate won’t change anything.

In a representative democracy, there's nothing so bad happening that people acting with resolve and discipline can’t change it. Remember one my favorite quotes (from Edmund Burke): “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

The solution to society’s problems is for YOU to do something – and then keep on doing it. If you're a leader, you must keep on leading, giving your followers positive things to do. If you're a follower, be such a good one that you'll soon be indistinguishable from the leader.


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