Heritage President-Elect Jim DeMint. Photo: Shealah CraigheadHeritage President-Elect Jim DeMint. Photo: Shealah Craighead

Writing in the Washington Post, Heritage Foundation President-Elect Jim DeMint explains that conservatives need to refine their message in order to prevail:

One lesson I learned in marketing is that, for consumers and voters, perception is reality.

November’s election results and exit polls suggest that a majority of Americans agree that government does too much yet still voted for more of it. The election taught conservatives that we can no longer entrust political parties to carry our message.

We must take our case to the people ourselves, and we must start where all good marketing starts: with research. Conservative policies have proved their worth time and time again. If we’re not communicating in a way that makes that clear, we are doing a disservice to our fellow citizens. We need to test the market and our message to communicate more effectively.

That’s why Heritage will start this year to help the conservative movement understand how Americans from all walks of life perceive public policy issues and how to communicate conservative ideas and solutions.

Be sure to read the whole article by DeMint, who succeeds Ed Feulner as Heritage’s president in April.

What do you think? Can a more effective message allow principled conservative ideas to gain more traction?

Comments (117)

Dennis - January 12, 2013

We need to become skillful at using the new media types that enabled President Obama to win the election. The Republicans need spoke person to clearly define the benefits the of their values and policies.

Paul J. Mead - January 14, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lm1PdW3vs3o – 8)

Jan - January 14, 2013

Absolutely. It’s certainly worth a try.

Edith - January 14, 2013

I think it is not just the message but the approach. I tried to open a discussion with a neighbor who has a daughter in college and is a small business owner, claims to have voted for obama because she is a democrat “through and through”, whatever that means. She argued against voting for Romney saying she was tired of the supporters of “wealthfare”. I tried to point out the premise my family’s business used, effectively, of reinvesting our company’s profits back into the company, our profit sharing for our employees and the hiring of new employees. She became disgusted with me and stalked off. So clearly, something I said or the way I said it rubbed her the wrong way.

Robbie - January 14, 2013

An effective message combined with action instead of status quo or RINO behavior.

Patricia Kulasik - January 14, 2013

I recall getting very frustated watching Clinton verbally walk all over Bush 41 and that was the first time I noticed the Republicans do not defend themselves and spew the truth to the people. Since then, I have watched Bush 43 and Governor Romney avoid straightening out the untruths and deviations of the opposition and belly up instead. . I really think, although we feel we do not want to sink to that level, the uninformed electorate remain uninformed and are at that level..

Patricia Kulasik - January 14, 2013

Oh, of course, I need to add John McCain to the list of those who are unrealistically too nice. Maybe we wouldn’t be the mess we are in if these people had manned up when the people were paying attention.

Gary Rivord - January 14, 2013

We must find a more effective way to inform the minorities and low information people on why conservatism good for them. Must be done directly given that we have lost the mass media to the liberals. I viewed the “Lincoln” movie the other day and found it amazing that Lincoln and the conservative republicans were responsible for abolishing slavery, while the liberal democrats were strongly against freeing slaves and their human rights. Amazing how things have changed!

AJ from LA - January 14, 2013

Liberals use FEAR that their constituents will be harmed (“hostage-taking” is the latest key phrase) and RIDICULE of any opponents. Conservatives need to appeal to people who pay no attention to politics and don’t understand politics – get on the “street” and stop preaching to the choir. Town halls have all but disappeared because our own representatives don’t “need” our opinions. Elitism has no place if preservation of liberty for ALL people is our fight.

Carolyn Mitchell - January 14, 2013

The conservative message is strong but, unfortunately, is not being widely endorsed and communicated by the Republican Party and is essentially blocked by the main stream media. I agree that extensive use of internet sites and strong and credible spokespersons are the best promotions available. There are some great books written on conservative topics but must be promoted to people previously uninterested in self-edification.

Linda Martin - January 14, 2013

I had a small business for almost 30 yrs., the “message” I had to give my clients was reliably consistant, stable, openminded and reflected their needs in what I gave them. The Republicans MUST join together and show a uniformed and firm determination to defeat the take over of our country by the far left! The Establishment Republicans have to accept the Fiscally Conservative Republicans and embrace them… stoppushing them away.. if not, our country will be lost! The choice is theirs.. and will be ours come time for re-election!

Mike Keele - January 14, 2013

Tatics are everything and we are failing miserably at making the truth come to light. We are so mired in defending the second amendment that we cannot see the end-run the left are making with all their other agenda issues. It pays to own the kool aid drinking press.

David Staples - January 14, 2013

We need to expose our President, congress, and the democratic parties; policies, and constitutional neglect in how they operate and make decisions. By using conservative approaches, include, showing what our government should be, to become a strong economy, having a balanced budget, and showing to the people of the United States how the government should be taking care of our people, rather than what is happening, in allowing our peeple to become imprisioned in a dole society.
Let us be more aggressive in providing this message, ie., exposing the President and his operatives, to a real souce of a healthy, viable, economy that puts people back to work and makes the United States of America a standard to the world, in which we as a people are proud of.

scott p. keeffe - January 14, 2013

“Fiscally Responsible” ‘common sense’ individuals have become increasingly dissatisfied with the Republican Party and their constant willingness to “move left”; as if they are afraid to be honest with the American people. It is up to Heritage to ‘get the message out’ and refute the ‘Left’ with ‘facts’ whenever possible. This morning, Obama used scare tactics telling us that, if we failed to approve the rise of the dept ceiling, social security recipients and the military would not get their checks; which is bull; we would pay them first. Let’s get that message out!!!

Dennis Kuhlmann - January 14, 2013

I agree that we need conservatives to clearing define our values and principles. Then we need the couage to stand up and defend these ideas. After the election, all we hear is the Obama and liberal position that is blaming the Republicans for all our problems. I am happy to hear that Jim DeMint will work hard to market our principles.

Nelson Lazear - January 14, 2013

I do think a better message is needed; however, what was known should have been more than sufficient in my opinion to give a very different outcome from the election. It seems that the message isn’t reaching the audience or being understood. In the later case a better message would be effective but not in the former.

Harry C Halleck - January 14, 2013

Sorry to say we need to start off in 1st Grade, then in 20 years who knows!

Joe Corrao - January 14, 2013

Senator DeMint is exactly on target. Conservative values WORK! All Americans yearn for a safer, better world, a more abundant life for themselves and their families, greater economic freedom and opportunity, a society that respects each of us based on the content of our character, one that achieves security and peace abroad and at home. These are among the touchstone achievements of Conservatism; they speak to Americans’ hearts more effectively than the hackneyed cliches and outright lies of Big Government Statism. Our challenge is to craft a Conservative message that reflects data to prove its truth while speaking clearly to the hearts and aspirations of all Americans. Its not a small challenge, but its not rocket science either. Reagan did it; we can too.

LUIS CUERVO - January 14, 2013

I certainly hope that Senator’s De Mint proposal will be a good thing to do improving the catastrofic situation of the
entire Nation . Needles to say that it will require the most
complete support from Republicans and perhaps some not so Radical Democrats. However , what really is very hard for me to believe is the “ignorance , stupidity and ignorance”of a large part of the American people.
We knew to expect such behavior from Obama and his gang ; but no from our own people!! What can we do ??

George - January 14, 2013

Here is how to prevent wasteful spending.
Government’s size affects its budget requirements. Budgets set revenue requirements. Ever increasing revenue requirements force new tax increases. New taxes reduce taxpayer purchasing power. Reduced purchasing causes unemployment and business failure. Unemployment and business failures cause larger demands on our governmental social spending, which requires higher taxes, which causes… well; you get the idea… more unemployment?
The vicious circle of tax and spend spirals into collapse. We, the tax payers cannot solve the government’s revenue problem; the more government takes, the less we can spend. Governmen running the “printing presses” will fail. We will find that producers eventually won’t take our inflated money and won’t provide their goods and services. The only reason the dollar has value is that people will still give us something of value for the money; but, that support is beginning to fail.
Unless our governmental overspending stops soon, government will not be able to tax enough to even pay the interest on the debt. “Funny money” economics are sure to sink America. Over the past fifty years, most all of our political leaders have poisoned the “well” of prosperity. Governments have spent more than they can tax to do things that do not need to be done.
The bureaucratic hoards that copy, process and featherbed the business of the state require the government to extract even more taxpayer wealth. Citizens are willing to pay the price for certain government “services.” However, because government regulating and spending always add to the net cost of providing private goods and services, we cannot afford to let government take on obligations that we, should do, and can do, ourselves as individuals. As taxation climbs to the stratosphere, freedom wanes and we become slaves.
Governments’ handling of the economy has dried up capital. As government gathers up the dollars, and hoards the money, economic transactions slow. Cash flows restrict. Incomes shrink. Household bills can’t be paid. Property owners go bankrupt. Values shrink. Then the government uses our money to buy our properties that we can no longer afford to keep; even if the mortgage has been paid in full.
Can you see that; is that not a perversion of the founders’ vision of freedom? Why do we let our current political “leaders” become our slave masters?

Allen Ose - January 14, 2013

I might suggest that the private sector creates jobs and wealth. The government creates none and only survives by taking money from the private sector.

George - January 14, 2013

Here is how to prevent wasteful spending:
Government’s size affects its budget requirements. Budgets set revenue requirements. Ever increasing revenue requirements force new tax increases. New taxes reduce taxpayer purchasing power. Reduced purchasing causes unemployment and business failure. Unemployment and business failures cause larger demands on our governmental social spending, which requires higher taxes, which causes… well; you get the idea… more unemployment?
The vicious circle of tax and spend spirals into collapse. We, the tax payers cannot solve the government’s revenue problem; the more government takes, the less we can spend. Governmen running the “printing presses” will fail. We will find that producers eventually won’t take our inflated money and won’t provide their goods and services. The only reason the dollar has value is that people will still give us something of value for the money; but, that support is beginning to fail.
Unless our governmental overspending stops soon, government will not be able to tax enough to even pay the interest on the debt. “Funny money” economics are sure to sink America. Over the past fifty years, most all of our political leaders have poisoned the “well” of prosperity. Governments have spent more than they can tax to do things that do not need to be done.
The bureaucratic hoards that copy, process and featherbed the business of the state require the government to extract even more taxpayer wealth. Citizens are willing to pay the price for certain government “services.” However, because government regulating and spending always add to the net cost of providing private goods and services, we cannot afford to let government take on obligations that we, should do, and can do, ourselves as individuals. As taxation climbs to the stratosphere, freedom wanes and we become slaves.
Governments’ handling of the economy has dried up capital. As government gathers up the dollars, and hoards the money, economic transactions slow. Cash flows restrict. Incomes shrink. Household bills can’t be paid. Property owners go bankrupt. Values shrink. Then the government uses our money to buy our properties that we can no longer afford to keep; even if the mortgage has been paid in full.
Can you see that; is that not a perversion of the founders’ vision of freedom? Why do we let our current political “leaders” become our slave masters?

Rick Mac Donald - January 14, 2013

Actually we are missing the point. Only 30.7% of the eligable voters voted for Obama. Romney gathered 27.9% of those eligable voters that voted. Only 59 % of eligable voters voted! We need to point out that this WAS NOT A MANDATE! Less than 1/3 of the countries eligable voters voted for this mess. Almost 1/2 the eligable voters are “fed up”. (Data from “United States Election Project” George Mason University 12/11/2012)

Dewey Switzer - January 14, 2013

I’m not sure that “message” can change the thoughts of people that pay attention three months( at best) out of a four year cycle. It may take years of Depression (1932)or hardship to change the trend downward we are in.

Michael D Armstrong Jr - January 14, 2013

-We must find a more effective message to reach the 52% that voted for Obama. How much of the conservative message is only reaching the “chior”? I agree that the political channels for communication to the nation by conservatives are broken.
-Our focus must be how to reach the “non-conservatives and at least win an objective hearing with them.
-What if we found a way to reach the seniors who voted for Obama and convince them of conservative strategies that will actually protect their social security and medicare? Would not that block alone be enough to develop the momentum needed to chnage the next mid-term and next presidential election?

Mel Thompson - January 14, 2013

I could not agree more!! I have preached for years that reality is never about facts; it is always about perception. I think the liberals have created the perception and the conservatives have not been able to combat this for whatever reason. Perhaps it is because of the confusion in terminology, ie; Republican vs Democrat which means nothing. More appropriately we would identify progressive vs conservative but even that is confusing when we consider that Hayek labeled conservatives as liberals and vice versa. I am a firm advocate of getting to the root. Over the years we have “dumbed down” our citizens to the point that, as Rush Limbaugh says, they are “low information” voters. How sad that we allowed that to happen. As the old saying goes: ‘he who has a product to sell does not shout down a well’ and that applies to us conservatives. I think anybody who identifies themselves as conservative must put their money where their mouth is. We conservatives need to be informed, articulate and convincing. We must get to the root of why voters think and vote the way they do and then help them change their perceptions. In short, we ourselves must be educated and informed. Many of us believe the way we do instinctively. But we struggle to articulate our beliefs and therefore also struggle to defend ourselves. Enough is enough! I refuse to be labeled as radical for supporting the constitution. I refuse to be pointed to as uncaring when the opposite is true. I will not be ridiculed for standing on my principles. The United States of America raised the living standard of the entire world and I am proud of that. I still get chills when I hear the national anthem and I am unashamed for having tears in my eyes because I am proud to be an American. The Jim Demint article was very well done and expressed what so many of us believe but have a hard time expressing. If this is the future of the Heritage Foundation then count me in!!

Greg Garrett - January 14, 2013

I think it is the message and the approach; the message because educated young people have been throughly indoctrinated after 16 to 20+ years with liberal ideas. Liberals ‘own’ all social programs including education from age 2 until graduation. It has taken them almost a generation but they did it. Part of the liberal message is things young people want to hear; such as it’s okay to have sex with whoever, as evidenced by free birth control and free abortions. Youngs are naturally rebellious. The liberal icing on that cake is almost a free ride with student loans. It is very hard to discuss against Obama with any of them. They say he’s the ‘greatest ever”.

And it’s the approach for the reasons everybody is talking about; social media, loudness quotient, etc. But you have to add the government controlled media. No matter what your message, one news channel cannot win over NBC CBS ABC, and since they are not a ‘free press’ the facts are not getting out. They spew a canned party line they can all celebrate, even if it’s not the truth. If we want our conservative nation back, start today with one school. Instill the values of a free conservative society and when that school is won, move to to the next one. It took almost 50 years for us to lose our beloved nation, and it will take 50 to win it back.

dick - January 14, 2013

our message has to start with VALUES and PRINCIPLES. A person who has neither will believe anything, and do anything to support his position. if we can sell the former we will change the CULTURE in America. only then can we hope to unravel 100 yrs of Progressive’s damage to our Constitution. BTW, the 2nd Amendment enshrines a PRINCIPLE; the RIGHT to defend yourself against TYRANNY. Read Judge Napolitano’s spirited defense of same.

Keith Castan - January 14, 2013

MARKETING the FOUNDING PRINCIPLES of the United States? How depressing to think we need to “market” FREEDOM!

However, the reality of this world is propaganda and the Statists in this world and in America have completely controlled the message. They are also very successful at framing every argument giving them the leg up. They deal in emotion and when that fails they deal in character assassination and bigger lies. A little bribery from the public coffers does not hurt either.

Have you noticed our so called entertainment? There is barely a movie out there that does not have a reference to class warfare, climate change, social justice, or something from the list of Statist sanctioned causes. The propaganda is everywhere.

Tell me how you win, even when your message is FREEDOM, when propaganda from the left hits U.S. at all ages and from all quarters?

This is a dirty game that so far is resulting in a rapid regressive slide toward total government. Just ask Obama how his fundamental transformation is working out. We will not have to worry about Obama and a third term. If things keep going the way they are he will become dictator for life. Move over FDR.

I agree with the comments about Republicans. Too many of them are statists and too many of those who are not have proved to be incapable of standing on principle. Compromise can apply to procedure but it becomes CAPITULATION when you give up your principles.

PRINCIPLE IS KEY. If you believe in and stand by your principles your message can be clearer and much more powerful.

The message, of our FREEDOM, needs to get out the very first day of school. It needs to resonate in our homes, on the radio, TV, and in our papers. We do not need a snappy catch phrase we need to make the FREE PRESS FREE AGAIN.

Paul Wilson - January 14, 2013

Yes, we need to communicate our message better. Republicans cannot do it.

Paul - January 14, 2013

A good first step. This isn’t rocket science. The next is how to effectively communicate. certainly can’t count on the corrupt media we currently have.

Mary Schiefer - January 14, 2013

Use the next 2 yrs flooding ads on these stations. Reid standing on top of 32 house bills withe Ryan budget bill gripPed tightly in his hands with words to the effect that he refuses to let his fellow Senators even look at them, or in away on loaded with bills driving over the cliff . Or the death panel in alocked room discussing why granny won’t have stents with words like “we cut her dollars and gave it to midi aid,she and her family paid that Monet, too bad besides she’s so old. It’s not worth spending on her. man swimming from Mex to TX and unwrapping a prayer rug to ask Allah to give him the chance to use that bomb he has placed on the prayer rug. Seriries of spots where real people have used their guns during break ins to save their children’s lives.

Robert Christie - January 14, 2013

It’s beyond my comprehension how we let the liberals frame the debates and choose the words. There is so much power in a word that can profoundly influence the impact and meaning of the message. For instance, why do we let them refer to the wealthiest among us as ‘the rich’ instead of ‘the successful’ is beyond me. And about the ‘fair share’ propaganda, another area where we’ve given up the message. We’ve had a progressive income tax system in place for as long as I can remember. GE is ‘rich’ yet didn’t pay any taxes. We let this administration raise It’s beyond my comprehension how we let the liberals frame the debates and choose the words. There is so much power in a word that can profoundly influence the impact and meaning of the message. For instance, why do we let them refer to the wealthiest among us as ‘the rich’ instead of ‘the successful’ is beyond me. And about the ‘fair share’ propaganda, another area where we’ve given up the message. We’ve had a progressive income tax system in place for as long as I can the tax rate on ‘the rich’ instead of doing the right thing and go after the loopholes that GE and others use naively thinking it was either or, not both! We get outmaneuvered at every turn. When will it ever end!!!

Mel Thompson - January 14, 2013

I just read all the above comments. I think they are all thoughtful and offer insight into what we need to do. I would just caution that identifying Republicans vs Democrats is a mistake. This struggle is not and never has been about Republican vs Democrats. For example; Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were republican and democrat respectively but both were progressives and therefore closer in political beliefs than, say, Roosevelt and Reagan or Franklin Roosevelt and Truman who were of the same party. JFK was further to the right than Richard Nixon in my opinion. So be careful in identifying our struggle as between Republicans and Democrats. When you say the Republican party must do this or that or the other I assure you they will not. They are as much in the trough as the Democrats. The difference ultimately is between those who believe in expanded government vs those who believe in less government and those who believe in traditional values vs those who do not. And so as conservatives our first task is to identify the opponent and the goal. What is it we believe in, what is it we will sacrifice for and what is it we want to leave our kids as a legacy? Next is how do we educate, communicate and convince? That is the challenge.

Chuck - January 14, 2013

We need to retool both our methods and our message. A lot of folks today live in fear of their economic future. This, at a time when very rich people are celebrated – just watch all the award shows for the entertainment industry.
These are folks that believe they are in “survival mode”. This does not mean to them that they are only fearful of not having a roof over their head and food on the table, and health care but they will not have cable TV, internet connection, cell phone, video games and all the other “necessities” of modern life.
When conservatives talk about “smaller government”, what they hear is that more of these necessities are going to become out of reach. They “know” that the “little people” are going to take the brunt of conservative policies.
Until we quit scaring these folks half to death the conservative message will fall on deaf ears. Why would anyone vote for a system if they see a possibility of themselves sitting home in a freezing house staring at a blank wall because they have can’t afford gas for their car as on outcome of those policies..

vap - January 14, 2013

I agree. We must know what we believe and support each other. Go back to the voters. We need to get out of the middle and lean conservative. The middle confuses people. We need to be bold. We need to discuss openly our thoughts and then be kind but firm in our approach to all. We need to smile more.

Stu McKee - January 14, 2013

Churchill, certainly no economist, once said “Poor people don’t hire anybody”and while possibly today politically incorrect this is a terse economic statement that prompts conversation. Since economics is the dismal science
and difficult to explain and will not be even broached by
the media, why not develop a series of brief statements
of fact that may peak the interest of the public to maybe
look further than the news or Obama press conferences. Further facts backing up and explaining the comment would be available.
Example: Where does the government’s money come
from? Who can spend your money better you or
the government? Poor people don’t hire anybody.
I’ll bet your staff and contributors could come up with dozens of these. Long or academic pieces will not reach todays
voters who who are more interested in telling every
one on Facebook about themselves. Possibly short
provacative statements followed by facts would generate
some education.

Lindsay Stevens - January 14, 2013

Of course it will! This has been the failure of the Republican/Conservative effort to date. I’d be interested in hearing what meassage you think should be sent and how you plan to get it out there. It will take way more than your efforts alone to make this happen. The message must be carefully crafted and then promoted by every single conservative person available.

Lisa - January 14, 2013

ANY message would be better than what we have gotten thus far. I firmly believe that one of the mains reason we lost the election is because the Republican party did a poor job illustrating to the American public what the President and the Democrat party were doing to this country and the economy. Even now the Democrats are defining the Republican party. The Republican party won’t gain anymore traction unless they get together and clarify what their principles are. I don’t think they even know anymore.

Sharon - January 14, 2013

I don’t care what the message is, it won’t be effective or even heard until you figure a way around the left leaning news media. Just how are you going to reach the low information voter?

Brent - January 14, 2013

This is really simple. Illustrate by real-life example that
virtually every last one of us in this country are hard line
conservatives but for the unearned guilt that the media, left wing
do-gooders, and even some churches have saddled us with since the
civil rights movement’s far more legitimate claims on our
consciences. Ask a few dozen questions requiring a personal,
candid, response such as, “When approached by a stranger for money,
do you have any tendency to assess his worthiness or do you gladly
give unquestionably?” If a well-dressed stranger asked you for
money “for the poor or homeless” would you want to ask how the
money is to be used – and would you at least prefer some
accountability?” If you were asked to contribute to retribution to
Native Americans or “African-Americans” (why are there no
“African-Canadians” or “Afro-Brits” by the way) would you honestly
feel any legitimate guilt for anything you have personally done to
warrant your participation? (Can you say “taxes,” “racial and
sexual preferences,” and the like?) Aside from laboring under the
decades-old burden of mass-society guilt to which you didn’t
contribute. Much of the hypocrisy of the left and self-indulgent
college youth has everything to do with this personal disconnect
between the views of the enlightened elite and private lives of
individuals. Much of the remaining divide has to do with the notion
that human behavior, just like medical breakthroughs, airline
punctuality, and every other vagary around us, is ultimately
perfectible if the enlightened only guide us more thoroughly and
enough of other people’s money is thrown at the problem, or more
regulation is imposed to force perfection. I believe the first
steps should be to confront head-on entire “third rail” populations
with these challenges in a non-threatening way. We’ll find common
ground among a huge portion of principled blacks and Hispanics.
Urge them to answer these questions in the privacy of their own
hearts, revealing nothing to the questioner or even family members.
At least until they experience a real sense of liberation and are
willing to challenge the imposition of rules and taxes which, in
their heart of hearts, they don’t truly believe in.

Bill - January 14, 2013

See Frank Luntz’ article in the 1/13/13 Washington Post on how Republicans tend to use the wrong language when communicating their ideas such as:
– Instead of asking whether the wealthy should pay more, ask should Washinton take more?
– Are we in this mess because Wahsington takes too little of your money or be cause it wastes too much?
– Instead of expressing disdain for America becoming a food stamp nation, talk about how how hard work, personal responsiblity and earned success are better than government dependency.
-Instead of talking about smaller government, talk about more effeicient and effective government.
– Instead of tax reform, talk about making IRS code simpler, flatter and fairer.
– In addition to talking about cutting spending, talk about controlling it.
– Instead of entitlement reform, talk about saving and strengthening these programs.

Charles - January 14, 2013

Both the message and approach are critical, with communication directly to the people and less reliance on old school politicians a sound idea but extremely difficult to accomplish. I also believe we should focus on key priorities in the message, like personal liberties, fiscal responsibility in government, and absolute pro-business legislation. While traditionally conservative ideas, I personally believe a more thrifty approach to defense spending and a foreign policy with less U.S. involvement abroad is appropriate in these times. Additionally, I could almost care less about a number of social issues such as gay rights or same-sex marriage which unfortunately become divisive issues between parties. With regard to the latter, I know what I believe in, will live my life accordingly and (within reason) have no desire to impose my standards on others, especially at the cost of otherwise conservative leadership.

Brian - January 14, 2013

We do need a more effective message and people that can carry the conservative ideas to the public.

John D. Watts - January 14, 2013

Unity is the one strength the conservative movement does not have, each faction chasing a worth goal, but with a diluting effect on the electorate. Whereas the wild combination of radicals operating under the community organizer cooperated closely. We should push only one plank, The US Constitution, so each conservative faction will be able to pursue their own plank after each election.

Nancy - January 14, 2013

This email message could not have come at a better time as I have been feeling quite disillusioned by the GOP and the politicians failure to have effective messaging. Just this morning on FOX and Friends they interviewed Frank Luntz on how the GOP can change their messaging. I recommend that Heritage consult with him on marketing and messaging. He had some good suggestions on how to better phrase conservative goals without making it seem that we are only protecting the “weathly”.

Tom Paulus - January 14, 2013

Problems-multiple: We rightly oppose Obamacare, want to throw it all out, do not say there are any good parts, and there are.Translation-Dems will solve the health insurance problem, we don’t care. We rightly want to cut spending, do a really lousy job of explaining where. Translation – Dems will keep their welfare check and Medicaid. We rightly want to reform Medicare, not near enough explanation about how.Translation – Dems will save Medicare,we don’t care about it. I could go on, but that is the drift, but there are ways to make our case more effectively that even the so-called “low info” voters can understand – will take a major, major PR campaign!!

James Butterworth - January 14, 2013

Clear messaging delivered directly to “the target market”
is absolutely necessary. The current Republican party (I am a
life-long Republican) cannot/will not deliver resonant messages on
governing and returning America to greatness. As to the target
market, we must understand why ~ 50% want the “free stuff” vs.
liberty, freedom, government not by the constitution and a
second-rate America. For the 30 somethings, we must understand why
freedom, liberty and keeping America the leading country in the
world is not important.

Walt and Jackie Kowalski - January 14, 2013

Absolutely we need new messages. Dennis, Jan, etc., we
agree with you. Also, Conservatives must remember that we are in a
“street fight” and “nice guys” finish last. We need “street
fighters” and we will support and finance them.

Sally Vose - January 14, 2013

The only way it will happen will be when the MSM stops
being a mouth-piece for Obama. However, we need to band together
with all conservatives to push the moderate Republicans to return
to the vision of our true Republic, as outlined by our Founders.
Until then, we need to keep pushing our conservative views until
they “catch on” with the rest of the country.

M. Lee Gallion - January 14, 2013

Jim, I am reading on Kindle, “Freedom Manifesto- Why free
market capitalism is moral and big government is not”. I believe we
have a “moral” dilemma in our country as Steve Forbes and many free
market economists, like Milton Friedman and FA Hayek made in the
past said. Not one individual or group of individuals can control
the global economy despite their feeble attempts to try. Yes, we
have a pitiful economic recovery made more pitiful by the
administration’s and Congress’ attempts at trying to fix the
problem, only to make them worse. The one thing I do not think we
Conservatives need to give up on is the ‘moral’ fight for doing the
‘right’ thing. Reagan had a very admirable gift of communicating
those values and he did it a way that resonated with the American
People. I don’t think the American people have heard the refrain of
doing the right thing in a long time. I still think there are many
people who, although they would not stand in an abortion line
trying to convince young ladies that it is wrong to kill their
babies, communicating that fact is not that hard. Even though media
tries to make it into a rape or incest issue. It is not. It is
simply the Sixth Commendment. Same would apply to Sandy Hook
Massacre. “Thous shall not kill”. “God’s ways are not our ways and
our ways are not His”. That is evident from our society, but
society’s ills are our ills and living with them is as much our
problem as it is the people that go through those tragedies. Making
a moral case for doing the right thing is more important than
making an economic case. Each is intertwined so inextricably, doing
one without the other should be unthinkable to

Jo - January 14, 2013

I can totally relate to Edith- 1/14/13. I have had the same
experience with friends and family members, when I try to point out
conservative economic views. I think the same kind of attitude is
in the big picture. How can our views be explained, without putting
those people who voted for Obama on the defense?

Mike Haines - January 14, 2013

I really relate to Patricia Kulasik in that the
conservatives running for office apparently and erroneously believe
that the majority of voters who do not invest ANY time educating
themselves see through the liberal’s outright lies, and therefore
do not enlighten those who must be led to the ‘well of knowledge’.
So, ‘enlightenment’ must be added to any communication efforts or
few will understand what is going on in government. There were so
many lies told this past election I do not even care to think about
it as it is disgusting to see that the leader of this great country
has such a low regard for it’s citizens. He truly believes that we
are idiots, and many proved him correct.

Robert Solem - January 14, 2013

WOW! I can hardly believe it. The article by DeMint is
“right on”. Our story wasn’t presented effectively in the last
election. We did not communicate our logic, our goals nor our
rationale. So many left-wing distortions were left unanswered. I
haven’t been very optimistic of late, but I am now. How can I help?
The price is right – zip. How about local volunteer think tanks
filtering their best ideas/observations up through a

merbeau - January 14, 2013

(To me) the difference between 2012 and 1980 was during
President Carter’s term there was high unemployment as in 2012,
however, in 1980 we also experienced double digit inflation that
affected rich, poor, white, black, Latino alike (i.e., reducing
spending power, wiping out savings accounts and reducing folks
standard of living). In 2012 it was the national debt, unfunded
pensions and 4 trillion dollar budgets. Unfortunately a lot of
conservatives and many political strategists failed to realize is
that no one (yet) sees an effect of these expenditures on their
lives (e.g., retirement checks still arrive at the doorstep) and
life goes on in a blissfully happy mode. Republicans were painted
as alarmists and fear mongers because of the near-term lack of
impact. I do not think saying we are borrowing from our children
and grandchildren is working. Personally, I think the only way
things will change is if inflation occurs (even to a modest 7%) and
the interest on the debt climbs to 40% of the budget which will
then impact affect all people.

Gloria Murphy - January 14, 2013

Republican establishment is so frightened of the smear
tactics and character and assassination used by the opposition that
they have become impotent. Be principled and unashamed to fight
back for ideas and unite behind issues to get them considered. We
must get a backbone and be responsible and as pleasant as they will
let us but back our principled fight all the way. The opposition
has told us how and what we can say, undermined our family units,
religion, Constitutional protection and we have never come together
untied to show them the error of their ways and thinking. We can’t
duck and collapse any more. We must value our positions and educate
why they are worthy, forcefully and without trepidation.

Coach George - January 14, 2013

1. Create a positive conservative statement of purpose; 2.
Create obtainable goals both short and long term; 3. Establish
measurable objectives for each goal; 4. Assign tasks to complete
the objectives; 5. Review progress on a regular basis to ensure
that objectives are being achieved and that the established goals
are still desired. Prior to starting this project, get rid of the
party elites who simply want to keep status quo – their own power.
Have a nationwide republican/conservative referendum to elect a
working group to run this project, and another referendum to
establish what the goals should be. Then stick to the plan. If you
don’t have a plan you can’t get there from here.

John St. Thomas - January 14, 2013

Granted that research and the clarity of same are
important; however, equally important is FOCUS OF THE PRESENTATION.
My suggestion is to contact DOUG URBANSKI, a fill-in for Rush
Limbaugh. I happened to hear Doug on Rush’s program the day after
Thanksgiving and also on or about Jan. 2nd, 2013. Doug’s main forte
is promoting. He has extensive background working with the movie
industry. He’s also believes that Ronald Reagan owes his success in
large part to his Hollywood experience in promoting. I’m sure that
Rush has Doug’s shows archived. Doug totally impressed me. And as I
listened to him suggesting what the Conservatives were lacking in
their messaging, I knew he had the answer that I didn’t hear from
all the the other Limbaugh guests. I do hope that you at least
check Doug Urbanski out. I believe he lives in or near Studio City,

Scott Hillman - January 14, 2013

Are you kidding? DUH. This is why we keep loosing, the RNC
wants to run to the middle, not to the right.

pete - January 14, 2013

We have a failing society with poor leadership and no
management at the helm. What is the solution? Continue to voice
solutions- frequently and loudly. When all else continues to fail
and we slip further into the cycle of failure.. ..then and only
then will the Conservative message be accepted. I am afraid there
will be blood and suffering along the way. Do not compromize on
“what is right.” Continue to voice the solutions that have
worked… and do it over and over again.

Jeanette R. Christie - January 14, 2013

Effective Marketing is DESPERATELY needed by the Republican
Party. Marketing must be started immediately, instituted
relentlessly, 365 days per year, by flooding TV programs,
magazines, billboards, sporting events, schools, religious outlets,
in every waking area that can possibly reach the “uninformed
general public.” This is how the Liberals have continued to beat
Conservatives with their LIES. The TRUTH, must be spoon fed to the
uninformed by the Republican Party – before it is too late to save
our country from economic ruin. The Media & Movie Industry
are working daily (365) against the Republicans – counteraction
needs to be adopted. Lastly, the Republican Party needs to summon
up some intestinal fortitude and fight back with strength and
determination. They do have the public support for it (by the
informed public) – they just have to believe it, and stand up and
be counted. Respectfully Yours, Jeanette R. Christie

Mel Thompson - January 14, 2013

For once I feel that I am reading constructive thoughts and
ideas from informed people! How refreshing is this?!?! Truthfully I
am humbled after reading these comments. I thought I was a lone
voice in the wilderness only to find that there are folks with
deeper thoughts and who care just as much as I about what is
happening to us. There appears to be a common theme that we
conservatives need to: 1) hold the line against the rinos, 2) do a
much better job of communicating at all levels and by all means, 3)
find and keep a focus (stick to the big things and leave the minor
issues for another day), 4) have the courage to stand for what we
hold to be true and 5) become more articulate in defending our
position and stating the reasons for our beliefs.

Mel Thompson - January 14, 2013

I remember when Clinton was running first time. My son’s
school was showing a video of Clinton’s life in assembly. I asked
when they would show the video of Dole’s life. Andrew begged me not
to make a scene and embarrass him in school. To my everlasting
shame I agreed. I will never, ever, make such a mistake again. Now
that he is married with kids of his own and has to pay taxes he has
moved quite a bit to the right as has his brother and his cousins.
I am impressed that my sons, my nieces and my nephews are so
pro-active in defending their conservative values. Perhaps there is
hope after all!

Carol V - January 14, 2013

I think DeMint’s approach will work. In The Art of War Sun
Tzu says one must know their enemy, Repubs must understand their
market so they can tailor the message. Rather than reinventing the
wheel all we need to do is look to the left’s mentor Saul Alinsky.
They use his playbook so can we. Romney, although speaking facts
and truth, was unable to connect with voters. He simply didn’t
understand his audience.

Carol V - January 14, 2013

Conservatives need to, as Sun Tzu said, know their enemy.
DeMint’s approach may do just that. The left uses Saul Alinsky’s
Rules for Radicals why don’t we?

Robert Brown - January 14, 2013

If the left can communicate lies and have them believed,
what the hell is the problem with strict Constitutionalists being
more effective with the truth? If our message is so accurate, so
to enable the Lier In Chief get re-elected! I’m disgusted that,
with all the money at your disposal, all the so-called smart minds
on the right, all the Bible-based and Constitution-based truth on
our side you failed in the last election and the nation will suffer
because you and the rest of the people I put my faith in did an
inadequate job. Most Sincerely Bob

Peter Wev - January 14, 2013

I believe the Conservative leaders must do the following 1.
Focus solely on economic issues – i.e. taxes, size of Government,
size of the deficit 2. Focus attention on the freedom we surrender
when the Government takes away our ability to make our own
decisions on a myriad of issues. 3. Stop taking about “Social
issues” – we have all been branded blind followers of the
“Religious Right” – take these issues off the table. We share the
values of a large majority of the American public. 4. We decry the
Government taking away our freedoms but turn around and want the
same Government to take away a woman’s right to control her own
body. 5. Enlist the support of important Conservative spokemen –
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity etc. Convince them to stop taking so
much about abortion, gay issues, but make reasoned arguments for
the critical economic issues we support and know are critically
important for to the future of our country. 6. Emphasize our need
for unity; present a POSITIVE Plan and belief in the unlimited
opportunities for our GREAT country. 7. Emphasize our heartfelt in
helping ALL people. 8. Learn from our Liberal friends – ALWAYS BE

Becky - January 14, 2013

It’s extremely frustrating to watch conservative leadership
sit back and say nothing when the dems are telling outright lies
and not being challenged. The republicans need to get a backbone
and start defending our party not just sit back and let the dems
control the message. We need to educate the public by clearly
articulating the message – Ted Cruz is a rising star and seems to
be one of the few that “get it”.

Henry M. Duvall - January 14, 2013

Absolutely! The best, least debateable, arguments are
founded in fact from the thorough research to find it. Problem is
no matter the value of an argument, it has to get beyond just
preachin’-to-the-choir and get to the enemy who tend not to to
visit conservative forums, and then get them to change their
thinking. Thoroughly exposing liberal ignorance, including
ethically-morally-and constitutional-corrupted thinking and intent,
in public, sems to really make a difference in behavior. Journal
News is one recent example. Bring facts, and expose.

Scott Vieira - January 14, 2013

Hi, it’s been my experience that most of the Obama voters
at least the one in my orbit they don’t have the first clue of the
American form of government. My first question after I listen to
them talk about all the great things they are going to get “free”
is, I ask by what right do have to be a free man and not a rulers
slave ? With a 98% failure rate they don’t know the answer I quote
The Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed
by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, …”when I
mention when Obama ( man) can grant your wildest dreams ,he
certainty has the power to take everything you have away….it will
start with your health.. as the gateway to everything you are. They
are confused as to what I mean exactly ..Using Heritage. The facts
and timeliness of the Morning Bell upon the issues of the day. I
can report over some time now as its happening the conversation is
no longer controlled by my liberal friends ! Not all have joined
the “good side of the force “but the side benefit the hard core
Liberals I will never be able to move . However my real targets are
the friends & co-workers who are like flies on the wall
listening in on the conversation and have been empowered with the
facts of the matter. To that point that’s my point. Its education
of the American form of government . NOT empowering the big
government nanny state and its leaders. From time to time the
things & positions comming from the mouths of the friend
who were on the fence priceless. Knowing there is solid ground
against ..Obama and the actions he has and will continue to take on
the issues of the day in the arena of ideas …on the fence no
longer with so many …I believe that is the only way!

Rita - January 14, 2013

Obama can communicate, Conservatives cannot. That is why he
got reelected. The media is against us and will only report that
which is favorable to Obama. If Conservatives have to buy TV time,
then that is what we must do. If we do not learn how to communicate
a message, and get our message out, all is is lost.

Boyce Wharton - January 14, 2013

A more effective message can definitely be crafted. One
perfect example – you must remember that the average person does
not think in billions/trillions (no experience along those lines),
so all this talk of trillion this and trillion that is lost. The
thing that sticks with people is when you bring it home, i.e. talk
their language. A perfect example – suppose the deficit was your
$22,000 household budget. And your spouse said “I cut 3 cents from
our bills”. You wouldn’t make much headway, would you? Everyone
going on TV/radio has to bring it to a personal level or it is “too
far away, both physically (Washington) and mentally (nothing I can
do about it).

Ron Dvorak - January 14, 2013

I am currently an educator but have had a successful previous business career in which I managed my income and savings wisely … level headed and of very conservative values.

The sooner the better in answer to your question. However, I remain frankly doubtful that, at this point with the (impossible to believe) re-election of the current regime, that anything anyone can do will help to reverse this. Concerning loss of freedom, my strong belief is you haven’t seen anything yet. The current absolutely uncompromising regime strongly believes it has a strong mandate, as you must be aware, in guiding this country directly (by Executive Order or otherwize) and as fast as possible to a virtual dictatorship … with the complete blinding support of the left media, hollywood and the rich (Buffet, Soros,etc, etc), the union bosss and their membership, the vast politically uninformed mostly blue collor blind, etc.

Find it very difficult to be optimistic at this point. Nevertheless, will contine to support Heritage … am encouraged by Jim DeMint’s appointment.

tom shupe - January 14, 2013

I believe that obamacare ought to be defunded I also think that a strong effort should be made to submit a budget also have it balanced. Another idea would to sell some of the land the federal government owns that is public park land .sell it to the oil developers. That would create more income and help the economy grow with many more jobs.

tom shupe - January 14, 2013

In the former comet that i made I meant not parks all you have to is travel in north Dokota and the see the oil boom has started the government needs to just get out of the way watch it GO!!!!

Darcy - January 14, 2013

Republicans need short sound bites and lots of repetition not long philosophical truisms.. Low information voters have a short attention span.

Roger Murray - January 15, 2013

It was a real pleasure meeting you, Senator DeMint, at last summer’s Club for Growth event at the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach, CA. We wish you well on your new endeavors as President of the Heritage Foundation, and hope we can meet again soon.
Roger and Carol Murray

marie davis - January 15, 2013

this is what we have prayed and are waiting for.
most all polls are on conservative side when facts are present and explanations are clear. and most CONSERVATIVE politicians are easy to spot because when they spaek from their belief it is understandable to the masses. now if we can stop the rinos from taking our conservatives out (alan west) we can get back on track to RESTORING our constitution!!!!

Nigel Boulton - January 15, 2013

While teaching kindergarten to adult age and from music to music instruments to At Risk Kids to sales techniques, I learned the age old adage of you gotta give to get respect. That doesn’t mean to forego your values. In sales I learned and taught the 3 f’s, feel-felt-found. The conservative movement needs to be who they are-conservative. Most folks respect individuals and groups who maintain their principles just like young folks really like to know where the “line” is. Nobody truly respects a waffler for long. Americans are forgiving but to a point. My dad always said to me “give you enough rope and you will hang yourself”. Ali the boxer called it rope-a-dope.The entire 2012 campaign was an excercise of frustration as candidates leaned the direction of the days “wind”. Others forgot the power of words. Never give the gift that keeps on giving. Never leave anyone behind and when someone does make a mistake, don’t abandon them to be left to drown, be there to breathe life back into that lifeless body which says more about the goodness you are than the fair weather friend who ran for cover. Remember the Missouri Senate race! Another adage I learned in sales-say and do everything the same(be consistent) and you will never have to remember but one thing-the truth. Sad to say policiticians seem to follow the concept that say it over and over until everyone believes it is the truth. No Statesman would do that. Sell the truth. Demo your beliefs, show the features and benefits, and paint a picture of the outcome then shutup!! This KISS method enabled a once shy child to sell lots of cars, car loans, mortgages, and mobile home/RV loans as well as the customers to the lenders making possible the clients purchase and cash flow for the company for whom I worked and for my family. I sincerely believe Ronald Reagan used elements of what I have shared as well as many successful individuals. Don’t You!!? Today I am a young 63 and I am doing my part to sell the truth of the Conservative movement to any and all whose lives I cross. John Maxwell teaches leadership and leadership starts whithin yourself. You don’t have to have a title to be a leader. You must have integrity. The Conservative movement will be succesful by following the ideas put forth in this text which is simply by the KISS method, utilizing all resources at our disposal, responding to ideas put forth by the citizens, making everyone feel like a part of the effort and just getting back to basics!

Nigel - January 15, 2013

Reply to Boyce Wharton,
Boyce you are on the trail. The idea that should be followed is taking an abstract idea and relating to others with a concrete concept. The idea is that if you can touch and feel something rather than something in cyber space, we find it easier to grasp the concept. Your 22k is a good starting point. For example, at about 22k per year, it would take from age 18 to age 65 i.e. 47 years to make about one million dollars. The cost of Obama’s Christmas vacations to Hawaii for the last 4 years would take the life time of 20 workers lifetime of earnings or simply put 20 lifetimes. 20 lifetimes X 47 years= 940 years of 22k per year to pay for Obama’s vacations. Now then, based on $21,276.00 per year, it would take 21,276,595,744.68 billion lifetimes to provide enough money for one year of a trillion dollar deficit. Back up to how many lifetimes for a billion dollar deficit which is equal to 21,276,595.74 lifetimes of work. Figures never lie but liars are always figuring. The synonym for figuring would be scheming and who does that? I would like to thank Jim Demint and the Heritage Foundation for the opportunity to read fellow citizens ideas and for all to share ideas. Learn how to take rejection and keep asking for the opportunity to earn “their” business i.e. their vote. Success is 10% talent and 90% hard work and persistence! Stay positive and confident and visualize the prize.

John Smith - January 15, 2013

We need to do more than just market our ideas.

Rush mentioned something a few days ago that matched something that I already knew; we need to do something about the public school system. It is strictly teaching our kids liberal thinking, some of which is not rooted in reality at all, and not making any real effort to teach them self-reliance. Don’t forget things like global warming and the kids doing that Obama chant (mmm, mmm, mmm) that got a lot of attention.

In the mean time, I think some serious reforms are needed for TV media as soon as we take back Washington. The mainstream media needs to have the threat of criminal charges hung over them if they intentionally lie to the public. Besides, sometimes these lies even hurt a citizen’s reputation without justification or even put them in danger. Such things should not be allowed.

Andrew - January 15, 2013

I belive people of today like the tough guy do whatever it takes attitude to get what you want.The perception of the current admin.The perception of Republicians is that of Weak,and oldschool.The Progressive approach is tenacious,and we need to tame it.Conservatives need Attack their weakness,their (Lies).We need to be tenacious here!Truth is the Power of conservatism.Use the power to squash their lies.(they tend to come back when not squashed).A true Conservative calls a liar a
liar! A Progressive calls the truth a lie! Conservatism is Americian! Progressivism is European! Conservatism leads to the golden city,(Americian Dream).Progressivism leads to broken cities,(Detroit).Conservatism is Disney World,Progressivism is the RMV.Conservatism is for WE THE PEOPLE,Progressivism is you the sheeple.Conservatism knows your name,Progressivism knows your number.Low information voters are attentive to “mob style” poltics.Conservatives message has to be that of Strength and Power(truth).When we stand up for the truth it shows power! When we prove(witness) truth it is Power squared! Todays society likes a good fight,( battle of ideas).As of late the Republicians and Conservitives ( not the same anymore) have been getting their _sses kicked,and are perceived as Weak.Time to change the “Perception”.

Anthony Landry - January 15, 2013

One of our main problems I have finally come to grips with, yet do not know how to fix, is what I call freebee. More and more Americans are getting use to things they don’t have to work for.Yes,even mr DeMint would receive a free meal and not think of who is paying for it. Today too many Americans under 50 are looking for not to work yet get free healthcare, free housing, free food and yes free income.Some have said the government owe’s this to them. One lady even bosted about she receives disibility and she is not disiable.She make $3,500 a month with her disiiblilty, her food stemps and housing and free health care. When I sighed up for S.S. they asked if I wonted to sign up for disilibilty.How hold gave away system need to be fixed Mr. DeMint and it can only be fixed from Washington down.

Joyce - January 15, 2013

In addition to clarifying our message and delivery, we also need to target audiences. The Liberals spent most of the last Century taking over the public schools, colleges, text books, comic books and TV; we Conservatives need to spend this Century taking them back.

mark - January 15, 2013

You ask, can a more effective message allow principled conservative ideas to gain more traction? Well the way I see it is that the message will not matter at all regardless of the truth behind it if the republicans we elect to office continue to capitulate and refuse to see that those now leading on the left are not simply people with a difference of opinion regarding the law of the land namely our Constitution but are hard core socialist with the mindset to maintain absolute, unlimited, repetitive or continual rule and control and not those that would “represent” us as elected officials that are required to work within the framework of our constitution. In short we as conservatives must stop being “PC” and know our enemies and they are many!

Mary Allgeyer - January 15, 2013

Yes, a message that is simple and direct can be influential and can make a lasting impression. Instead of talking about the “good ole days” you have to reinvent a new “purpose” and stay strong with it. Good luck!

Helen Weible - January 15, 2013

We need to work more on limiting the amount of time that candidate can campaign before elections. Also work to limit the amount of money that candidates and other interest groups are allow to spent. Term limits too. Until we do something about these items we will not have the right kind of good honest people running for offices. There needs to be a grassroots group started to get this done.

Terri Sutphin - January 15, 2013

I think Peggy Nonan’s article this past weekend (Jan 12th) was spot-on with how to tackle this. Offense, rather than Defense…..Pirate time for the GOP! http://online.wsj.com/article/declarations.html.

Sheron Evans - January 15, 2013

I pretty much agree with what others have said. I too feel we do not stand up enough for ourselves and what we believe in and for what is true. I normally do not have the time to do my own research and check out what is being said, but after hearing the democrats and Obama continue to reassure us that things are getting better, in spite of what others were saying and what people were going through in their daily lives……….I went on line and looked at the rate of unemployment and the national debt for the past 8 years and more. That gave me my answer and I wasn’t just depending on what the news media was telling me. There was one other matter where Bush was accused of lying about something that I was able to go online and check out. It wasn’t true. So finding ways to educate people or even to check out what is being said, would be a huge start. Even Fox news fails to do the job sometimes, in my opinion. But thank God for them and others out there like them. Arguing ideology doesn’t seem to be getting us anywhere, unless we can find a way to show people and prove to them what works and what doesn’t. And it can’t just be based on he said and she said type of info.

Jennifer - January 15, 2013

I just just sent a message to my republican senator expressing the need to change rhetoric. We also need to have informed representatives armed with facts and ready to use them against the “left”. Our congressmen seem to allow the left-wing agenda and media dominate messages without reprisal. We also ned to begin boycotting businesses and media sources that support the Obama agenda.

Maybe conservative business people should lay-off their tax paying workers three months a year until the 600 billion dollars in welfare benefits are reduced by 25%. Taxpayers are sick of supporting nonproductive people in our country.

Sam Rogers - January 15, 2013

The GOP is in trouble. We lost the last two presidential elections when we had the best candidates and best vision for our country. We lost at the ballot box.

The radical progressives have a better “get out the vote” apparatus
that emphasizes unity and discipline. Conservatives are still engaged
in conflict with each other, and it won’t matter which of us win if we
don’t win at the ballot box.

I hope Heritage Foundation can help bring together the various conservative factions in order to create a winning team effort.

David Alexander - January 15, 2013

That is the most sensible observation I have heard about the terrible defeat in November.
I feel that all of the money that I and many others contributed to the Party was a complete waste.
Rather than focused on hightlighting the “message”, it was wasted on attack adds, smears, inuendo, and half truths!
I’m sick of it and will not contribute another nickle to the Party.
Let’s focus on marketing and selling the truth!

Gloria - January 15, 2013

Yes, we must communicate better to get the Conservative message out to the people. But we must understand our audience and we MUST speak to them on a level and in the language that they easily understand. Get rid of the big words and those with veiled meanings. I agree with Patricia Kulasik – take off the gloves, get rid of the soft talk and make the Democrats prove beyond a doubt that what they say is true.

Gracie - January 15, 2013

I believe sending an effective message is VERY important. Words Matter and I don’t know exactly which words need to be used because I’m the person who is blunt and will tell you straight up the truth. If the GOP does not start immediately to refute the lies this president and the democrats (Debbie W-S, Pelosi, Reid, Patty Murray, S. Cutter & Axelrod) spew out to the ‘dumb masses’ the Republican party will be no more. I am seriously considering dropping out of all voting or even commenting on facebook. The Democrat party and obama are on a roll of demonizing every group that they perceive to be a ‘Pro GOP’ backup and some of the Republicans are letting them do it. The RINOs get on TV and do exactly what the dems want them to do, they soft-pedal Conservatism. When a Republican, especially one who quotes Reagan, writes a column griping about the GOP members of congress the democrats pick it up and talks about it continuously. Every network, even the Weather channel, runs political stories and all but one or two channel denigrate, demonize and try to divide the Republican party. I see the Libertarian party slowly but surely being the party of real Individaul Freedom. The only other solution seems to be a new Conservative party to replace or take over the GOP. The ‘No Labels’ group is just a democrat takeover of the RINOs.

Jim Owens - January 15, 2013

The GOP as it stands now is to cautious in there approach to the voters. In hindsight Romney should have utilized Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann at the convention and elsewhere. If the Tea Party and its ideas were embraced, Obama would have lost the election and Jim De Mint would still be in the Senate.

JAMES BENSON - January 15, 2013

We absolutely need to take the message to the American people by educating them exactly as Jim DeMint proposes. I would like to have Heritage provide conservatives like myself with material we can use to script letters to the editor in our local media. I believe we can be field soldiers in effectively combating the untruths of liberal politicians, media and others.

Mara Collazo - January 15, 2013

What can be done about the fact that almost 50% of Americans do not have the values we grew up with such work ethics and a desire to make a contribution to society? The citizens with an entitlement mentality are taking over.
Was it not Benjamin Franklyn who said “We will keep our Republic only until people realize they can vote themselves a paycheck?”

Janet Musho - January 15, 2013

I wholeheartedly agree with you. We need to get our conservative message out to everyone. Republicans spent their time responding to Obama instead of putting out their agenda.

Jeannie - January 15, 2013

Bring the message to where the people are. Laundromats, grocery stores, sporting events, summer fairs, the beach, libraries( there’s internet there) People reading The Heritage Foundation already vote correctly , people don’t want to hear it who are collecting welfare and the unions… forget it … the heirarchy’s making too much to change. You guys probably have the demographics needed to determine where to go. The delivery of the message is key. I’d much rather pay for elderly people, roads and WELL RUN schools than methadone, free taxi rides to court, food stamps redeemable for cash at the local bodega and cable tv. If people knew they were working double shifts and extra overtime so my perfectly healthy neighbor can live for free and exactly what they are paying for things might change. Now it’s a very gray area filled with fiscal cliffs debt ceilings and world monetary funds .
How about monthly brainstorming sessions with your massively smart staff and middle Americans..! or have a section on this site for good ideas on how to reach the people with the message.

Heidi B Hernandez - January 15, 2013

YES!!! We need to be able to COMMUNICATE A CLEAR MESSAGE. I believe part of the problem is that the “Advisors” are giving HORRIBLE advise to candidates as well as no one seems to have a backbone anymore. We need to stop apologizing for our beliefs and stand on principle.

Jeanne - January 15, 2013

Communication is the number one problem of the Republican party. Members have no idea of how to phrase their ideas to appeal to the majority of voters. I highly recommend you review suggestions from Frank Lutz about how to phrase our ideas in a simple, positive, and appealing manner. Obama and the democrats are masters at this – it’s time we beat them at their own game!

P L Gauthier - January 15, 2013

15 January, 2013

Ed Feulner
Jim DeMint
Heritage Foundation
214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

These are dangerous times for our nation. The Heritage Foundation provides timely, principled, conservative ideas and comments; however, despite all the worthy efforts, we are not engaged in a national conversation because the current tyrannical federal government is not listening. Our president, about to enter a second term, will no longer be tempered by the need to appeal to the electorate for another term. The oath of office including the phrase to uphold protect and defend the Constitution will continue to be viewed not as a sacred trust but as a guideline and necessary paragraph to recite to gain office. Unconstitutional executive branch power seizures will become more common. The killing or imprisonment of U.S. Citizens without due process will continue without consequence. His flawed expansive view of the federal government will continue to empower him to regulate any industry or behavior and to impose taxes on any item or event, authorized by the Constitution or not.
In the last four years we have witnessed and endured:
No budget approved by the senate and none expected in our near future,
Dangerous usurpations and narrow interpretations of the constitution,
Illegal recess appointments when the senate was not in recess,
Executive orders bypassing congress,
Current laws being ignored,
Inappropriate use of executive privilege, and
A cabinet member held in contempt of congress, without any real consequence.
These actions have been accomplished without fear of accountability. The madness must be stopped. The noble efforts of the Heritage Foundation are not being effective with those that seek to destroy our nation. When the congress does not perform its constitutional duties to provide checks and balances, and the fourth estate (the free press media) is complicit at best, it becomes necessary for another body to hold the federal government accountable. I, we, cannot do it as individuals as we do not have the resources for a sustained legal effort. We look to you as the right organization with the resources and the right message to use the only option remaining to the citizenry. The Heritage Foundation must bring suit in federal court to hold the federal government accountable at every infringement. Refining the message or better marketing of conservative ideas and principles won’t accomplish what is required. Other organizations have sued federal departments when they ignored requirements to complete tasks on the prescribed timelines. These legal actions brought results.

As a severely underemployed veteran, I can no longer in good conscience, provide my limited financial support to the Heritage Foundation which provides its highly valid arguments in a vacuum. Real action is necessary to save our constitutional republic and it must begin now. Please let me know when real action will be part of the Heritage Foundation’s efforts and I will be happy to contribute again. Until then I see the immediate need to send my meager disposable income to the National Rifle Association.

P. L. Gauthier

Adri Kalisvaart - January 15, 2013

An acquaintance had read “Atlas Shrugged” had understood it and loved the book. Yet, she voted for Obama. Why? Because she was scared by the Conservatives relentless attacks on “Roe vs. Wade” (see lasts week’s Time); and so am I. The Democrates want to destroy my economic freedom and the Republicans want to destroy what is left. What is an admirer of the America of our Founders to do?
By the way, what is the difference between Heritage’s Romney care and Obama care? Both require the violation of my Inalienable Rights. For the Heritage Foundation to be successful it must become a principled defender of “Man’s Rights”

Eric Jones - January 15, 2013

I do believe that the message needs to be clearer and more wide spread. Conservatives need to get a clear message onto the major channels, not just Fox. I am also concerned that the Republicans never seem to stand their ground. They always fold under pressure, like they’re afraid of offending the media. I did not elect these people to impress the media, I voted for these folks to represent a conservative idea and to save this country from downfall. For some time the republican party has been more of a watered down version of the Dems. Time to fix that. Message would help, but fixing the party is essential, as well.

Nan Nicoll - January 15, 2013

I think conservatives have to listen to people before stating a position. There are rarely cut and dried answers to multi-faceted problems. Also, we must get involved and support young people. I believe many of them have not heard the conservative message unless it was demagouged.
These 2 things are being done right now by people who value other people time as much as their own. It takes time to form a relationship, which is basically what I am talking about. I feel confident Jim DeMint feels this way based on his TV appearances and his writings. Let’s do it. Let’s reach out to people, listen to their concerns then work with them for a conservative solutions.

rich rossi - January 16, 2013

I like it !

J Olmstead - January 16, 2013

I think we need a consistent, truly conservative message. And we need to stand up for other conservatives, especially those who come under the attacks of the prevailing media. When those of us who have a voice – those in office or who have a platform that puts them in the public eye – remain silent or heap on criticism of our fellow conservatives, the rest of the nation starts to believe the attackers. We have to start standing up for our people. And we private citizens can more forcefully stand up for conservatives when they stop apologizing for being so! Conservatism wins when it is unapologetically and positively embraced!

Ken Marx - January 16, 2013

If we can get ahead of the issues and frame the conversation, we will do a better job of convincing voters that our ideas are more in their interest than the other guy’s. We must stop letting the other guy define the message. Republicans are constantly on defense. They should be on offense (and they don’t have to be offensive to do so). We need to be able to say, “That’s your idea, now here’s mine.”

Bob Vallario - January 16, 2013

What I expect is for the Heritage to be like a pit bull
On the following issues
A) how our ambassador Stevens was killed… This must be continued in congress till those guilty including the president is tried for their crimes
B) Voter fraud.. O’Reilly got it going. Heritage with the T Party/conservatives in congress and the Senate Must push

I am watching and if I don’t see news conferences on thers issues and a concerted effort to keep the pressure on those in congress and the news outlets then I will no longer support Heritage

Jim– u know more than anyone how things work in congress.. You can get this done… Bob Vu

Richard Olson - January 16, 2013

Congratulations, Mr. DeMint on your new role as president of the Heritage Foundation.

It is essential that all messaging recognize that the one receiving the message is self-centered, egocentric and only interested and responsive to messages which answer the following question: “what’s in it for me”?

Highbrow ideas espousing the wisdom of the free enterprise system, free trade, small government, etc. without delivering a crisp answer to, “what’s in it for me?” will fall on fallow ground.

The electorate must be segmented carefully and messaging targeted to individual segments in clear and understandable terms.

A word about the messenger: the party needs to pick a messenger or messengers with home target voting segments will relate on an emotional basis. Romney was technically qualified. Unfortunately the voters could not warm up to him. We need to find a “Joe the plumber” type messenger with highly developed communications skills (like Ronald Reagan) and a substantial intellect which is imperceptible on the surface. How does the expression go? It is not how much you know, is how much you care that counts.

I second Dennis’s message of January 12, the Republican Party must take a lesson from Obama and the Democrats and get into the 21st century with social media and other technology.

Howard Woods - January 16, 2013

I just finished watching Obama use children as props in his anti-gun news conference. Why don’t conservative groups show children in chains bound to the national debt? Why don’t we show children’s dirty faces in sweaty, torn rags shoveling at the bottom of the pit of debt slavery?

Ben B. Booth - January 16, 2013

Conservatism has, and always will represent common sense solutions. Unfortunately, the republican establishment is afraid of alienating itself from the moderates and independents, while continuing to distance itself from the conservative base of the party. As a conservative, I am currently skeptical of the republican party, especially at the federal level. We conservatives, at least through the eyes of the mainstream media, are viewed as right wing extremists.

Chuck O’Reilly - January 16, 2013

Here in Colorado the Douglas County Republicans decided that we would work to elect conservative people to the Douglas County School Board and other local elections. Over half of our sales taxes are determined by county and city officials. Much of our property taxes are determined by county officials, school boards and the boards of local fire, water and sanitation districts. Here in Douglas County, CO the cost for electricity is managed by the board at the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA).

This involvement in local elections is significant because the Colorado State and National Republican Party do not support local Republican parties being involved in “non-partisan” elections. If the Republican Party really does believe in smaller government and fiscal responsibility, the Republican Party must be involved with the various county and district elections that determine the size and cost of government at the county and local level. In addition these county positions and local district’s boards are incubators for tomorrow’s political leaders. If the Republican Party is not directly involved in the selection and education of these board members, it will find itself with unknown candidates facing formidable opponents who have made a name because of their work on that local board that previously seemed so inconsequential.

Local school boards are a great place to start for lots of good reasons. For years conservative parents have sent their children to public schools not knowing they would be taught by liberal teachers. Unions have changed the focus from teaching students to taking care of the teacher. The property taxes paid by everyone in the county have come to support the liberal teachers and their union’s political agenda.

Last year the Douglas County School Board examined the tax returns of the Colorado division of the American Federation Teacher’s unions (AFT) and found some shocking facts. The union collected $1.2 million a year in union dues in Douglas County alone and over $850,000 was being sent back to the AFT headquarters in Washington DC each year. In the past 5 years, the Douglas County School Board unknowingly allowed $4,250,000 in liberal campaign contributions to go right under its nose and straight into the pockets of those who want to stifle the free market, support bad teachers and increase union power all over the country. As you know, raising $850k a year is fairly difficult. The AFT had millions coming to them like an annuity. We decided to cut off that flow of funds to the AFT and to stop their socialistic agenda here in Douglas County.

The Douglas County School District stopped withholding union dues from its teachers.
After we stopped collecting union dues, some of the teachers continued to pay their dues directly. The rest simply quit the union as membership was no longer required by the school district. (Think Right To Work.) Finally, the school board decertified the union all together. All of this has been a great win for parental rights and has greatly damaged organized labor in Colorado. The school board is now able to move towards long-overdue reforms that were so difficult to implement when the union was involved.

While we have started to reform education here in Douglas County and have eliminated the financial umbilical cord from here to Washington DC, we have found there is much more to do. Using the millions of dollars available to them, teachers unions dominate at the national, state and local levels. Unfortunately, our Republican leaders at all levels ignore the liberal’s top to bottom dominance of our educational system. This channel of funding has been coming out of our public school systems for decades and we allow it to happen every pay period. When will we conservatives recognize this and combat it?

During the past two election cycles the leadership of the Republican Party here in Douglas County took a risk and got involved in our school board race. They learned to hold open meetings to interview school board candidates and then funded a mailer each cycle to support the conservative candidates. During the initial period, there was a vocal contingency inside the party who were organized and put up some opposition to the party’s involvement in a so called nonpartisan race. These are called nonpartisan races just because they don’t have a primary. However, the results of these elections are very partisan.

Once elected, the conservative school board exposed the facts about the union and took steps to have the tax payer’s dollars follow the students instead of the teachers. The internal opposition within the party dissipated. The entire Douglas County School Board (DCSB) realizes just how important the Republican Party’s involvement in these nonpartisan elections was and will be. The Wall Street Journal has commented on the accomplishments of the DCSB. The national leadership of the teacher’s union has stated that what has happened in Douglas County cannot and must not continue. The DCSB elections in 2013 will be the most important local election in the county’s history and exposes the largest “chink in the armor” for the left on a national level. The national union leaders recognize this but republicans don’t. We need leadership from the national Republican Party to take action on a national level. All republican leaders, national, state and county need to recognize that school board involvement is imperative for the reforms that we need on a national level.

We believe it’s time for the national leadership for the Republican Party to stand up and realize the lopsided advantage they are giving to the Democrats by ignoring the control they have of our education system. By ignoring these local school board elections you and the Republican Party are consciously allowing them to teach their liberal agenda to our children, support bad teachers and allow the union’s fund raising efforts to gather hundreds of millions of dollars while we, the tax payer, fund it all. (Go to http://www.teachersunionexposed.com/state.cfm?state=CA)

Let’s mobilize and make a difference! I suggest that you and the national and state Republican leadership teams develop a program for county parties to become involved in school board elections and other city and district elections. Part of this program would be to train candidates on the tactics of organized labor. Looking at the process the Douglas County Republicans (DCR) developed should be most helpful. Our DCR team has taken some licks and learned some great lessons. Considering the successes we have achieved, there will be plenty of good conservatives in Douglas County willing and able to help in the development of this program. We understand that the political environment in many counties will be different then here in Douglas County, Colorado. That’s why the national and state leadership teams will be required to determine the best course of action for each county.

The Douglas County Republican Activists include young adults that are serious about the education their children are receiving at our public schools. Consequently, we believe that if the Republican Party at the national and state levels encouraged involvement in the local school district elections, properly done, it would result in more people becoming involved with the local Republican Party.

It may be a good idea for county leadership teams to appoint several individuals to recruit and select candidates for school boards. We suggest going after former/current town council members, fire board members and active conservative parents as candidates.

Our school districts should not continue to be the fund raising arm of the Democratic Party. Let’s not continue to hand the liberals this strategic and lucrative position just because school district elections are labeled “nonpartisan”.

Imagine the ripple effect if we got moving and took control of all of our school boards.

Gerald E Hewitt - January 16, 2013

Yes. We believe that a more effective message to the
public will be what is needed to get the conservative
message across to the people. Supplying them with the
facts that make up conservatism based on things they
see and know every day will help get the message over.
Hope you folks can keep on to get the job done.
Thanks for your expertese.

Jeanette R. Christie - January 16, 2013

Effective Marketing is Extremely Essential to the success of any professional endeavor. In addition, the Republic Party must stop throwing their conservative associates “under the bus” in a fruitless effort to appease Democrats. Learn from the Democrats – circle the wagons like they do, They support and protect even the very worst behavior of their associates no matter how dispicable the behavior is. Republicans sacrifice their associates at the drop of a hat – for minor slips of the tongue. Conservatives have lost too many good representatives through Republican Rino appeasement. SHAMEFUL!
Jeanette Christie – January 16, 2013

Ginny - January 17, 2013

I along w/many USA citizens of this country are being controlled by the government of this country. The constiutution has been made a disgrace by the the ones that we, WE the people put in office. As we talk, they laugh. They sit on their duffs, speak words that mean nothing as they have already discussed & made the decisions in the corridors beyond the hearing of the people long before they come to take their seats before the PEOPLE.
We have a president who sits on his thrown, where in fact he should be in front of a TV program, His acting is great, but not bougth by all.
Our Senant & Congress people should be ashamed, because thery are a disgrace to all. Their not concerned about the little guy, their concern is how fat their poctkets get and how to make them even fatter. I can’t help but wonder, even in the state of our economy when they will vote themselves a raise, when we the people are truly worried and concerned how we’re going to pay our every day bills that continue to increase, but wages in our house wholes do not.
The people who represent our country know that all they have to do is hold office 1 lousy year and their supported by the people for life, even down to their insurance coverage and any time WE THE PEOPLE ask for acception into their large club, we’re ignored.
I am 1 amongst many, and we’re not to be igornred.
Gun contol is a farce, fear has brought out the demons that have always been there, but did any one think of solid doors w/real solid glass inserts high enough that a individual could not be able to break the glass and reach in to open a door. There’s no real logic being brought to bear. I am the mother of 5 grown children & 7 grandchildren. Their safety is the utt-most to us and everyone has a reason to fear the safety for their childen, but, right NOW, everyone is over reacting and is not thinking clearly.
Mean while back at the ranch you idiots who say your representing WE THE PEOPLE are liars and should all be thrown out of office.
You may have thought you’ve thrown out GOD, but their are too many of us that believe IN GOD WE THRUST and there’s nothing that anyone can do, to change that which is true.
Remember faithful people of this beautiful country, let us not forget the faithful ones that lost their lives for this great land and it’s people. GOD BLESS AMERICA.

Lou Herzog - January 19, 2013

I ama Heritage member.

In 1982 my daughter was killeby a drunk driver 18 yr old in Northern Va.

We and another couple started Northern VA MADD Chapter. As you know the Madd movement was very sucessful andmade many sugnificant changes in Drunk briving law and public oppion re drunk driving.

ll efforts were at the local level. That iswhere change starts and spreads. Local organization is where the effort will makethings change.

MADDs effectivenessfinally lost it’s strength and ability to get change tooccur when the local organizations were brought under national control, direction and monertarily control.

Local is where the strength comes from not froma national group.

help establish local , city county parish etc organizaation nd you might get a monvement going.

Trying to do this all fromthenational levelwill be hard is not impossible.

One person who did help make changes in DUI law and public opinion thoughts.

Respectfully lou Herzog
Fyjer of Susan Herzog killed 1/1/1998 in Fairfax county Va. by a drunk 17 year old on her way home

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