Republican North East Conference, Day 2, Afternoon
Tony Blankley’s been giving a lunchtime speech; I’ve been eating. He’s been talking organization, digital technologies, the Obamenon. One interesting point he’s made is that there’s some comparison between Reagan’s accomplishment and Obama’s. The difference about which he’s hopeful is that Reagan changed people’s minds about governing philosophy. Obama sold himself on one theme and is governing according to another.
Blankley agrees with me that self-labeled Republicans have to be careful not to go too far into the dirty politics game, offering the attack on Bill Clinton as an example. He notes that Americans don’t like it out of respect for the office. I wonder if there’s also a degree to which it makes the electorate feel foolish. The respect for the office, for example, grows out of their feeling of responsibility for putting the person in office.
Blankley: Most of the opportunity for the out of power party is the negative that the governing party is incompetent, but that that the public doesn’t like negativity. A second Contract for America would do that, but, as came up earlier, he suggests that the issues are so big and divisive, right now, that it’d be hard to enumerate them as a platform.
Ah, the perils of lingering around the edges with recording equipment: one looks like staff. Carol Mumford made sure to let me know that the ceiling was leaking in the dining area. That’s what I get for wearing my bellhop cap everywhere.
Pollster Jim McLaughlin is reviewing polling data, and he noted that more than half of the people elected in the Republican surge of the ’90s had never done politics before.
Once again, the economy leads the issues polls, over healthcare, and nobody believes Obama’s spin that “fixing” the healthcare system will help the economy. In fact, they think the current proposals will make the system worse economically and when it comes to quality.
Curt Anderson is giving a speech on strategy. He characterizes it as a recovery program: grieve, accept the problem, admit the problem, charge the hill, and look for positive way forward.
He notes that, contrary to common wisdom, money isn’t all in politics. The money backing healthcare is hugely outbalancing opposition, yet folks aren’t buying it.
Anderson: Party leadership is more important in the Northeast than elsewhere, because we’re not in an environment in which everybody agrees with us.
McLaughlin: “On the things that matter most to voters, you’ve got to have better ideas.”
Anderson: “Something has popped in the last three months.” People are suddenly caring about deficits.
Erik Wallin has taken the microphone to chastise the various Republicans who have, today, suggested the craziness of the tea party groups.
Anderson: “They’re shell-shocked in the White House,” because they’re learning that, in governance, the Big Speech doesn’t fix everything.
Three Young Republicans are talking technology Rhode Islander Ryan Neil Lund is making the excellent point that candidates have to actually be the personality behind their use of technology. That means writing the blogs, tweets, or whatever.
Yay. I got to hold my hand up as somebody under 35. Not for long, though…
While Neil tries to get the technology working to show slides, Brittny McKinney, from D.C., is explaining that young folks need excitement. Contests. T-shirts. Pizza. Not sure how far I think that actually goes.
Matthew Boucher, from Massachusetts, doesn’t think kids want to read. Everything’s got to be right up front where you can see it.
Y’know, there’s a degree to which every generation has a style, but the principles are nothing new, whether it’s online or on paper. Maybe I’m just an old conservative, but realizing that young adults are all excited to learn processes and techniques, I think what they really, really have to begin helping with is how to explain the principles — how to counter false impressions about conservatives and the apathy natural to them.
Hey, it just occurred to me that maybe the reason I find this all so obvious is that I’m still in the under-35 demographic. Next year, I’ll have to ask.