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Preparing Yourself for Political Battle.

September 26, 2010

Barack Obama

Between now and Election Day, each of us is likely to engage in numerous conversations with friends, relatives, and others who just happen to have a different world view than ours.  As conscientious conservatives we learn that often, when we state our position on a social or economic issue, the liberal response is a personal attack on our intelligence, sanity, or goodness.

If you have become convinced that Barack Obama is not quite up to the job as President, or if you question the fairness and effectiveness of affirmative action, you are a “racist.” If you believe the immigrants, crashing over the borders of our country, should be treated differently than those who enter our system legally then you are a “bigot”. If you just happen to possess the wild-eyed notion that physical gender is more significant than sexual preference and that, therefore, the definition of marriage should be limited to the time-tested and cross-cultural mating of man and woman, you are called a “homophobe.” And, of course, the list goes on and on.

Each of us has first hand experience with these scenarios occurring in our own lives and we observe them while watching the talking heads that appear on our television screen.  Verbal statements from self-appointed humanists, who accuse us of engaging in “hate speech,” being “mean-spirited,” or demonstrating some other sub-human behavior, is the weapon most utilized and launched by our political opponents.

By now, we should not be surprised when this leftist line of attack is used. And, assuming none of the derisive terms stated above apply to you, there is no need to feel self-conscious or to act defensively.  Below, I have listed a few retorts to the missiles launched by our antagonists. I have used each of them successfully. If not, I would never recommend them.  The common denominator was that each time I applied one of the techniques, the aggressor was thrown off-stride and became verbally incoherent and/or speechless. The push-back phrases will work for you as well.

· The Toss BackDeflect the attack
     This is the simplest technique. Just ask the other person to elaborate on the canard aimed at you. An effective phrase is “why do you say that.” This challenges your adversary to turn on his brain and to develop a rational thought. Conversely, it will provide you with the time and information you need to become grounded and thoughtful.
     This tactic is highly recommended only if you really wish to engage in an extended conversation with the other person.

· The Counter PunchDefine the meaning of the word
     When you are called any of the names, simply ask the other person to provide a definition of “racist,” “bigot,” “homophobe” etc. The last time I used this technique the attacker was unable or unwilling to provide me with her definition of the word. She said that “I was smart, and that I know what is meant by the word racist. My retort was, “I know how I define the word, but I don’t know what you mean by the term.” Rather than continue with the conversation, the individual walked away.
     The main benefit for me was that no time was spent on a useless conversation denying or defending a charge that I know is untrue. This technique is helpful in situations where the other person is highly aggressive and unlikely to listen to your point of view in an open-minded manner.
· The Ronaldus-Maximus MantraDiminish your attacker
     Some of us are old enough to remember Ronald Reagan and his initial TV debate with Jimmy Carter. He anticipated that he would be accused of being a mean-spirited man who was going to dramatically cut Medicare.   Carter continued with a broad statement that Ronald Reagan had no concern about the health of the average American citizen. Sound familiar?
     Rather than engage in a long-winded retort, Mr. Reagan stared down his opponent, cocked his head in that special manner of his, and then softly stated, “There you go again.” This simple phrase presented a calm and humorous side of candidate Reagan, paralyzed Carter, and won over the hearts of millions of Americans in a moment.
      The rationale for this technique is that when attacked in a hyper-emotional manner, it makes no sense to dignify the accusation with a response. None of us possess the skills of “The Great Communicator”. However, each of us is quite able to memorize and state his simple four-word put-down.

· The Macho-Man ResponseDeride your opponent
      Have you ever seen a boxer get punched and then smile at the opponent, mocking him to show that the hit never hurt? This is a technique you can use in a political debate.
     In response to an unfair attack, put a smile on your face. Then, to demonstrate that the person’s comments did not even touch your psyche, jab back with “is that the best you’ve got?”
      The power of this approach is that your visual and verbal statement will overwhelm the weakness of your aggressor’s attack, in the attempt to diminish you. This will deal a debilitating blow to your antagonist.
Between now and Election Day, you will have many conversations with people on the other side of the political fence. It is up to each of us to be armed with a good defense and ready for a battle of philosophies, thoughts, and words.
                                       Take a tip from the Boy Scouts; “Be Prepared!”

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. marie denz permalink
    September 26, 2010 12:03 pm

    These are excellent comebacks for an argument in a school cafeteria or in general combative conversation. However, we need comebacks that are informative responses in the following scenario. Note the article by John Fritze in USA today “In run-up to Nov., GOP unveils ‘Pledge.’ As each proposal in the Pledge is described, an analysis is offered that is a factual push-back to why the proposal will not work. What will our answer be to a D charge that allowing the purchase of health care coverage outside of one’s home state would mean trouble finding in network doctors and so in exchange for paying lower premiums, you would end up paying more out of pocket. Each Pledge proposal was countered with a reason why the GOP program would not work. We need retorts to these kinds of attacks.

    • September 26, 2010 12:22 pm

      Hi Marie:

      Thanks for your interest, your compliment, and your critical question.

      Please note that, primarily, my article was about emotional attacks.

      However, I will try to provide you with something useful.

      Our first mistake in combating the Obama health proposal was the failure to argue the “First Principle.” Simply put, health care is not a “right” and it appears no where in the Constitution. In that way, we would have put the Libs on the defensive. This, combined with the fact that over 80% are pleased with their health care situation, would have put us at a great advantage.

      Since we blew this opportunity to make them justify expanded government, it is important to push them on the defensive. Since we are out of power, it is not our responsibility to become overly detailed. The momentum on this issue is on our side. Our attack should be to challenge them to show us where this type of plan works and to point out the downsides in examples that they offer.

      Their goal has not been accepted by the public. This is a great advantage.

      You destroy the beast first. Then tell the public that our plan will not be 2,500 pages long, will not be pushed over public outcry, that we promise to present the points to the public. However, we must always state that health care is not a right and that we will modify weaknesses in the current system rather than to revolutionize something that works pretty darn well for most Americans.

      In regard to responding to specific attacks, it is always wise to remember a quotation that is attributed to a very wise man, Thomas Sowell, PhD. “There are no solutions; merely tradeoffs.”

      To go into extreme detail now would be a losing tactic of “premature elaboration.”

      I hope this helps. Let’s meet up at some Camden County GOP meeting.

      All the best,

      Stew

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