Originally at Rare.us
I was only 16 when terrorists drove planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. It was such a bizarre day. My English teacher’s son was on a plane out of DC, and couldn’t be reached. Parents showed up at the school to see their children and patrol the halls–probably evidence that, like most of the country, none of us had any idea what to do. Even in flyover country, there was this pervasive feeling of confusion and fear that nobody felt the need to shake. Were we in any immediate danger, in our small Midwestern town? Probably not. But somewhere in America, people were being murdered, and we felt their fear just as acutely as someone in a more targetable city.
Last year, as I sat in my comfortable office and watched the embassy in Benghazi burn, that fear returned. It was deeper this time; maybe it was because I was older, or because I understood what those flames meant. It was in those first moments when photos of the Ambassador flashed across the screen that I knew what it meant to be afraid.
There was something so dirty about the attack on the Embassy. New York was calculation; Benghazi was the most vulgar display of violence I’d ever seen shown in prime time. The attacks on New York and DC felt directed at me only in the most abstract sense; Benghazi felt personal. Benghazi embodied a global moment of pure, unadulterated hatred that even the shock-jocks in the media refused to acknowledge.
After the towers fell, no one had the audacity to stand in front of a camera and tell the American people that there was no need to worry. No one blamed a video. No one treated the deaths of so many innocents as collateral damage. After Benghazi, though, I’d never seen so many people try so hard to convince me that international acts of animalistic brutality were inconsequential compared to competing discussions on birth control.
For the past year, I’ve been trying to figure out why, when asked, I’ll always say Benghazi had more of an impact on me. Maybe it’s because the rest of the world has been doing its best to convince me that it shouldn’t.
Today, I’ll be joining conservative activists from all over the country for Americans For Prosperity Foundation’s 2 day digital strategy blitzkrieg. In addition to attending amazing panels, I’ll be conducting interviews with the nation’s top conservatives, and providing live coverage from both RightOnline and the Defending the American Dream Summit live on (the MIGHTY) FTR Radio.
In 2008, digital outreach was big. In 2012, it was a gamechanger. It’s time for the Right to not just catch up with the online efforts of progressives, but to leave them choking on our dust. It’s time for the GOP to divorce itself from its dusty reputation and embrace this wonderful world of technology and 24/7 engagement. We can talk until we’re blue in the face about our message, our values, and our plans to return America to prosperity, but it won’t make a damn bit of difference if we’re still relying on a strategy that struggles to implement hashtags.
That’s where AFP and RightOnline comes in. This weekend, the best digital and online strategists will be gathered together in one place for a single purpose–to teach you how to kick ass online and win. There are no moral victories during election season–there are winners and there are losers, and I intend to be among the winners. Sí, se freakin’ puede.
See you all in Orlando! #tweetwemuch!
As always, AFP has been incredibly generous to me. To the incredible AFP staff, I thank you for all of your hard work. To the amazing AFP donors, thank you so much for this opportunity to learn and grow with other conservative activists.
I don’t normally stick my nose into local or district races, mostly because it conflicts with my philosophy of letting the people choose their own. damn. representatives. That being said, I do believe that the people have a right to know who they’re signing petitions against and voting for–especially when the Big Progressive Steamroller of Doom© is calling the shots.
Strategically bagging elections is sort of a thing with the left. What we saw in 2008, and again in 2012, is not a new thing. The plan they’re working with now is a plan decades in the making, and the GOP has a long way to go if we expect to even attempt to catch up with the progressive freak parade. This plan–known as The Colorado Model (go read this article RIGHT NOW)–is fairly simple, and being deployed with panache all over the country:
Eric O’Keefe, chairman of the conservative Sam Adams Alliance in Chicago, says there are seven “capacities” that are required to drive a successful political strategy and keep it on offense:  the capacity to generate intellectual ammunition,  to pursue investigations,  to mobilize for elections,  to fight media bias,  to pursue strategic litigation,  to train new leaders, and  to sustain a presence in the new media. Colorado liberals have now created institutions that possess all seven capacities. By working together, they generate political noise and attract press coverage. Explains Caldara, “Build an echo chamber and the media laps it up.”
Sound familiar? It should. It’s what shellacked you in the face in 2012. It’s also what’s currently threatening the political career of Maricopa County, Arizona’s embattled Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
The recall effort against Sheriff Joe Arpaio is rolling along under the banner of “Respect Arizona,” a political recall committee registered with the Maricopa County Elections Office. Their only goal is to successfully recall Joe Arpaio and replace him with someone more attractive to the progressive palate. They’ve been up and running since about three weeks after Sheriff Arpaio was reelected with 53% of the vote. Arpaio was and remains the face of Arizona’s controversial SB 1070 immigration bill, which is obviously convenient for the recall effort, considering significant portions of the bill were struck down by the Supreme Court last summer. At any rate, Respect Arizona is applying the Colorado Model to their recall effort and relying on emotional plays and token endorsements to whip up the base and create a progressive echo chamber that the GOP in Arizona is not prepared or equipped to deal with.
They succeeded in Colorado. They tried and failed in Wisconsin with the Walker recall effort. Now, Arizona is in the crosshairs, and the left is well on their way to ousting a duly elected sheriff with no current basis for the recall. They want one more bite at the apple, and they’re well on their way to getting it: as of Friday, April 5, the recall effort has over 120,000 paid petitioners on the ground, and have less than 100,000 signatures to go before the May 30th recall petition deadline.
The recall effort against Joe Arpaio is just one part of a national strategy to overwhelm the system. The left is building a template to apply on a national level, and we’re not prepared to handle it. LaborUnionReport over at RedState called it over a year ago:
On the Right, after nearly three years of being engaged in the battle to save America from tax and spend collectivists, there is still a large knowledge vacuum in the nature of the battle, the groups and strategies involved, as well as the tactics used. America is nearing the end of a century-old ideological war waged by Marxists of varying degree—an ideological war that will determine the future of America. Until such time as the Right understands that fact and begins to work together, any “victories” at the ballot box will be fleeting and, in the long run, futile.
This battle isn’t just about Sheriff Joe, or Governor Walker, or whoever the left chooses as its next target. Whether or not you support these politicians, it’s important for you to understand what’s happening: these are a series of ideological attacks waged by progressives who do not like the outcomes of elections. They know they have a better chance of winning in the courts or on the rebound, and given the chance, they’ll give it everything they’ve got.