Why do Republican attacks misfire in the political arena? In 1996, political commentator and author David Horowitz asked that question and many more in a pamphlet titled It’s a War Stupid!, in which he laid out a strategic and tactical playbook on how to battle and defeat the Left. Horowitz contended that Republicans consistently do a poor and ineffective job of forwarding their agenda, especially during election time. And he observed that while “the Left is permanently at war with America,” Republicans had no plan on how to fight back.
Horowitz devoted some time reaching out to GOP leaders trying to get them to adopt his strategy. He advocated an aggressive counter attack against the Left’s “take no prisoners” onslaught against the right. Very few Republicans were willing to take his advice. In spite of significant victories in mid-term elections, Republicans remained grossly ineffective preventing the leftward surge that has culminated in an Obama administration that has been mostly successful in its mission to “fundamentally transform America.”
Perhaps that’s about to change.
The election of Donald Trump could indicate a new direction towards opposing the Democrats’ “war with America.” Part of Trump’s appeal has come from supporters who have in effect declared, “Finally, a Republican who’s willing to fight back!” It’s no secret that conservatives have been frustrated for eight years by the GOP’s lack of firm action against Democrat policies. Add to that two timid presidential candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney, and you have the makings of a voter’s rebellion against the political status quo.
Before Trump entered the scene, Republicans in Congress did little more than talk a conservative game. But when it came time for action, they backed off any bold moves in favor of a more cautious strategy that often seemed like no strategy at all. Instead, they spent much of their time trying to burnish their public image—an image that was being smeared by a hostile press, and an Obama administration bent on crushing Republican opposition. Unable to observe the obvious, Republicans in Washington failed to recognize that any attempts at compromise or capitulation were going to be lose-lose propositions.
Clearly, the Republican establishment was losing touch with their constituents. They seemed oblivious to boots-on-the-ground conservatives who were experiencing a daily barrage of liberal animosity. The hostile bullying is so commonplace that Democrats consider it the normal order of the day. They have no need to hide their contempt because there have been no consequences to worry about.
Instead of coming to the defense of these harassed conservatives, Republican leaders have preferred to back down in order to avoid “angry rhetoric” that might make them look bad. More concerned with how they’re portrayed in the press , establishment GOP bureaucrats have virtually abandoned their constituents. And all the while, no one seemed to notice that dissatisfied Republican voters were increasing in numbers, unwilling to support their docile and compliant representatives.
From day-one of the primaries, the attacks against Trump were contentious and hostile. That would be expected. The mainstream media has never been friendly to GOP candidates. Meanwhile, GOP elites were nervously wringing their hands over the negative press, as if it were something new and unique. Where had they been? Had they forgotten the harsh treatment that McCain and Romney received during their campaigns? Even Mr. Rogers would be getting flak if he were running on the GOP ticket. Unhinged liberals and their media allies would be accusing him of being a pedophile running an exclusive neighborhood filled with bigots and racists. It’s all part of the Left’s militant battleplan—one that the Republicans have been unwilling to confront head-on.
And so the war against America rages on. And it will continue for the next four years and likely beyond. There is one slight difference, however. We now have a president-elect who has demonstrated by his own example that allowing your opponents to control the conversation is a lousy strategy. Fighting back is OK. In a way it’s surprising and a little frustrating that such a revelation should take so long to emerge. It took a presidential candidate named Trump to suggest there might be a better approach. The Left has been smearing conservatives for two decades, and they certainly have no intention of stopping now. But maybe a few Republicans are finally getting it. Rather than being cowed by combative Democrats, they might try standing up to them instead. What a concept.