by Guest Blogger Jesse Hendrix
It goes against my nature to try to help Republicans, but I’m starting to feel sorry for them. They were so proud of the shutdown, and the whole thing just blew up in their faces. They’re kind of like children who just wanted to make breakfast for mom and are then left wondering why everyone is shouting about the waffle in the blue-ray player and the juice in the toaster.
While many liberals are enjoying the GOP’s self-destruction the simple fact of the matter is that our democracy requires at least two sane parties to run. In the interest of avoiding future disasters, I’m offering five simple rules to save the Republicans from themselves.
Rule 1. Whatever it is, it’s not the end of the world.
When you preach Armageddon and it doesn’t happen people tend to stop listening. Take Obamacare. Your side has been saying it’s going to wipe out the economy and kill everyone’s grandma. As you can see, that’s not happening. At all. If instead you said, “Obamacare has some good ideas and some flaws, here are our ideas on fixing the flaws,” you would have been participants in a real debate. You would get to say “I told you so” on the failures and take partial credit for the successes. Instead, you’re the boy who cried wolf.
Rule 2. Google is your friend.
While preparing any kind of speech or statement, do a quick search to make sure that what you’re saying is (A) Grounded in reality; (B) Won’t offend an entire ethnic/religious group; and (C) Doesn’t contradict something you said yesterday. If you are going to contradict yourself, be sure to mention the new information that caused you to change your mind.
Rule 3. Ignore the voices in other people’s heads.
In other words, stop listening to the crazy wing of the party. They’re not helping. Any plan based on the assumption that we are in the End Times is a bad plan. Any plan supported by someone waving a confederate flag or a picture of Obama with a Hitler ‘stash is a really, really bad plan. Treat these people the way Democrats treat people who think Bush is a reptilian who ordered the 9/11 attacks. Thank them for their support, and back away slowly.
Rule 4. Solutions are not the problem.
Believe it or not, Republicans used to have the government do things, and some of those things turned out pretty good. Interstate highways come to mind. But today’s so-called conservatives have decided that small government means inactive government.
Let’s use climate change as an example. Right now Democrats say, “Fight Climate Change through EPA regulations” and Republicans say “Climate change doesn’t exist.” Right now droughts and extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and 95% of climate scientists say we really need to stop emitting so much CO2. This is not going to end well for the deniers. Instead of denying the problem, give us your own solution. How about tax breaks for companies that reduce emissions? You love tax breaks for companies! Or how about Cap and Trade, that’s a free market idea right there. Suddenly you’re part of the solution instead of part of the problem.
Rule 5. Think outside the bubble.
Let’s do a quick experiment. Raise your hand if you went into Election Day 2012 thinking that Mitt Romney was going to win. Keep it up if you thought the shutdown had a chance of derailing Obamacare. Now lower your hand if you regularly get news from a source other than Fox, Talk Radio, or similarly aligned web sites. I’ll bet that anyone who raised their hand in the first place still has it up. That’s the right-wing information bubble in action. When you only listen to people who agree with you you’ll lose sight of what’s really going on.
Now, this isn’t just a right-wing problem. Liberals have their own bubble to deal with. The difference is that the left-wing bubble contains fewer actual lies than the right wing one. This is because the conservative bubble tends to respond to bad news (for their side) with denial, while the liberal bubble responds to bad news (for their side) with panic. Neither response is exactly constructive, but at least the left knows what’s going on.
The solution here is simple. Every once in a while listen to people who disagree with you. Remember that you can question someone’s conclusions without denying their facts, and that people who have different opinions are not the enemy. You can put your hands down now.
There you have it. Five rules to get the Republicans back on track. Will they listen? Probably not, but as a liberal I have a soft spot for hopeless cases.
Jesse Hendrix writes political humor for www.stoptellingliesaboutliberals.com. If you enjoyed this piece why not put a dollar in his tip jar?