By Louis Avallone
It may have been the least watched State of the Union address since President Clinton’s, back in 2000, but for those listening to President Obama last month, it may have been the most important State of the Union address of his presidency, especially for the almost 66 percent of Americans who feel that our country is heading down the wrong path.
Here’s what I mean: The 2012 Presidential election was won using a strategy of distraction, diversion and division, and there may not be a more convenient and illustrative representation of the Democrat Party’s intentions to repeat this strategy for the 2014 elections, than listening to last month’s State of the Union address.
And while we all know the outcome of their winning strategy for the White House in 2012, we likewise can predict ours, unless we make changes – and make them now. And here’s how we can start:
First, conservatives must not allow themselves to be distracted from focusing on the core values upon which this country was founded. This will not be easy because we’re all naturally inclined to react with a laundry list of counterpoints, trying to convince less enlightened and liberal friends and family that they are simply off their rockers, when it comes to politics.
Democrats already understand the futility in doing this. They’ve learned the Pareto principle and know that 80 percent of their success comes from communicating with 20 percent of their constituency. They don’t waste their time and resources on attempting to convince conservatives that their liberal leaning policies are the bees knees.
Resisting the liberals’ attempts to distract Americans, and divert our attention from what’s most important, however, is not an easy task.
It takes willpower to maintain self-control when the President knows that 5 million Americans have had their health insurance policies cancelled as a result of his own administration’s policies, and yet he still takes credit, in stump speech after stump speech, for “fixing” the very health care system that he has made worse, not better.
It takes willpower to calmly listen to his administration’s concern for growing the middle class, when the rich-poor gap, during his administration, has expanded to a disparity not seen since the Great Depression, especially when you consider that Democrats have controlled the Senate since his inauguration.
It takes willpower to remain focused on what’s really happening to our nation, when he speaks of Al-Quaida being “on the run,” even as his administration’s National Intelligence director said last month that the threat is not “any less” from the terror network than it was a decade ago.
We could go on and on, from immigration to unemployment, but it all takes willpower to remain focused on what’s most important for our country, and not be distracted by the politics of those more concerned with themselves. When our willpower is depleted, so is our focus, and the politics of distraction rule the day. A good example is how lots of conservative-minded Americans felt following the 2012 Presidential election – they were just plain worn out.
Democrats remember this, and from listening to last month’s State of the Union address, they are calling up the same play for the 2014 elections.
But even if conservatives are focused (and rested), our message must be clear. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans feel that the Party must do a better job of communicating their “why,” or their passion, or their values.
Maybe conservatives, as former Congressman Arthur Davis put it, are “better at talking to each other,” than talking to people who are still not yet sure what they believe in. And maybe that’s because conservatives are not winning any hearts and minds when they are so frantically “counter-punching” every political distraction and diversion thrown by the Democrats, whether during a State of the Union or on the stump, or through the multitude of writers and reporters who seemingly amplify the confusion.
As Republicans in this election year, we need to do just one thing, better than anyone else, to be successful in 2014: Simply talk relentlessly about the American values upon which our nation was founded, and refrain from the kindergarten-like, “I know you are, but what am I” dialogue with Democrats. And we can apply the Pareto principle, as well, focusing our energies in the areas where we can make the most difference. We must remain rested and ready, This is easier said than done, especially when you cross that line and start shouting at the television, awakening the neighbors, and wondering why other folks don’t seem to get it. Simply put, we have to stop reacting, and start acting on what’s most important to us. After all, if every Democrat distraction is important, then how can anything be important at all?