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Conservatives lost the last election because they tried to compete in the trenches of liberal politics by campaigning solely on the issues. What they missed was that the voters that decided this and most elections are the great unwashed middle of American politics; people with little understanding of issues and no real allegiance to a philosophy. They vote on the look and feel of the candidates as well as the catch phrases and buzzwords each party spoon feeds them. To successfully combat the left at the ballot box one must both understand these voters and the mindset of liberals.

A study by a liberal professor of conservatives and liberals found that conservatives could mimic liberals with ease but liberals were not only incapable of the task of mimicking conservatives but they got angry in the attempt. That is because conservatives are by nature deeper thinkers on issues of human interaction than liberals. The superficial ideas that drive the liberal mind simply do not lend themselves to thinking on human issues too deeply. The truth is the liberal mind is in reality a study in the art of the absurd. It seeks simplistic answers to complex issues with a tendency to reduce every problem to nothing more than opposing dichotomies of villains and victims. Pretending to know the unknowable liberals take on the mantle of the world’s caretakers. Acting as though they can divine the intent of men’s souls they pass judgment on those they do not understand. If X is suffering there must be a Y that is the cause; culture, education and even their own policies are almost never suspect.

When it comes to understanding society liberals sacrifice all deliberative processes of investigation upon the altar of their beliefs for the sake of expediency. No need to go to jury when you have already decided upon issues of guilt and punishment. This is why the path of liberalism leads invariably towards despotism. It defines the problem and decides on a course of action to correct it without ever investigating whether they’re right or wrong. That they are right is to them self-evident; those that deny they are right are pegged as enemies of truth. This also makes liberals elitist by nature and paternalistic towards the masses. To them there is only one way to make sure things turn out right, that is to have all control in their hands.

To the masses the allure of liberalism lies in its simplistic approach. For every problem liberals provide a villain to blame along with an offer to be the people’s champions against the scourge. All of this is done with corresponding buzzwords and catch phrases meant to grab those with limited attention spans. This game of divide and demonize is one liberals have been perfecting since the French Revolution. Even their solutions, if one is offered at all, are sold via the 10 second sound bite and buzzword driven headlines. Unfortunately for Republicans this is a strategy tailored made for the middle ground voters that are needed to win elections.

For conservatives to compete with liberals for the so called independent vote they must both divert the attempts of the left at demonization and offer a positive vision that uses catch phrases and buzzwords of their own. Deflection and directing is an art that does not come easy to most conservatives. Reagan was an expert at it and Sarah Palin has a flair for it, it is a talent that can be taught but some are naturally better at it than others. Whether it is a “there you go again” and the memorable “recession is when you lose your job, depression is when you lose yours” or a stinging “being a mayor is like being a community organizer except for the fact you have real responsibilities” it is the art of using simple but pointed phrases upon which the modern election is often won or lost! Of course there are other even less substantial but equally important things that are needed to catch the independent voters eye. Things like a sense of humor, showing empathy and acting competent and in control are important too.

What does not win over those who are undecided ten days out of an election are facts. While talking ad nauseum about your 59 point plan or even your 5 point plan is important to the base it will just create a glazed look for those whose attention span is only comparatively better than that of a goldfish. The fact is putting a stiff, temperamental and dry humored candidate (IE: Dole and McCain) against a slick Willie or a media ordained messiah is political suicide as is matching either with an analytical business man.

This is why Sarah Palin was seen as such a threat to the left and someone they had to destroy. She was a diamond in the rough that if polished would destroy them at their own game. Liberals fully realize what it takes to defeat them even if the Republican establishment does not.

For conservatives to win they need to realize that getting to the presidency is a two step process. First you must prove your salt in the primaries with voters that know and care what you think and believe. Second is be able to win over the general election sheep for whom style is the overriding factor. They must nominate candidates that can do both if they expect to win.