The lunar module was broken. Oxygen supply was compromised, electronics were iffy, hardly enough power to enter the atmosphere and deploy parachutes – these were just a few of the difficulties faced by the Apollo 13 team. Yet, when confronted with all these seemingly insurmountable odds, Gene Kranz faces down his team and declares “This will be our finest hour.”
2012 was not a banner year for the conservative movement. Apart from losing a Presidential election, we managed to mismanage and squander every political opportunity. From debt relief to tax reform – we just could not pull it together. Many have questioned whether the conservative movement is dead – or should be. Pundits – usually from the left or center-left – confidently declare that there is no room for the right anymore. Our core ideas have gone by the wayside – or at least that is what these folks have decided.
I disagree. I think 2013 could be a banner year for conservatives – but we do have to get our plan together.
1. Be Clear. I have presented ideas such as tax reform and immigration reform in classes I taught at a local career college. The students were what most would consider permanently in the Democrat camp. However, once conservative ideas were laid out for them, my students embraced them – simply because they made sense. The foundations of the conservative movement are limited government, low taxes, individual responsibility, state’s rights, and Constitutionalism. We need to clearly state and teach these ideas at every level. Our ideas are not rejected because people do not like what we stand for – they just do not understand what our message is. We need to change that.
2. Be Consistent. Any talk about playing with the tax code instead of completely changing it, participating in pork-bills instead of opposing them, and promising that “government can help” puts us in the liberal camp and muddies our message. We must not – ever – stray from our message.
3. Be Confident. Americans admire confidence. Why, then, do conservatives soft-peddle our message. Said with confidence and clarity, I am convinced that our steadfast determination to be the type of America that the Founding Fathers envisioned will ring true in Americans from coast to coast.
4. Be Nice. As much as we disagree with – and get riled up by – those on the left, we must not lose our cool. I constantly see references to “Obummer”, “Hussein Obama”, and other characterizations that I will not repost. We must at all times engage in respectful discussion, logical discourse, and fact-filled rhetoric. But, we must be respectful. The left can get away with all sorts of hateful personal attacks. The right cannot – so we must not.
So yes – things are looking bleak, but the fight is not over. This can be our finest hour.