How we winPolitics

I really wish I was more like Martha Boneta.  For those of you involved in Republicans politics, you’ve probably met Martha.  She’s the owner of Liberty Farms in Paris, Virginia.  If you want to take a look at the beautiful land she’s cultivating, you can join my wife and the rest of the Virginia Federation of Republican Women next weekend at VFRW’s fundraiser, which Martha is graciously hosting at Liberty.

For those who don’t know Martha, you won’t find a more upbeat, sunny personality in Virginia politics.  Despite the fact that she is the poster child for an overreaching, over-regulating government – she and her farm have been fighting for years now against bogus government intrusion that have threatened the viability of Liberty Farms – she has never lost her smile and her willingness to pitch in and help.  Despite having every reason to be pessimistic and negative, Martha is the epitome of the happy warrior.  I have never seen her lose her optimism, even in the face of odds that many others would find insurmountable.

For Republicans, right now, it’s easy for us to dwell on the negative and to look around and see nothing but bad news and things to complain about.  A look at the political landscape in Virginia can be discouraging. Every statewide office is held by Democrats and the Commonwealth has voted for the Democratic candidate for President two cycles in a row.  As we watch the Administration do things we don’t agree with (or do things we do agree with in a disagreeable way), it’s easy to get frustrated and negative.

A look around the rest of the world is just as unsettling.  Iraq appears to be sliding back into anarchy, and Christians and non-muslims in the region are being persecuted in ways rarely seen since the Roman pogroms of the first hundred years after Christ.  Civil unrest at home in Ferguson, sparked by an unexplained police involved shooting continues to rage.  The crisis on the border continues to simmer, while Congress has left for the August recess after firmly committing to do nothing.

But if we simply resign ourselves to the idea that things aren’t going to get any better and the best we can do is stop the bleeding, we’re a political party and a political movement that is dead from the neck up.

The drumbeat of pessimism, anger, fear and defeatism isn’t going to inspire the masses of people in the middle where elections are won.  It’s not going to convince voters to mark a ballot for a Republican.  We have to fight as much against the politics of despair as we do against the loyal opposition.

Think about it this way – which of these candidates would you rather vote for?

Candidate A:  Vote for me, because the world as we know it is being destroyed and we have to stop it.

Candidate B: Vote for me, because our best days are ahead of us, and it’s up to us to make them better.

Candidate B is going to win, because he’s saying something people want – a vision that is bright and sunny, not nasty and brutish.  Fear, “slippery slopes,” class warfare, thinly veiled bigotry – these are the tools used by those who want to divide, not unite, and they’re tools that may work in the short term. But at what cost?  Willie Horton may win a race, but everyone remembers Morning in America because it made them feel good.

Prouder. Stronger. Better.

That’s how we win.

I don’t know how Martha Boneta does it.  It’s hard to be optimistic all the time.  Despite the fact that I want to take a positive message out there, I can’t always do that. And given that I spend far too much time on the internet, that wave of negativity is constantly washing over me and I find too much of it is rubbing off. I know I’ve been as guilty as the next guy for engaging in the negative aspect of politics.  I hear it loud and clear when I get criticized for too many denunciations, and I agree with my critics that I’ve done enough denouncing for a while.  I’m sure somebody in the comments is going to remind me of that – but don’t worry, I have a very active conscience and I know my faults.

I want our candidates to win in November, so I hope that all of them will take a step back – like I have – and look at their messaging.  Is it positive?  Does it positively portray what we want to do and how we’re going to do it?  Are we spending too much time attacking and not enough educating?  Are we wasting all of our energy trying to tear down and not enough trying to build up?

Like I said, negativity and negative campaign can win elections, but they aren’t sustainable in the long term.  Burnout is a real problem for our hard core activists.  Nobody can be angry all the time.  Nobody can keep up that level of energy on rage alone.  And once that rage is gone, the cold, hard rock of cynicism is all that’s left and that’s a voter or an activist who is going to shut down and walk away.

So I’m going to focus on the positive – and despite the bad things happening, we’ve got a lot of things to optimistic about.  The Republican message is still a positive and upbeat one.  Our goal of inclusion, of personal responsibility and equal opportunity for all is one that has broad appeal.  We are running candidates across the Commonwealth who represent our great diversity – not merely of gender and race, but of ideas and philosophy.  And we are finding voters more and more receptive to that message every day.

The great thing about Republicans is that we’ve all got a little Martha Boneta in us.  Most of us who got involved in politics didn’t get involved because we want to destroy our opponents.  We got into it because we were moved to give back to our community, because we wanted to build a better future for our kids, or we saw something that wasn’t right and we were determined to fix it.  By focusing on the positive, we can offer the best contrast between us and our opponents and give voters something to vote for, not just vote against.

Election Day is not that far away, folks.  Be like Martha – keep your chin up, your head held high and your eye on the ball.  Our best days are still ahead of us.

  • Dcgo

    The Republican message is positive and upbeat?!
    “The world is going to hell because we’re letting the gays marry!!!” is not positive and upbeat.
    “The world is going to hell because… sodomy!!!” is not positive and upbeat.
    “The world will go to hell if marijuana is legal!!!” is not positive and upbeat.
    “The world will go to hell if we let lots of brown people immigrate here!!!” is not positive and upbeat.
    “The world will go to hell unless we bomb everybody!!!” is not positive and upbeat.
    “The world will go to hell if free markets aren’t tempered by subsidies for our big biz cronies who give us lots of money!!!” is not positive and upbeat.

    • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

      That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Those shouldn’t be the messages. And, for the most part, they aren’t.

      • MD Russ

        Oh, but they are.

        Along with, “The world is going to Hell because we abandoned the Gold Standard.”

        “The world is going to Hell because we have thousands of foreign military bases.”

        “The world is going to Hell because we have intrusive Federal government laws, except for the ones that restrict the most personal aspects of a citizen’s private life.”

        “The world is going to Hell because we allow abortion on demand.”

        “The world is going to Hell because we have banned prayer in public schools and don’t let parents send their children to private schools at taxpayer expense.”

        No, those should not be the messages, but they are the ones that the moderates are hearing loud and clear from the RPVA. And that is why Republicans are going to continue to lose elections in Virginia.

        • Michael Thompson

          That is exactly why we need more Bonetas. The younger voice is not angry and not judgmental. There is a renaissance emerging within the RPV that craves a gentler presence. Indeed, Ronald Reagan is alive and well in the younger generation.

          • MD Russ

            “A gentler presence emerging in the RPV?” You mean like the gentler presence that wants closed conventions instead of open primaries? You mean the gentler presence that wants intrusive public laws that dictate public morality in personal matters? You mean the Libertarian psuedo-Republicans who would discard Ronald Reagan’s national security successes in the interest of withdrawing our military forces to the continental US?

            That is a loser of a political position.

          • Michael Thompson

            Nasty negative hostile campaigns are not the answer.

        • Peacemaker

          You are 100% correct. The PERCEPTION (that I think is also what Brian is saying) among moderate “R”s and “I”s has been exactly as you stated. Hopefully, that will change.

  • Tractor Ron

    You do realize that the over zealous grassroots and nattering nabobs that you routinely complain about are her biggest supporters, correct?

    • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

      Yup.

      • Tractor Ron

        Well, as long as you know. I have a lot of respect for you, I must say. You are “reaching across the aisle” sotospeak. If only everyone in the party was willing to work together.

        • Michael Thompson

          It appears by your early comments of “zealous grassroots” and “nattering nabobs” you have no idea what it means to work together. You could learn a lot from Boneta.

    • Michael Thompson

      Dignity my friend. Dignity and graciousness are what Boneta has and what you are lacking. Boneta has courage but at the same time has never lost her dignity. I respect Boneta and Virginians across party lines and across the nation celebrate her humility and tenacity.

      Boneta has earned respect. Respect is something that has no party affiliation. Rather, it is earned.

      • Tractor Ron

        You need to reread my comment, and go back and reread some of Brian’s other articles from the past year. You are the one that is lacking and misinformed. And you prove the point he has made over and over again too btw. Thanks for judging (not).

  • Lawrence Wood

    I couldn’t agree more with this approach and the thinking that underlies it. Too many in the political arena today tend to focus on the doom and gloom, the negatives in every situation, the bad intentions of the opponent (real or imagined), the despair of the situation. I believe some of it is just human nature as anyone who has done any home remodeling realizes the demolition part is much easier and often more “fun” then the grueling construction phases. Too many engage in constant lamentations, claiming the political situation has never been this dire. Poppycock!

    I well remember setting in the sweltering hot Kansas City Kemper Arena in 1976 where many delegates were espousing the same gloom anticipating the economic and military disasters that the ensuing Ford-Carter years would bring to the nation. Then Ford did something that I am positive to this day he did not run by his convention handlers, he invited Reagan to the podium and in a few short minutes of impromptu speech he laid claim to the future of the Republican party. He uttered not one negative comment. I challenge anyone to remember a single moment of the 40 plus minute Ford acceptance speech that followed. Reagan was positive and upbeat both to the delegates on the floor and Americans watching the televised event. I will always remember him saying that he “believed the Republican Party has a platform that is a banner of bold, unmistakable colors, with no pale pastel shades”

    The world is a dangerous place today and social disagreements are great but I truely believe the Obama progressive nightmare has run its course as it ultimately did during the Wilson and Carter administrations. People are tired of politicians who pay lip service to ideas but won’t stand up for their own stated principles. They are tired of politicians who project the style of reconciliation while constantly engaging in negations, strife and conflict. Reagan didn’t buy into the “politics of dispair” in his loss in 1976 and went on to win the White House four years later and set about changing the nation’s direction. This is the way to win back Virginia and the White House in 2016. Make each and every Republican campaign about positive choices and success will follow.

  • meadowjackson

    Gracious Martha is a member of the VFRW and she has a characteristic VFRW attitude. If you come to our party you will find many Martha’s-women who know their minds and know their worth and who contribute mightily to their communities, their political party and their politics. What you will not find is submissive, narrow minded, and uni-dimensional people that democrats speak of when they dismissively and derisively talk about women. You will find strong willed, strong minded, intelligent and talented women-in other words a whole bunch of Marthas-including the write’rs wife. So fi that’s your forte-please join us on Sunday for some good food, good music, good friends, and good company.

  • JoAnn in VA

    Martha is an amazing person, I totally agree- but she is a poster child for freedom and AGAINST the ” overreaching, over-regulating government “, not for it!

    • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

      That was my point.

  • Wally Erb

    My! This sounds a lot like Johnny Mercer’s 1944 popular song “Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive, E-Lim-Ate the Negative, don’t look for Mr. In-B-Tween.

  • Matt Thompson

    Martha Boneta continues to provide a shining example to all citizens Republican and otherwise. We owe her a debt of gratitude for getting bipartisan legislation passed In VA that protects both farmers’ rights as well as the property rights of all private citizens. I can’t wait to see Martha and all of the great friends she has cultivated at her farm next week. Together we stand, divided we fall!

  • Tina Fox

    I really hope they are all taking a step back and looking at the message they are sending out. The messages they’ve been sending out for the past 8 years is why we lose all the time to the other side. Martha Boneta is a unique individual and I doubt anyone could successfully emulate her. But, to aspire to be more like her is a very positive thing. I don’t seriously think that anyone on the Republican ticket would be doing anything other than pretending to be like her. They will most likely go right back to the negative politics as soon as the election is over. I say this based on all the nasty negative comments so called republicans have made about her over the past few years. Now to pretend to be like her or admire her is hard to swallow. There is a whole lot more to Martha than the pretty face and smile she puts on for the camera. She is a very smart intelligent woman that can see what’s going on and recognize the people that truly admire and respect her from the ones just pretending.

  • Antoninus

    Another establishment “reaching across the aisles” piece softer in tone than those shrill accusatory screeds many have put out to assuage their angst over having to watch the TEA Party drag the Republicans kicking and screaming back to conservatism, but wasted nonetheless if deplorable establishment actions like party efforts to use Democrats to win primaries such as what happened in Mississippi and local party hijackings such as Eric Cantor’s Young Guns effort aren’t called out by the establishment leadership and punished as unacceptable! The TEA Party exists because the establishment for too many years talked the talk without walking the walk, then they contemptuously stopped even talking the talk. You can hate on us, but you can’t co-opt us and you can’t ignore us because we are here to stay! We’re either going to work within a conservative Republican Party when and where we can or leave to form our own party and support our own candidates. Before you scoff, take a look back in history at the formation of the GOP back in 1856 from the remnants of the Whig Party.

    Co-opting us didn’t work; pointing an accusatory finger at us for establishment leadership failures didn’t work; screaming at us hasn’t worked; and making nice at us won’t work either if you aren’t willing to condemn those egregious practices of the establishment leadership such as using Democrats to influence open primary races and rigging local party elections. If you are truly interested in reaching out to us TEA Party conservatives, then it’s time for you establishment pundits to call out and condemn egregious establishment leadership practices!

    • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

      You didn’t read the article. I said nothing about reaching across the aisle. I was talking ablut campaign messaging and presenting an optimistic outlook. This entire comment demonstrates exactly what I was talking about – it’s dripping with venom and anger. That’s the wrong way to go.

      • Antoninus

        Yes, I most certainly did read the article, and I can spot subtlety when I see it! Perhaps your article really was about Martha Boneta’s optimism and you didn’t overtly mean to subtly insinuate that we TEA Party conservatives should get on board to get Republicans elected and provide an optimistic boost to such dedicated liberty warriors, but that’s exactly how it came across in light of your past articles and comments excoriating us TEA Party conservatives for “costing” you establishment Republicans crucial wins. That narrative is pretty old and worn out also, not to mention the fact that it is false and misleading! Todd Akin was the handpicked establishment Republican candidate for the Missouri Senate race against Clair McCaskill who happened to be conservative enough to garner TEA Party support. Richard Mourdock is the Indiana State Treasurer, meaning he is a respected conservative elected to statewide office and familiar to party leaders who never had a problem with him until he dared challenge their handpicked candidate, Richard Lugar, who didn’t even own a home in Indiana.

        I’m not surprised that an establishment figure such as yourself sees my comment “dripping with venom and anger,” but that was neither my intention nor my point. My point was to illuminate to you establishment types that, after castigating, lambasting, accusing, and pillorying us TEA Party conservatives (in league with your progressive Democrat media acolytes) continuously since 2010 when your pathetic attempts to co-opt us failed miserably, the only way you are ever going to successfully be able to reach out to us is by calling out the more egregious tactics employed by your leadership for the dirty tricks they are. I was attempting to enlighten you on what it will take from you establishment Republicans to get us TEA Party conservatives willing to listen to your pleas for working together. You want us to listen and believe you have had a change of heart? Then be willing to fess up to your war against us, be damn humble about it, and then maybe we’ll listen, but not before then! After what you guys have done to us since 2010, you’ve got a lot of gall to say we’re dripping with anger in rebuffing your pathetic attempts to make nice now that you realize you can’t go to war with us and still win!

        • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

          I have been accused of many things over the years, but subtlety is not one of them.

          My point about Martha was that she is optimistic and cheerful, no matter how bad things get. That’s how our campaigns should be. If I had meant to say that Tea Party folks or anybody else should stop being curmudegonly whiners, I would have said that.

          Actually, that is a good point. Yes, you guys should stop the constant complaining. But that’s not what the point of this argument is.

          I think any objective observer is going to look both of your comments and hand you a handkerchief to wipe the spittle off your screen. This isn’t about interparty fights, as much as you and some others may want it to be. It’s about the general election.

          Hate and screaming = losses. Optimism and vision = wins.

          • Antoninus

            I have nothing against the points you made about Martha Boneta and agree that she is the epitome of an optimistic warrior. However, contrary to your opinion, we conservatives are not bitter, hateful, or screaming. I merely pointed out that in order to understand us and have any chance of reconciling with us, you establishment Republicans must concede that you launched a war against us, treated us disrespectfully, and exhibit a genuinely humble asking for forgiveness if you truly wish to get further down the road to reconciliation. Conservatism was abandoned by the establishment, and it has taken the TEA Party to make this point.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            Any establishment Republican can say exactly the same thing about the Tea Party.

            I want Republicans to win elections. If you want that too, then we are on the same team.

            Now can we dispense with the finger pointing and get back to business?

          • Turtles Run

            “I want Republicans to win elections.”

            I would hope: I want the best person to win. The best candidate is not always going to be a Republican.

            Matt Suarez
            A heck of a nice guy.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            It’s our job to make sure that the best candidate is always the Republican. If we haven’t done that, we haven’t done our job.

          • Turtles Run

            And if the better candidate is not a Republican then what?

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            Then we haven’t done our job. When I participate in Republican nominating processes, I’m pledging to support our candidates in the fall, regardless of who wins. So I do that.

          • Antoninus

            No, I want conservatives to win elections. This is where we part.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            So you would vote for a conservative Democrat?

          • Antoninus

            I have in the distant past when actual conservative Democrats existed. I voted for Richard Shelby in Alabama when he was a conservative Democrat before he switched to the Republican Party, and I voted for Rodney Alexander in Louisiana when he was a conservative Democrat before he switched to the Republican Party. This begs the question, how do you classify us who vote for conservative Democrats who later switch to the Republican Party? Are we traitors to the GOP or voters more attuned to our candidates and ahead of the curve?

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            I classify you however you want to be classified. But I hope that if you’re participating in Republican nominating processes, you’re committed to voting for our nominees in the fall.

        • Lawrence Wood

          Frankly this is petulant foolishness. You don’t have to endlessly recite past grievances to simply listen to a sensible opinion on being positive in the pursuit of winning elections unless your true aim is not winning elections but furthering conspiratorial agendias. Perhaps you might want to ask yourself if the Tea Party’s poor showing in the recent mid-term primaries was really due solely to “evil” actions by the Chamber of Commerce and unrepentant establishment Republicans or the increasingly bitter and accusatory rhetoric coming from some of its adherents. I certainly disagree with Brian on many issues but he was on mark on this one. Perhaps you should reread what he wrote and try to take it as a learning lesion.

          • Antoninus

            If this is such petulant foolishness, then where’s the apology from the establishment GOP leadership to make nice and see our point of view? We’re petulant when we don’t give in to your establishment position and knuckle under so you can keep power, but you cast yourselves as principled when you oppose us… what did Karl Rove call us?… oh yeah, unelectable extremists! Yes, the Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove spent gobs of money defeating TEA Party conservatives in the primaries, along with resorting to dirty tricks such as appealing to Democrats to cross over and vote in Republican primaries to defeat our candidates. Now we have Democrats picking Republican candidates – that’s really something for you establishment types to be proud to call your legacy!

            Deny it all you want, but we TEA Party conservatives are winning despite the setbacks of this election cycle. Republican candidates have stopped their practice of overtly mouthing progressive talking points which they did before in contempt of us, the conservative base. Ask Eric Cantor what he thinks of immigration now! Now THAT was a MAJOR TEA Party win to pick off the number 2 man in the House establishment leadership! Boehner dropped the immigration reform scamnesty talk faster than a hot potato the day after Cantor’s defeat!

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            There’s no need for an apology on either side. Tea Partiers take out establishment and vice versa. It’s politics. Most of this ideological nonsense is just personality driven anyway. The difference between most “establishment” and Tea Party folks on most issues is nonexistent, anyway.

        • Michael Thompson

          You make some excellent points that I agree with 100%, but I also agree with the article about Boneta. Just don’t make it sound like Boneta is naive somehow for having a pure heart or her Faith in God that drives her to be a freedom fighter. Boneta is a freedom hero and has been through hell and has the scars to prove it and all just because she wasn’t going to let abusive county practices destroy what little freedom small family farmers have left. She was willing to take the bullets for us all and stood up for liberty against tyrannical misfits, establishment county government cronies and elitists that want to force her family off their private property farm. Somehow she continues to be a force of inspiration despite the local county government’s boot on her neck and environmental extremists wanting to suffocate farmers in to extinction. I stand with Boneta against tyranny along with countless other liberty warriors. Sic Semper Tyrannis!

          • Antoninus

            I have no problem with Martha Boneta and applaud her refusing to buckle under the tremendous government pressure applied to her situation. I objected to Brian’s subtle attempt to link her struggle with an appeal to TEA Party conservatives to give in to the establishment without apology or acknowledgement of establishment dirty tricks. It was subtle enough to provide plausible denialbility on its face, but not in light of his past statements. I sought in no way to cast aspersions upon Martha Boneta, nor question her motives.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            I was talking to everybody, not just the Tea Party. You’re being a little self centered here.

        • Patrick Murphy

          You’re more than welcome to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

          Todd Akin was most definitely not the “establishment” candidate in the 2012 Missouri Senate Primary. It was a sharply contested three-way race divided along traditional factional lines, but the candidate closest to the “establishment” label was John Brunner — a successful businessman who poured $7M into his race, was endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce, and was invariably regarded as a country club moderate. (Brunner was also the candidate I worked for at the end of the primary, while taking a break from managing (a winning) Congressional campaign in Indiana.)

          Richard Mourdock was never held in high-esteem by Indiana’s Republican leaders, mostly because he was a perennial loser for decades before winning statewide office on a slim margin — riding the coattails of top-of-the-ticket Republicans with much stronger performance. In fact, his lack of support among Republican leaders was why he was able to challenge Lugar for the nomination; he didn’t have anything to lose. (Again, I was there and won a Congressional race, despite having Mourdock at the top of the ticket.)

          I have nothing against conservatism, or conservatives.

          I do have a problem with people who fabricate or ignore reality in service of their political ends, as you’ve done with reading nonexistent attacks into Brian’s story. You want to see something which isn’t there, so you insist it’s there in hopes of making it true. But it’s not, and it won’t be, because it never was. You’re the only person seeking conflict.

          At the end of the day, the Republican Party benefits from a vibrant debate over the merits of every political issue, the suitable solutions, and how best to win elections. We need a serious discussion, not the kindergarten infighting from all sides we’ve been suffering from. None of us holds the singular answers to our collective problems, it’s about time we all gain a little humility and accept our own faults and flaws.

          We can, and should, have that debate. Unfortunately, we can’t have any serious conversations while people like you insist 2 + 2 = 5.

          • Antoninus

            I see. First, I actually lived in Indiana and voted in that election. I also attended local Indiana Republican Party events and had a close association with local Republican Party leaders who frequently opined that Mourdock was a well respected and well liked Republican with good conservative credentials who some felt had jumped the gun by taking on Lugar before his turn (a frequent complaint of establishment Republican leadership is that there are some who refuse to wait their turn). Since you claim to have been there, then you would be aware of this sentiment. So no, I’m not creating a false narrative or making up my own facts.

            Second, the Republican establishment was more than happy to embrace Todd Akin being that he was a six term winning congressman after he was a six term winning Missouri state legislator. Akin’s lowest margin of victory was 55%, and he was unopposed twice as a legislator. Being that you claimed to have worked for John Brunner, then you are no doubt aware that former Missouri Treasurer Sarah Steelman had the backing of the TEA Party in the primary. Once again, I have my facts perfectly straight!

            I have a problem with establishment GOP stoogies such as yourself distorting the record to cast us TEA Party conservatives as ignorant boobs while you rewrite history to suit your purposes and your false narrative that it’s all the TEA Party’s fault! And no, I’m not the one seeking conflict, but it is the establishment GOP leadership which has attacked us TEA Party conservatives relentlessly to cover up their own shortfalls, thus providing ample conflict and forcing the Republican base to defend itself from its own party leadership!

            When you establishment types declared war on us with Karl Rove leading the charge, you were all about driving us out of the party. Now that you realize you can’t win without us and your candidates have been forced back to the right by our activism, you’re suddenly all about “vibrant debate over the merits of every political issue” and how it strengthens the party!

            I was attempting to point out why Brian’s soft pedal of the “let’s all come together for the sake of the party” rhetoric would fail without a serious acknowledgment of establishment GOP leadership sins against us conservatives. It is you and all the other establishment types who think they can abuse us conservatives, then sweep it all under the rug thinking we’ll just forget the whole thing who are being foolish here!

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            Where are you getting this “come together for the sake of the party” nonsense? This wasn’t an internal commentary. It was designed for all parts of the party. You don’t think establishment types run negative campaigns?

            Stop with the victimization nonsense. You sound like a Democrat.

          • Antoninus

            No, John Boehner and Eric Cantor pushing immigration scamnesty for the Democrats because it aligns with the crony corporatism of the Chamber of Commerce sounds like a Democrat!

            If you can’t tell the difference between stating that you have been attacked and declaring that you are a victim, then YOU sound like a Democrat!

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            You have spent most of your time here spinning up a case that you and the rest of the Tea Party have been under constant unfair assault. Not only is it not true, it’s also playing into the politics of victimization.

          • Patrick Murphy

            I’m hardly establishment. Frankly, I’ve worked for a wide variety of candidates across the Republican ideological spectrum — so framing me as a “straw man” isn’t going to work.

            If you want to be taken seriously, then you’ll need to do better.

            Then again, if you wanted to be taken seriously, you wouldn’t hide behind anonymity.

          • Turtles Run

            I am going to have to defend Antonimus a wee bit. The Disqus system is a anonymous board and people often use pseudonyms to guard their identity against some of the more crazy people on these boards on the internet. I for one pick up a rather nasty right wing troll that harassed me everyday. For that reason everywhere but here I refuse to include my name.

            I believe the merit of one’s comments should be more heavily weighted than the name they chose to use. In the end how do you know that if a person does use a name that it is even real. The whole “hiding behind anonymity” argument is silly because you really do not know who anyone really is on this blog unless you know them outside of here.

            I admit trolls like the ability to disguise their identity but I sure would not give them more relevance if they use a “real” name.

            Matt Suarez
            A heck of a nice guy.

          • Patrick Murphy

            It’s not the only reason he doesn’t have credibility — there are also the words he types — but if he wanted to start establishing some it would be an easy place to start. It’s easy to login to Disqus via Facebook and Twitter, which also verifies a person’s identity.

            Honestly though, if someone isn’t willing to accept responsibility for the things they say, then why should anyone else give them any credence?

          • Turtles Run

            I agree the things he writes are off the wall but to claim a person does not have credibility because they chose to protect their identity is simply wrong IMHO.

          • Antoninus

            Like a progressive Democrat, when you can’t win on the merits of your case you attack your opponent.

          • Patrick Murphy

            Haha, first I was an “establishment stooge” and now I’m a “progressive Democrat.”

            The merits of my argument were fine, if I were dealing with someone who had some grasp of reality. As I said before, if we can’t agree 2 + 2 = 4, then we have nothing to discuss.

          • Antoninus

            Kid, an establishment stooge and a progressive Democrat are the same thing. That’s the point we TEA Party conservatives have been making – that the establishment GOP leadership has morphed into the progressive Democrat camp tacitly supporting their destructive agenda on expanding big government and hurting American workers with their scamnesty plan. No inconsistency here on my part! Besides, I merely compared you to a progressive Democrat without actually calling you one. Son, you the one with the math problem, not me.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            And that’s just ridiculous. That’s why it’s hard to take you all seriously. Oh, and “that kid” is the future of the party. Show a little respect.

          • Antoninus

            I showed him as much respect as he showed me.

      • Peacemaker

        I thought it was a good article…but then again, I also think that if candidates can not or will not reach across the aisle whenever possible, they have no business in office to begin with.
        Building consensus is very necessary, unless you would like another 113th Congress, and I think the concept of working WITH others is much more positive than taking the “say no” approach.

      • MD Russ

        Exactly. The Tea Party isn’t dragging “establishment” Republicans (whatever the heck that is) back to conservatism. They are dragging the Republican Party out to wander in the wilderness with their no-compromise, take-no-prisoners absolutist positions that alienate moderate voters. Couple that with the social conservatives who want smaller, less intrusive government, as long as they can put the government between a woman and her doctor, as long as the government can dictate who is allowed to love and marry whom, and as long as they can insist that taxpayers should pay for wahhabi religious academies at the expense of public education, they are just fine with less intrusive government. And neither message is going to sell to the great mass of moderate voters in the middle.

        • CVA Patriot

          MD, in all seriousness, what have Republicans gained by trying to compromise with the progressives? Serious question, because all I’ve seen is Republicans come away with nothing but wasted time trying to work with the progressive left. Can you point out some specific truly bipartisan reform and/or legislation? I’ve seen the left get what they want in spades, what are the Republican victories?

          • MD Russ

            Many example are there, CV. To begin with, there was the balanced Federal budget during the Clinton Administration. That did not happen because of government shutdowns; in fact the train wreck of November 1995 delayed it. It happened when Republicans and Democrats compromised. Go back further in history and you will find the compromises of the Reagan Administration with a Democratic-controlled Congress that led to tax reform. As for Republicans in Virginia in recent history, they won’t even compromise with themselves, much less with Democrats. Witness the McDonnell Transportation Plan.

          • CVA Patriot

            Ok fair points. But I’m talking about successful compromise with this new breed of progressive democrats. Can you point to anything in the last six years? I’ll give you the past because back then there still were some blue dogs. Sorry, I wasn’t clear in the time frame I was looking for.

          • MD Russ

            Can you point to any Republican compromises with liberals (I hate that term “progressives”) in the past six years?

          • Antoninus

            CVA Patriot makes a good point that this current breed of progressives is different from the old school liberals like Daniel Patrick Moynihan. The old liberals loved America, fought in WWII, and were generally civil, but this new breed of progressives hates America, is contemptuous and completely uncivil, and actually works to undermine the institutions that underpin America. You may hate the term, but it is fitting in distinguishing today’s radical Democrat faction from yesterday’s more moderate liberals. Things have changed dramatically under the Obama administration with much of the damage being done behind the scenes where it is more difficult to point out to voters. The damage is real nonetheless. The progressives have destroyed marriage, thoroughly infiltrated the education system, insinuated themselves throughout the justice system, and control the federal agencies (witness the EPA war on coal and Lois Lerner at IRS). This is a different breed and they have no qualms destroying America because they never liked it in the first place.

          • MD Russ

            You forgot to mention the liberal plot of drinking water fluoridation which has sapped our precious bodily fluids.

          • CVA Patriot

            No, I can’t.

    • John E. McGlothlin

      I have no doubt that your concern and passion are genuine, but just look at your first sentence – 80+ words of anger and accusations, all ending in an exclamation point. Shrill, screed, kicking, screaming, wasted, deplorable, hijackings, punished – all of these used in one sentence. Whatever good ideas you have (and I am sure you have some) are buried by that harsh and defensive tone. You take Brian’s very broad critique very personally and react in an openly combative way.

      Tell people about how much better things will be once your ideas are embraced, not how apocalyptically terrible things are or will be because they aren’t. Even well-justified anger is ultimately a corrosive thing. It needs to be a stage we pass through, not a mantra we follow. Because if we don’t take all that vigor and enthusiasm and turn it towards something more positive, we will keep losing elections – even against lousy competition – and deservedly so.

      • Antoninus

        Disagree. My first sentence included facts, not anger and accusations. Those facts were included to support my point. Karl Rove fronted an establishment war on the TEA Party in the 2012 election cycle. This is a fact and not an angry accusation. Rove publicly stated numerous times that he was raising money through his American Crossroads SuperPAC to defeat TEA Party conservatives in the primaries. He was joined in this effort by Tom Donohue, president of the Chamber of Commerce, who also stated publicly several times that his goal was to defeat TEA Party conservatives who were opposed to immigration reform. Stating these facts does not make me an angry person.

        The descriptive words included in my first sentence referred to specific points and was not indicative of an overall anger, yet you persist in seeing anger where there was only facts. We TEA Party conservatives have endeavored since 2009 to promote the virtues of conservatism as the ONLY antidote to the destructive progressive agenda of the Obama administration. We fully expected to be attacked by the progressive Democrats and their media acolytes, but the cruelest blow came from the establishment GOP leadership which fell in with the Democrats to further attack us.

        In every 12-step program to recovery, Step 1 is always the requirement that one must admit there is a problem before recovery can proceed. In the rift between the establishment moderate and TEA Party conservative wings of the GOP, Step 1 must be an admission by the establishment that they attacked the conservative base and waged war upon us before healing can commence. Without that admission, bitter feelings will continue to fester and no healing can occur as there will always be suspicion. The fact that the establishment is unwilling to admit they have a problem attacking the conservative base means they don’t really feel they did anything wrong and they don’t feel they ever were wrong. To them, it’s just business as usual and let’s move on. For a healthy policy debate to occur, there must be some resolution and closure that moves the sides forward. The establishment GOP leadership is unwilling to provide closure. It is this closure we TEA Party conservatives seek so we can be sure the establishment understands what they’ve done wrong and that they’re willing to make changes to drop the progressive sympathy and support. We do not seek anger or resentment for their own sake as they are counterproductive.

        • Patrick Murphy

          There’s no crying in baseball.

          • CVA Patriot

            As a Tea Party/Libertarian, I agree 100% with this. If we lose primaries, we shouldn’t sulk and whine. I’m willing to start a dialog with establishment Republicans anytime. No vitriol, no suppressed anger, but real honest debate as to why your or my position is better. But that street has to run both ways. If I’m open to that, then the people I’m engaging should return the favor of not smearing and slandering trying to make a point. The events in the Mississippi primary have dumped poison in the gulf between Tea Party and establishment. That wound, rightly so in my opinion, was a completely filthy move on the part of Cochran and the RNC. It is going to take time and genuine outreach from the establishment to heal it. The question I have is: Is the RNC ready to start that process? Or are they just going to continue to pour money into the fire that’s raging between the two camps?

        • John E. McGlothlin

          I encourage taking one more look at the tone here: I’ve been to two actual wars and can confirm that the GOP establishment has not in fact “waged war upon” you. (Unless you are actually writing from Iraq, Afghanistan, certain parts of Yemen, or somewhere similar.) Nor are people who disagree with you alcoholics in need of a 12 step program. Well, some of them might be alcoholics, but it’s just a coincidence.

          None of the words I pointed out had anything to do with facts – you can present the same facts in lots of different ways. You choose a very confrontational way, and someone who does so is always at risk of having their tone overshadow their message. From your last post: war, destructive, attacked, acolytes, cruelest, further attack, 12-step program, attacked, waged war, bitter, fester, suspicion, attacking, disgusting, attacking. Does that sound like the plot to a story people want to hear?

          • Antoninus

            Please! Just stop with the actual comparisons to war here! That’s over the top and you know it! I was obviously speaking in a metaphorical sense and not literally meaning that the establishment was shooting at us conservatives.

            However, I will point out that in politics, money is the weapon used to wage political war and the establishment has certainly fired plenty of money at us TEA Party conservatives through Karl Rove’s American Crossroads SuperPAC and Tom Donohue’s Chamber of Commerce to pointedly and publicly defeat our candidates.

            Yet again I will point out that I am not being confrontational here, but if you are an establishment Republican holding a grudge against the TEA Party for the failure of the establishment leadership to embrace conservatism and for tipping the scales towards their handpicked candidates who turned out to be poor selections, then you will most certainly see my case as antagonistic. The establishment claims to want reconciliation with the party base, but refuses to listen to constructive criticism, choosing instead to see only anger and resentment where none is meant.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            This criticism wasn’t constructive. That’s the problem. Folks came after the elected leadership in office both public and party hard, claiming they were worse than Democrats.

            You can’t complain when the other side turns and fights instead of laying down.

            Regardless, we’re all in this together and I wish the divisiveness would stop on both sides.

          • Antoninus

            Criticism wasn’t constructive. Really? You are one of the main ones on here stating that both sides must come together to win elections and stated you “wish the divisiveness would stop on both sides.” If that is what you truly want, then be prepared to hear our grievances instead of wanting to pretend like nothing ever happened! We are trying to tell you why the TEA Party formed in the first place, why we feel the need to run our own candidates, and why we resent the GOP leadership for attacking us when all we sought to do was promote conservatism.

            When John Boehner and Eric Cantor come out in support of President Obama’s plan to grant amnesty under the guise of immigration reform, then that is the epitome of the establishment Republican camp not even bothering to pay lip service to conservatism anymore! That was arrogant capitulation to the progressive agenda without even bothering to conceal the rhetoric in conservative language! An honest assessment of the Republican Party has got to start with the realization that the establishment members like Boehner, Cantor, Graham, and McCain had reached the point where they didn’t even try to hide their contempt for the conservative base in their statements overtly supportive of the progressive Democrats. We TEA Party conservatives got tired of these Republican “leaders” mouthing off statements we were embarrassed by, and by the GOP leadership which refused to call them out on it. The establishment GOP leadership has been thoroughly enamored with the progressive tactic of bipartisanship which is nothing more than the labeling of conservative compromise to the point of capitulation to the Democrat position! Where is the fight against the destructive progressive agenda we conservatives sought when we worked to retake the House in 2010? All we got for that was crying John bending over backwards to meet with Obama o the budget long past the time when everyone else knew it was hopeless.

            If you establishment Republicans were willing to listen to us instead of pointing accusatory fingers at us and ginning up hatred towards us by labeling us as extremists, we could have a constructive conversation about what is truly wrong with the Republican Party. Instead, the establishment continues to pretend there is no problem and we conservatives are just bitter extremists too ignorant to know how government is supposed to work. As an aside, if I wanted to insulted by condescending elitists, I’d join the Democrat Party. We conservatives have a lot of great ideas to offer, but you establishment Republicans continue to paint us as extremists and refuse to listen or even admit there is a problem. I offered a description of what is needed from the establishment GOP leadership for reconciliation to occur with the TEA Party conservative base, and I was instantly attacked as an angry extremist ignorant of the political world. It is precisely that attitude exhibited by the establishment Republicans that is causing anger and resentment!

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            I have heard your grievances, and I think most of them are made up and don’t represent reality. You can’t argue that Karl Rove funded coming after Tea Party members, without acknowledging that the Tea Party started the war by coming after sitting officials, in both the party and in public office, primarying them or beating them in conventions packed with your folks.

            My issue with the “we Tea Party conservatives got tired of these Republican leaders mouthing off statements were were embarassed by” annoys me, because much of the problem here stems from some of your folks simply being unwilling to comprehend how things work in a legislature when we don’t control everything, and demanding that we do ridiculous and potentially devastating things like shutting the government down or hitting the debt ceiling and forcing either a default or some jury rigging of the entire financial system. It’s the unwillingness to trust or even admit that there may be a side to these arguments that explains why folks did what seems to not make sense frustrates me. Yes, some people make mistakes and we should call them out on it (I do that all the time). But the more hard core Tea Party folks seem to think that nobody who held office before 2010 on our side of the aisle had any idea what they were doing (except, maybe, Ron Paul) and that the only way to fix the problem is to throw everybody out. That’s just dumb.

            In Virginia, the establishment has lost. There is no moderate establishment Republican Party in Virginia anymore. State Central is controlled by the Tea Party and libertarian factions. The Tea Party began its ascendancy in 2009 when Ken was elected AG, it built on it with Radtke’s run for Senate against Allen, and it cemented it in 2012 with the take over of a majority of State Central and a number of unit chairmanships, like in the 3rd.. The 2013 reversal that forced a convention and the nominations in 2013 demonstrated that power.

            You guys are the establishment now. You control the party apparatus, and most of the units. Linwood is gone. Bolling is gone. Cantor is gone. What happens in Virginia Republican politics now is up to you guys.

            You can’t keep blaming the “establishment” like Obama blames Bush because you guys are the establishment now.

            Accept that and lead. Stop complaining, and stop pretending that there are invisible forces at work trying to stop you guys.

          • Lawrence Wood

            The fact is that neither the Tea or Libertarian “Parties” are really well structured political entities with any serious national infrastructure unless you consider PACs in some manner election platforms and you know that quite well Brian. Throwing your hands up and saying its up to “you guys” (who ever they are) is no answer to anything for the RPV. The view from the soap box is always more appealing for some then the work in the trenches as comments to your article have amply demostrated. The Tea Party will begin to sort itself out over the coming election cycles and those that want to win elections will be seeking mentoring from those experienced professionals in the party that are willing to offer it without “strings attached” Those that find preaching more to their calling will find a welcome home in the libertarian movement with Rand Paul and a bubble that is likely to burst long before the 2016 national primaries. All serious Virginia grassroot players that are in this for the long haul should be laser focused on electing Gillespie and Comstock. The future calls for mending fences where feasible, working viable accommodations on party platform, developing an “open” candidate selection and mentoring model, and finally, establishing a more effective, aggressive party recruitment process coupled with some form of workable statewide registration. All the rest of the retheroic is just internet blogging spin cycles that will return NO faction of the party to any semblance of elected political strength, but then I believe you fully understand this despite your temptation to tweak the Hyde Park constituency

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            My point is simply this – folks who called themselves Tea Partiers and libertarians, who had support from Tea Party and libertarian groups when they ran for party office, are now in control of RPV. They and their supporters ran the nomination process last year and it was their candidates, for the most part, who were nominated.

            The time for them to constantly complain about the “establishment” is over. They won. Their supporters control the party apparatus. Now they need to do something with it.

          • Antoninus

            As I’ve explained numerous times now, yes, the TEA Party came after sitting Republican office holders – Republican office holders who openly supported the progressive agenda and no longer even bothered to hide their contempt for conservatism. I know exactly how the legislative process works, and I’ve got no problem with compromise to reach a desired legislative goal or advancing an issue that needs to be addressed. I also understand that Republicans only held the House, but they didn’t realize they hold the power of the purse while we did understand that fact. This gave House Republicans an enormous advantage Boehner and the leadership have refused to wield, and only Mitch McConnell is now starting to promise to use that power if he becomes the Senate majority leader (it smacks of desperation in his campaign, but that’s another story).

            What I and the TEA Party do have a problem with is those Republicans who start negotiating from a position of surrender where they accept every progressive demand without so much as a whimper. In the budget fight, Boehner would hand Obama everything he was asking for, then Obama would naturally demand more. Where was Boehner ever threatening to cut off funding for anything? He held a series of show votes on repealing ObamaCare, but there was never any targeted legislation cutting funds for any specific aspect of ObamaCare or any portion of government.

            You continue to echo the establishment talking point that we TEA Party conservatives want “to throw everybody out.” That is simply not true and you know it. We mentioned specific Republicans we felt had strayed too far from conservatism like John McCain and Lindsey Graham. We defeated Eric Cantor because he continued to push scamnesty for the corporatist Chamber of Commerce long after we were screaming NO! The vast majority of congressional races (around 90%) are not even considered contestable, and the vast majority of Republicans were conservative enough for our support. But, old bulls like Richard Lugar and Thad Cochran who have been in the Senate for decades ad feel entitled to their seats while having lost touch with their constituents years ago needed to be pushed out! They mouth conservatism while voting liberal and telling those of us who noticed that we didn’t understand how the process worked. We understand a man who is selling us out because he lives in DC and hasn’t even owned a house in his state for decades (Lugar).

            You point out that the TEA Party conservatives now control the party apparatus in Virginia. Okay, we have it, we will run it, and we aren’t complaining about that, but are you going to work with us to elect the most conservative candidates, or against us like Karl Rove because you’re bitter and angry from having the party wrested from you? The establishment GOP leadership has allowed the progressive media to define conservatism as some extremist position to be ashamed of, which simply isn’t true. They have the Republican Party distancing itself from its own base. Whenever the media echoes the progressive talking point that the Republicans are trying to drag us back to the 18th century anytime we stand up for a conservative position on some issue, we need to call them out on it and point out that we seek to preserve the traditional view ad that we are not trying to drag anyone back to the past. We seek to preserve those institutions and ideas upon which America was founded and which contributed to her going from discovery to the world’s lone superpower in less than 400 years.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            Almost no Republican office holders “openly supported the progressive agenda.” That’s just farcical. That there were moderates and conservatives who worked across the aisle to get things accomplished is true – that’s what we want them to do. You guys punished people for doing their jobs and you’ve made it much harder now for anybody to get anything done. That hasn’t solved anything.

            Yes, we hold the power of the purse, but you don’t get that this only means we can force compromise, we can’t get our way completely. The cuts that House Republicans got were real and represented the first time in a years that we had an actual shrinking of public spending, not just decreases in the increase. But that wasn’t good enough, apparently.

            Nobody on our side of the aisle ever handed Obama everything he asked for. That’s just not factually accurate.

            I don’t understand when being a pro-business party became a bad thing, either. The Republican Creed talks about the free enterprise system – that means capitalism and business. So why is supporting business, which has long been a Republican ideal, now suddenly a bad thing?

            You guys run the party now. I am a Republican and I will support Republicans. I notice that you all don’t talk the same way, which I find funny. You demand that we support your candidates, but you don’t promise to support ours. Isn’t that a little hypocritical?

          • Antoninus

            I named names and you continue to insist that I’ve not made my point. I have, but you continue refusing to acknowledge it. You echo the establishment talking points and will continue to do so since that is your bread and butter. You change the subject, attack me and my motives, and engage in subterfuge all while stomping your feet like a child insisting we took away your playhouse and it’s up to us to run it. It is you exhibiting anger and engaging in the transference at which progressive Democrats are so adept to mask their own shortfalls and insecurities.

            Eric Cantor most certainly supported the scamnesty issue and you well know it! Crying John insisted on bringing scamnesty up for a vote while we conservatives screamed no! Yes, these two openly supported progressive positions. John McCain supported progressive positions under the guise of being a “maverick” to please the liberal press in running from his sordid involvement with the Keating Five scandal. Lindsey Graham has also staked out numerous positions echoing the progressive line. These are well documented and you know it.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            No, Cantor did not support amnesty. He supported a version of the DREAM act that would have allowed kids to stay who were brought here prior to 2013, were raised as Americans, and had attended american schools, etc. It wasn’t anything remotely close to amnesty, and no amount of bloviating on your part will make it so. You claim to understand the legislative process, but you can’t even read a bill and accurately evaluate what it does. And there have been no votes on immigration reform in there house this year, so your claim about Boehner is also false.

            I’m not exhibiting anger. I’m exhibiting frustration. You are trying to revise history to fit your narrative, making unsupported claims (throwing out names is not good enough), ignoring facts that aren’t convenient and labeling anything that you don’t like/understand as a “progressive position.”

            Lindsey Graham is a progressive? Might want to tell ACU that – he’s got an 88.01 lifetime conservative rating from them.

          • MD Russ

            Thank you for your service and welcome home.

          • John E. McGlothlin

            Thanks – I appreciate it!

  • Thad Hunter

    Instead of lecturing the grassroots about how they should react to serious issues, spend your time helping the Virginia GOP put forth candidates that are able to communicate solutions to those issues. Offer us leaders and a reason to vote and we will win.

    • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

      You apparently didn’t read the article, either. This isn’t about the grassroots. This is about candidates and campaigns.

  • Dave Webster

    I fully concur that Martha Boneta is a person to be admired with her never say die attitude. I can’t think of one person in Virginia who is so well-liked that no one would dare to attack her. She stands for liberty, conservative values, and kindness. There is no one better suited than Martha to be our emissary of conservative values.

  • http://thebullelephant.com/ Steve Albertson

    Nice post, great message!

  • John E. McGlothlin

    Completely agreed. We need to stop relying so heavily on fear. It wins elections for people, but it also destroys the very institutions those people were elected to maintain. We can and should win without it.

  • Brad Froman

    Americans suffer because of what 21st century politics become. Political parties worry about what they say, not what they do. Modern campaigns are all about messaging and reacting to polls, not offering the people real solutions. Democrats seem to be about nothing, and Republicans are killing each other trying to come up with a message that voters will buy into. And they keep throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks. The two parties offer voters only dismal choices at the national. It’s all about trying to say the right things. But that fixes nothing.

    • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

      Trying to pack all of the potential things one will do in office is impossible in a world where the average attention span is measured in seconds. There’s no way for anybody to break through the noise with detailed discussions of what someone wants to do, can do, or the like. At best, those are plans touted in a brief way and only really looked at by the opposing campaign trying to tear them up.

      Modern campaigns are the same as old campaigns were, just in different formats. Abraham Lincoln wasn’t out giving 4 hour campaign speeches outlining everything he intended to do if elected.

      • Brad Froman

        Fair enough. But I’m not talking about saying every little thing a party/candidate intends to do. In my opinion, what’s lacking is a vision — a theme — that voters can understand, that they can “see” where you’re going and what what you’re actually going to accomplish.

        I saw a terrific presentation not long ago about marketing and selling. They said “people buy WHY you do it, not WHAT you do.” You start with “why”, then you reveal “how” you are going to achieve the “what.”

        If the Republicans can come up with an identity (“why”), the “how” and “what” becomes much more interesting to voters. But if they don’t know why you are for this and against that, it becomes easy to tune out every message that follows.

        Define the Republican Party in one sentence. It can’t be done.

        • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

          Republican Party: Low taxes, smaller government, strong defense, personal responsibility and a trust in people that they are the best folks to make decisions for themselves, their families and their communities.

          • MD Russ

            Brian,

            I respectfully disagree:

            -Lower taxes, even if those taxes are necessary to maintain our infrastructure.
            -Smaller government, as long as the government can intrude into personal decisions such as abortion, gay marriage, and end-of-life health care.
            -Strong defense as long as it is limited to Fortress America and we let the rest of the world go to Hell.
            -Personal responsibility, etc, as long the taxpayers pay for school vouchers, sports and activity programs for kids who are home-schooled, and allow fundamentalist Christianity to be accepted as the official religion of the Republic.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            There are some folks who think that way, but not most of us.

          • MD Russ

            I agree, but that is the message that the Republicans are sending to independent voters whether they mean to or not. More significantly, people who think that way are running the RPV now. That is why Republicans got torched in 2013 statewide and why the Republican Congressional delegation sees themselves as becoming increasingly vulnerable in what used to be solid Republican districts. That is what generated the letter from Griffith, Hurt, and Riegall to the RPV leadership, which was ignored.

            Look, I’m not trying to be the bad guy here and I’m certainly not a liberal or even a left-leaning moderate. I’m just saying that the emperor has no clothes.

          • http://www.brianschoeneman.org/ Brian W. Schoeneman

            I’m trying to get the emperor back in his pants.

          • MD Russ

            Good comeback. But first, the emperor is going to have realize that he is naked and not the model of fashion that everyone admires. That’s a tall order for the people running the RPV now.

  • Guest

    I’m all about optimism…but one of the most unite-able things about the election is how terrible a senator Mark Warner is.

  • Pingback: Schoeneman’s right, but wrong - Fauquier Free Citizen | Fauquier Free Citizen

  • Matt G.

    Brian,
    I want to apologize for being over reactive to your articles and comments. In some cases I have been too critical. Its also taken me a bit to get back into BD due to life issues. Anyways, I wholeheartedly agree with your article here of a positive viewpoint to be taken in delivering our message. No one is doing that, much less doing much of anything other than keeping their heads down.
    I thought I had read in the past about the moderate viewpoint of essentially not rocking the boat of politics. Its not in the article now and not in any of the ones that are posted but I know it was there at some point. Regardless, as a supporter of the non radical, moderate ways, I was hoping you could explain to everyone what you believe. We get snippets here and there, but I have never seen a moderate republican manifesto. I am very interested in knowing what it is that you “generally” believe in (generally in quotes because most people aren’t admittedly monolithic). I’ve never seen it and would find it very educational to know. In example why should I vote for a chris Christie over a ted cruz? I don’t want emotion, just facts and logic.