Local or national in PA-12?

Local or national in PA-12?

Unfortunately, the debate around PA-12 seems to center around the failure of “nationalizing” the election.  This failure occurred in part because Mark Critz was able to portray himself as a moderate on issues like guns, life, and health care, and in part because Critz was able to convince voters that he would model his economic plan after the late John Murtha’s porky earmarks.  

In light of the seeming failure of a 1994-esque nationalization strategy, the advice from some corners seems to be to focus on local issues.  This addresses the problem too narrowly.  The problem is that this is a federal office, and for the most part the only “local” issues revolve around earmark spending for “jobs”.  A Republican candidate can not run in a district like PA-12 without selling the message that Congress is hurting job creation, and by challenging the premise that pork spending leads to sustainable jobs.  

As if it needed reiteration, the issue is jobs.  Given the failure of the Obama economic message in key districts, and voter focus on national issues, the question is less about whether to nationalize districts like PA-12, but how.   Why does it matter that Mark Critz won’t vote to repeal Obamacare?  Because it hurts job creation.  Why does it matter that Nancy Pelosi controls the legislative agenda?  Because everything she passes is detrimental to jobs.  Why are earmarks bad?  Because $2 million per earmark-job is too much money and hurts private sector job creation.

This is in contrast to the bad sort of nationalization.  Bad nationalization leads to fighting for the soul of the Republican party in a swing district general election.  Bad nationalization is running as a Tea Partier with a flawed Tea Party message rather than adapting the Tea Party issues to a broader language and focus.

For years, underdog candidates campaigned against John Murtha on ethical issues, his closeness to unpopular national Democratic figures like Pelosi, and idiotic remarks Murtha made about the US Marines involved in the Haditha incident.  None of it ever worked.  Murtha had Federal money for “jobs”.  Murtha even called his constituents a bunch of rednecks to no ill effect.  (How’s that for a local issue?)

Why should these tactics start working all of a sudden, now that Murtha has shuffled off this mortal coil.  Even the flawed PPP poll taken shortly before the special election showed that the Pelosi negatives were not rubbing off on Critz.  

I’ve heard political consultants say “if you’re explaining, you’re losing”.  Well, we’re not doing any explaining, and we’re losing, so best we figure out how to explain things in simple language and well chosen narratives.

The Republican messages and policies on jobs are national.  There’s no escaping this essential fact.  They need to be translated into local language.  Doing so requires challenging the premise that pork spending is a long term winner, and if there’s any cycle in which to promote that message, it’s this one.

(Cross-posted to my personal blog.)

Ladders and Lines

In reading the biography of Winston Churchill, I came across this little gem (paraphrased):  They want to give you a line where you can wait for a handout... I want to offer you a ladder so you can reach for your dreams.

With all the hope-mongerining being pushed by the left and the media, it is important to remember that at the end of the day the best that they have to offer is a spot in a line waiting for a government handout.  

For our part, too often we miss the forest for the trees.  I can't tell you have many times I have heard the same tired catch phrases in our press releases and interviews. 

  • let people keep more of what they earn
  • cut red tape and regulation
  • reduce the size of government

And if i had more time I could come up with a hundred more Republican catch phrases.  There is nothing wrong with their sentiment.  I agree with low taxes.  I agree with reducing the size and scope of government. 

The problem is that we have spent the last 4-6 years debate talking only about the means and have failed to articulate the end game.  Republicans have been talking about the specific highways they want to drive down instead of telling the American people the city where they plan on arriving. 

That said, I think Churchill's point on ladders and lines is a good starting point.  Republicans want America to be a land of opportunity.  We each person has the right of opportunity. 



Stop Talking About "Technology"

The Rebuild the Party plan has often been characterized as a way to remake the party through technology. Though we've sometimes slipped in using that word to describe certain elements of the plan -- I generally feel uncomfortable with it being pigeonholed as a "technology" plan. I've generally struck "technology" from my vocabulary, taking instead about "new media" or simply, the "Internet" or when talking about a generational shift in fundraising or a 435 district strategy, wholesale party reform. Why? Because the word "technology" reinforces old siloed habits of thinking and implies that the solution is spending money on cool tech toys, rather than a quantum shift in approach.

If there is one thing the Republican Party is actually pretty good at right now, it's investing in "technology." From Voter Vault to the tools on, the Republican Party has invested millions of dollars over the years in building the best political data-mining, microtargeting, and GOTV applications in politics.

This is vitally important. And it must continue. But the Rebuild plan focuses for the most part on something wholly different than these vital campaign technologies (where the GOP has to date held an advantage): getting the warm bodies who will actually use the technology and volunteer and donate.

The difference between the Bush '04 campaign and the Obama '08 is simple: the Obama campaign did the same thing, but with ten times more people. Technology was the instrument, but message was the impetus behind this shift.

Getting people to participate by the millions is the biggest job of the next RNC Chairman. That will require a wholesale overhaul in our message and how we communicate. First, the leadership and the grassroots will have to collaborate to shape the message. However one felt about the immigration debate, imposing change from the top as an elite project hatched at the White House was never going to fly politically. Ditto for spending, Medicare Part D, and to a lesser extent, education. The days of a leader deciding a message in a vacuum without grassroots input are over. There has got to be some buy-in from the grassroots -- or else you'll have a hollowed-out party with no boots on the ground. This is a pragmatic matter of survival as much as it is one of principle.

It also means changing our style of communication in a new era. Leaders have to be accessible, open, aggressive, and willing to throw the playbook out the window when necessary. Technology has made it easier to filter bottom-up input so that the good ideas rise to the top, so there is no excuse for at least some personal engagement with new media. Unless you're the guy with the nuclear launch codes, you're not too important to Twitter or blog at least every now and again.

Some of these reforms are substantive (changing the message) and others are meta (making people feel invested by applying a personal touch). And none of them are really dependent on technology -- I consider the Internet, blogs, Twitter, and YouTube to be media not technology per se. Here are a couple of other paradigms to think about in evaluating this fundamental shift in politics:

Role of RNC Chairman

Are we clear on the role of the RNC Chairman or does it need to be better defined? 

As a co-founder of Rebuild the Party, I’m staying neutral in the RNC Chairman race (at least for now); yet, I’m heavily invested in the process and ensuring we elect the best man for the job. 

I’m encouraged that the race for Chairman, hopefully in small part due to our efforts at Rebuild, has morphed into a more open process.  For a job as important as RNC Chairman, candidates should endure at least as stringent a job interview process as candidates for office.  In years when our Party holds the White House, we don’t have such a luxury.  In years when we get crushed, like we have the last two cycles, we do have that luxury.

Our Party is in crisis.  Let’s resort back to our Crisis Management 101 books.  Crisis is defined as a “turning point” and “danger and opportunity.”  At this turning point, we have a tremendous opportunity to leverage our best talent to revive the Party. 

RNC voting members have power, this time around, to choose who our fearless leader will be.  We all have an opportunity to use our voices, and any communication tool at our disposal, to influence the choice of the voting members.

The process for picking an RNC Chairman is crucial.  If we can agree that the RNC Chairman’s race is a job interview, then we should have a specific job description, at least as it fits each cycle, understanding that the job of Chairman with a Republican president differs from the job when there is not.  From what I can see, the only official job description of the RNC Chairman is “CEO” of the Republican National Committee.

Similar to the Vice Presidency, the RNC Chairman’s role is amorphous, so I seek to define it for the upcoming term:

1. Director of Operations at the Republican National Committee, providing guidance and leadership on message, fundraising and political strategy for the Republican Party.

2. Chief messenger of the Party, communicating the Party’s positions, ideas and opinions on current events through all media.

3. Chief fundraiser of the Party, making themselves available to headline Republican events across the country to raise money for the RNC and local Party organizations.

4. Director of Party Relationships, building and maintaining strong relationships with State Party leaders, allied 3rd party groups, issue groups, demographic groups and niche “wing of the party” groups.

What is not included in the job description as Kathryn Jean Lopez touches on (and I’ve been musing about):

1. Chief Policy Advisor for the Republican Party

2. Chief Agenda Setter for the Republican Party

This is not to say that showing leadership on issues, and robust knowledge on tax, energy, health care, and [name that issue] policy, is not a plus.  It is.  But I think we need to take care to frame the RNC Chairman’s job for what it should be, unless I’m totally off base and we expect a Chairman to be what we want in a 2012 presidential candidate.

I’m interested in your thoughts.  

Message Planning 2.0: Using High School Debate Strategies for Political Campaigns

BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: Future campaigns can no longer afford to just find the right phrases. We have to find the right arguments and the right way to communicate them.

Lately, a lot of the discussion has rightfully centered on policy. Earlier, Jon Henke asked us to consider what policies we should advocate and support. I've spent some time outlining a theme for a new set of items we can go forward with: the Agenda of Equal Opportunity. Although I would much rather talk about substance than rhetoric, I wanted to take a break from the policy discussion and discuss campaign messaging.

Max Borders has a quite comprehensive four part series on the "Art of Persuasion," analyzing the importance of merging rational policy discussion with critical ideas in communication: emotional wedges, metaphors & models, typology and imagery. What also caught my attention was a December 15 Roll Call op-ed from pollster David Winston, responding to fellow pollster Stuart Rothenberg, rejecting attack-based campaigns:

The truth is, voters don’t want to hear why the other guy is bad. They want to know why you are a better choice. People want hear how candidates will govern, how they will solve problems and what they really stand for.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) put it this way: “Wal-Mart doesn’t get ahead by attacking Sears but by offering better value.” In the past two elections, Republicans failed to win over voters because they failed to tell them how they would address their concerns.

The GOP has spent the past 10 years and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to drive up Democrats’ negatives. Sometimes they succeeded, but rather than solidifying the GOP’s majority coalition, over time, this self-defeating strategy made it permanently vulnerable. Republicans found themselves with razor-thin victories, no mandate to govern and growing unfavorable ratings.

Don't get me wrong. There is still value in opposition research and compare-contrast messaging. But Winston is right in that a campaign's opposition, or attacks on an opposition, can't be the foundation of a campaign's message. In fact, an attack-based campaign is really a campaign that's playing defense instead of offense. This seems counter-intuitive, but the reality is that campaigns founded on attacking their opponents means that they either have nearly nothing substantive to say about their guy, or their opponent's message is better at resonating with voters. Or both.

The extension of Winston's point is this: campaigns (and candidates) can tend to get too intellectual or quite anti-intellectual, and the GOP's problem in the past few cycles has been the latter. Campaigns need to formulate and execute a messaging strategy that's not ten steps below the voter nor ten steps ahead of the voter. Rather, campaigns need to outline a substantive agenda, and find a way to communicate that agenda that's only one step above the voter.

In an earlier post, I briefly went over some "Rules of Debate," describing my time as volunteer debate coach at a local high school in Alaska. (I debated in high school and college as well. Yes, I'm a nerd.) I taught my students that in any debate of any format, great substance always has to come before great style. Great style should never make bad substance good, but it can greatly enhance good substance. Let's go over some pointers that I've previously given to my debate students and see how they can apply to campaign messaging. (Continue reading below the fold.)

Disclaimer: I don't intend on this post being some sort of cookie-cutter strategy. I know that messaging depends on the audience and that all politics is truly local. This is why voter indentification, voter persuasion and GOTV efforts need to be integrated now more than ever.

The Art of Persuasion No. 4 : Image, Symbol, & Icon

Images can be powerful. Pictures can certainly communicate more than words and words can evoke mental images, even without pictures. In the freedom movement, we should not be reluctant to use imagery—as well as symbols and icons. Not only can images evoke feelings, they can be used as mnemonic cues, branding devices and visual motifs. We overlook them at our peril. Whether or not you agree with the war in Iraq, is this not powerful? What about this? Now, how do you find images that capture your message? Sometimes they’re not Google-able. Sometimes you have to write your own images. LIke so:

Tooth decay begins, typically, when debris becomes trapped between the teeth and along the ridges and in the grooves of the molars. The food rots. It becomes colonized with bacteria. The bacteria feeds off sugars in the mouth and forms an acid that begins to eat away at the enamel of the teeth. Slowly, the bacteria works its way through to the dentin, the inner structure, and from there the cavity begins to blossom three-dimensionally, spreading inward and sideways. When the decay reaches the pulp tissue, the blood vessels, and the nerves that serve the tooth, the pain starts—an insistent throbbing. The tooth turns brown. It begins to lose its hard structure, to the point where a dentist can reach into a cavity with a hand instrument and scoop out the decay. At the base of the tooth, the bacteria mineralizes into tartar, which begins to irritate the gums. They become puffy and bright red and start to recede, leaving more and more of the tooth's root exposed. When the infection works its way down to the bone, the structure holding the tooth in begins to collapse altogether....People without health insurance have bad teeth because, if you're paying for everything out of your own pocket, going to the dentist for a checkup seems like a luxury. It isn't, of course. The loss of teeth makes eating fresh fruits and vegetables difficult, and a diet heavy in soft, processed foods exacerbates more serious health problems, like diabetes. The pain of tooth decay leads many people to use alcohol as a salve. And those struggling to get ahead in the job market quickly find that the unsightliness of bad teeth, and the self-consciousness that results, can become a major barrier.

(Phew. Yes it’s laid on thick.) And with it, Malcolm Gladwell writes perhaps one of the goofiest paeans to socialized medicine (at least, low copays) ever---at least from where rational argument, rigorous policy analysis and data are concerned. (More can be said about the piece as critique of “moral hazard,” a concept he clearly doesn’t get… Gladwell's slipping point, perhaps? I digress).What he did well, however, was capture the reader’s attention with imagery—and a little of the ‘eeeeeeww’ factor. Both go a long way. Symbols can be powerful too. Consider the Nike swoosh, the hopeful “O” and the swastika. For whatever reason, these symbols have the ability to evoke, to inspire or to enrage. The memetics of the Freedom Movement must include images to complement our titles and tropes. Finally, what about icons? Who are the people who function as the symbols of freedom? Jefferson? MLK? Reagan? An Iraqi woman with purple-stained fingers? A Peruvian woman with legal title to her property? Better: who is the next freedom icon?


Obama for President Wasn’t a Campaign, It Was a Business

The political blogosphere is buzzing about Obama campaign manager David Plouffe’s interview. Soren Dayton argues the lessons of the Obama campaign were “budgeting, technology, field, and media,” while Patrick Ruffini finds that the important lesson is that “Obama ran a better kind of offline campaign.” Although it is quite true that these are some critical lessons, as a business nerd and student at Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business, I think there’s a massive lesson that pundits are missing: Obama for President wasn’t run like a traditional campaign, but instead like a huge corporation. I don’t believe that any campaign on this level was ever able to accomplish this with nearly the same success as Plouffe and company.

Plouffe makes this unmistakenably clear throughout his interview:

There are business analogies. One is, we’re a startup, we had to go from zero to 60 in a matter of weeks. Our company, if we were successful, would only last two years at the most. … We had over 5,000 employees… And we were an organization about accountability. Down to the entry-level staffer, we measured their job performance based on metrics.

What specific trends that the most successful modern corporations employ were echoed by the Obama campaign?

  1. “Know your customer.” I’ve probably heard this from my entrepreneurship advisor a thousand times now, but only because it is perhaps the single most important phrase in business. Obama’s campaign really knew its customers – just look at the way it outreached to young voters.
  2. A consistent message and high-impact branding. These two go hand in hand. Take Apple, a highly successful company even despite the recession, for example: they have a simple but highly memorable logo, effective messaging (i.e. “Get a Mac” ads), and a well-designed and innovative website. Barack Obama’s branding and messaging was as good as any corporation.
  3. Job performance measurement and personal accountability. Think quarterly or annual reviews at your place of work. As quoted earlier, Plouffe confirms the importance of this in the Obama campaign: “Down to the entry-level staffer, we measured their job performance based on metrics.”
  4. Fiscal accountability. Successful corporations have very specific budgets, and virtually all spending is highly scrutinized. Plouffe notes that, “People on the campaign could not make more than a certain amount—$12,000 a month… If you were a deputy you got paid X, if you were an assistant, you got paid Y… From a fiscal management standpoint, Obama was very clear that he did not want to end up with a debt in the primary or the general, so we just planned accordingly. We didn’t spend beyond our means.” (emphasis added)
  5. A willingness to take significant financial risks and depart with the norm to be on the cutting-edge. This sentiment was echoed by the Obama campaign at many levels. Team Obama got the idea of peer production, which is quickly becoming the premiere business model of leading corporations like IBM, Boeing, BMW, and Goldcorp. In addition, as Patrick and Soren point out, Obama invested the campaign’s resources in a very unique way – remember the advertisements the campaign ran on an Xbox 360 racing game?
  6. A corporate infrastructure. Since when does a political campaign have both a Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and a new media director – let alone a Chief [Anything] Officer?

In business, constant innovation is crucial. Fall behind and your competitors will likely crush you. Find a decisive edge and you stand to profit immensely. Plouffe’s comments and the results of the election demonstrate that business and politics are actually two very similar animals.

Crossposted at NextGenGOP.

The Art of Persuasion No. 1 : Emotional Wedges

In my last post (echoed by Rob Bluey here) we mentioned the so-called ‘structure of social change’ or the "political production cycle" a la Bluey. Here’s the process again: big idea, big idea passes to policy shop sausage grinder, which in turn get turned into popular messages. At the macro level, that’s the process, anyway. (I also argued that we’re stuck at the policy shop stage - think tank bubble - and have underinvested in messaging and implementation.)

But how does social change happen at the individual level? I’d argue, by in large, you have to invert the structure, i.e. reverse the process. In other words, you don’t start with big ideas for most people. You start with messages. Stark. Emotional. Once you resonate with someone emotionally, then you can begin to propose policies or offer big ideas. But the initial prick of emotion is the wedge-point upon which the rest gets built (even principles).

So, begin with emotional appeals. How do you get someone’s attention? Narratives, images, stories of real people with real feelings and vaguaries like ‘change’. Emotion. Consider the following two narratives:

- More than 140,000 people died in the bombing of Hiroshima during WW II.

- Elizabeth White is only three years old. Yesterday, her father held her wrist firmly against the kitchen table and hit her fingers one-by-one with a hammer.

Which one has more rational gravity? Okay. Which one has emotional gravity? Emotional gravity almost always wins.

The Left figured this out a long time ago. That’s why everything goes back to “the children.” Think of the global warming commercial with the kid on the train tracks—engine bearing down. Think of the piecemeal regulation and socialization of healthcare (they started with SCHIP, children’s Medicaid). How can you deny any child healthcare?

Of course, we prefer the rational argument. Yes, we feel. But we subordinate our emotions to wider considerations. (Lefties tend to emote first and rationalize ex post.) We should all hope to engage in rational discourse. But the left has abandoned this tack in exchange for ad misericordiam fallacy as tactic. It’s cheating, yes—well, if your standards of discourse come from a logic textbook. But in the marketplace of ideas, we have to sling all sorts of hash. Tit. For. Tat. So that means the Freedom Movement has to take up similar arms. Find the nerve. Strike it. Rational arguments and big ideas come later. (But if you’re going to do it, do it well.)

For example, libertarians try to explain the concept of “concentrated benefits and dispersed costs” when it comes to wasteful government expenditures and other lefty fetishes like light rail. Reasonable criticism to be sure. But most people don’t get it. Why not start with emotion? For example:

Rhonda Smith is struggling to make ends meet. But new regressive rail taxes mean she’ll pay $X more per year for a boondoggle she’ll probably never ride. New taxes rip off the poorest people in our community so wealthy commuters can ride overpriced trains (because they refuse to take buses). Shouldn't we be protecting people like Rhonda? So much for "progressive."

Okay, so maybe there are better examples. Criticize by creating.

Peer Production and the Future of the Republican Party: An Open Letter to the Next RNC Chairman

This letter was written as a follow-up to some points I raised about idea creation for the GOP in an earlier blog post.

To the future chairman of the Republican National Committee,

We face a tough road over the coming days, months, and years as we work to transform the Republican Party into the party of the future so that we can recover from this year’s devastating losses in the House, Senate, and ultimately, White House. The path ahead will be a challenging one, but I am convinced that we are up to the challenge and that ultimately we will prevail.

In order to do this, however, we must recognize as a party that many of the ways of the past are no longer the way of the future. For example, Barack Obama has proven that new media and the Internet are essential to winning elections. Similarly, we now see that we must be able to raise a large percentage of money and build a powerful infrastructure online.

Following this logic, we also need to realize that peer production is the way of the future – not just in politics or business, but in all walks of life. At a macro level, this means that we must democratize the Republican Party by opening it to mass collaboration. If the Republican Party wants to be the party of the future, it must adopt this sort of collaboration driven, peer production based model.

Indeed, peer production has proven enormously and unequivocally successful as a business model. Corporations are scrambling to replicate the impeccable successes of companies like Goldcorp, Inc., who in 1999 was on the verge of bankruptcy because it was unable to locate sources of gold on its property. Out of desperation, CEO Rob McEwen issued the “Goldcorp Challenge,” inviting anyone and everyone to help the company locate gold on its campus. The success was astounding: due to peer production, Goldcorp went from being an underperforming $100 million company to a $9 billion juggernaut. Many other leading companies, including IBM, Boeing, and Procter & Gamble have adopted peer production as a central component of their business model to similarly resounding success. Although political trends tend to lag behind business trends, peer production is clearly one trend in which we cannot afford to fall behind.

In fact, Barack Obama’s electoral success was not really due to his use of the Internet. Rather, the Internet only served as the medium through which Obama’s volunteers and supporters could peer produce. In the end, it was the Obama campaign’s understanding of the necessity of utilizing peer production and its ability to do so that fueled his victory. was immensely successful in doing this, resulting in his supporters peer producing 200,000 offline events, 400,000 blog posts, 3 million phone calls, and $500 million. Everything at MyBarackObama made it unambiguously clear: “This campaign is about you.”

Democrats, following in the footsteps of countless successful corporations, are going to continue to use this model in 2010 and beyond because it is a proven winner. Accordingly, this begs the question: are we going to do the same? Please, Mr. Chairman, let the answer be an unmistakable, “Yes!”

Which Comes First - Ideas or the Message?

I've read a lot of discussion on this blog and many other over the "failings" of the party and what we must do to rebuild.  The Washington Post today ran a feature story on the Rebuild the Party effort and talked a lot about the effort to get the GOP to take seriously our deficiency in online organization and mobilization.

Much of the Rebuild the Party discussion has focused on the three things Patrick lined out in his post today - infrastructure, message and leadership.  It has troubled me that one thing has been missing, but I couldn't quite put a finger on what that was. 

Fortunately, another Washington publication caught the omission for me.

They can't quite get to policy disputes or serious analysis, because they're too busy mulling over the implications of liberals joining forces with Islamofascists, the United Nations, and Mexican immigrants to execute some kind of nefarious plot.

Worse, Kevin noted that when these blogs do consider key policies, such as global warming and growing income inequality, they tend to believe the problems don't exist.

While written with the harsh lefty tilt you've come to expect online, there is a serious point built into that shot.

Republicans continue to be against things.  We're against serious exploration of alternative fuels simply because it conforms to our messaging that global warming is caused by trees, cow farts, etc, or because we simply refuse to acknowledge environmental concerns. 

But where is the harm in moving beyond that discussion and into a serious conversation about other alternatives simply because it may improve a) our economy b) our position as innovators in the world or c) our quality of life? 

We have, in short, become reactionary.  Most of the discussion of "honing our message" is still aimed at reframing the ideology/theology of the past rather than having serious discussions of the future.  We're focused on the message, but not the ideas behind it.

Why not embrace the environment as a message, but distance ourselves from government mandates as the answer. 

Whether true or not, the perception of the environment is that something must be done to "fix" it.  By denying that, we have framed the debate as a choice between the government must do something to address it, or we simply do nothing.

There is a third, and more politically profitable alternative.  We can make this a referendum on how government must address the issue. The GOP should engage in debate over "going green" not in the context of stopping global warming, but in the context of supporting new technologies and businesses.

Take, for instance, FuelMaker Corporation. This is a company that seeks to address the distribution problem of alternative fuels by creating a fuel distribution system in your home. Installation of a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling system in your home would enable you to skip the gas station and have a permanent refueling option in your home.

The GOP should propose tax credits for investment in such a refueling system and cars (or conversion of cars) that run on CNG.  Such a move would combine our support of lower taxes with a recognition that green technologies aren't a bad thing.  We would reverse our identity as a party that supports dirty fuels to one that supports clean fuels and co-opt the eco-issues purely as a business move - rather than "having to cave" on global warming.

If our fight with the Democrats shifts from a question of whether global warming exists to one of who is more serious about investment in green technologies, we win back turf that we have given up.  What's more, we win it back in a "smart government" or "pro-innovation" context.

You could make the same argument for home installation of wind/solar systems.  You can still support coal/nuclear/oil, but still embrace other forms of energy.

This would also extend to using the power of government - such as it is - to guide investment into quality of life issues from a pro-capitalist perspective.  We should not view our ideas through the prism of "us versus the Democrats." What we must do, is explore the issues that resonate with the people (and the environment is only one) and engage in discourse based on an approach that favors putting people, innovation, and yes, even business first.

My grandmother used to describe people as "again'ers".  They were the people who were against everything.  That's what we have become.  We need to engage in healthy debate and reinvest in our intellectual capacity as much as we must invest in our Internet organization and the semantics we use.

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