We as Republicans have been asking ourselves for sometime now, why does it seem that we are losing the battle of ideas, when it comes to convincing voters that we are the party best suited to lead the nation, and for that matter the state of  Delaware.

   Now I know that some of my more liberal friends will tell us that it is because the ideas, the principles and the values of the Republican party, and that of conservatism, no longer represent those of a majority of  the  American people.

  Then again, there are members of the Republican party that will say it is because the Republican party no longer holds true to the conservative values that once placed the GOP at the center of  American politics.

   There may possibly be truth in both of those views, however, I have come to believe that the Republican party and the conservative movement are not losing the battle of ideas, it is not that the ideals and values of the GOP and conservatism are not representative of those of the American people.

  In my view we are losing the battle of perception. The problem we are having in winning over new voters, both for the GOP and from the ranks of the growing pool of independent voters is how we are perceived by the majority of voters.

  So what is the perception of the Republican  Party and the conservative movement?

  Currently that perception is most influenced by what has become known as the TEA Party, but what is more accurately titled the TEA movement. The term TEA grew out of the feeling by a large number of citizens that we were, “taxed, enough, already”, but has grown into a movement that now seems to have no real direction nor goal. The TEA movement has been taken over by any number of sub groups with wide-ranging, separate agendas.

  What was once a movement of rallies and marches to demonstrate a discontent with the size of government and the tax burden that goes along with it, has now become little more than a hodge-podge of groups that spends most of their time attempting to show their conservative credentials.

  In reality there isn’t really even a TEA movement any longer, due to the constant bickering the movement has splintered into any number of movements.

   Now you would think that since the TEA movement has splintered, that it would have lost any influence that it once held over the GOP, and to some extent, this is true. However what is happening, is that though the TEA movement no longer seems able to move the GOP in one direction or another, even so,  the sub groups are still seen as being the face and voice of the Republican party, or at least the media is more than willing to paint them as such. And in so doing, any negative behaviour of these groups is attributed to the GOP.

  We as a nation, and as a state here in Delaware are currently having a debate how best to solve the ongoing issue of gun violence and mass shootings. I do not want this to turn into a debate about that problem, I am merely using it as an example of how we in the conservative movement and the Republican party are losing the battle based largely on perception.

  The problem as I see it is that there is a loud and vocal faction within the GOP and the conservative movement that believes the best way to make their argument is to constantly state that the liberals and the Democrats and government are coming to take our guns, that the proposals that have been made by Pres. Obama and in Delaware by Gov. Markell  are a direct assault upon the 2nd Amendment.

  These people use words like tyranny and confiscation. They become loud when speaking on the issue. Some of them speak of armed revolution. They say things like, “they can have my gun when they pry it from my cold dead fingers”.  When they are opposed they resort to calling people names like RINOs, liberals, tyrants, stupid or worse.

  Their clarion cry is, “UNCONSTITUTIONAL!”. Any law that they disagree with become unconstitutional. Many of these people have but a passing relationship with the document at best, and have mostly gathered what they do know, from the talking points hurled at them at some sub group meeting that gathers to make their members feel as if they are actually making a difference.

  Some of these angry people have actually run for office, they delude themselves that they are in the majority and cannot lose, and when they do lose elections, well then it is always some grand conspiracy, it is never because they are angry and out of touch with the citizens.

  It is when these angry, narrow-minded, intellectually vacant people run for office and are afforded a stage to propagate their tiny shriveled view of what conservatism is, that they are most dangerous to the conservative movement, the Republican party, and to the future of the nation.

  It is when they have any sort of stage at all that the media then is able to label them Republican, they are said to be representative of Republicans and conservatism, and why not? Do they not continually tell everyone and anyone that they are the deciders of who is or is not a true conservative?

  These people are held up as examples, when in reality they are little more than a noisy pest.

  The question that the Republican party and conservatives must ask ourselves is, do we want to be known for shouting down our opposition as we run up and down the aisle of some meeting, waving our arms in the air, shouting “TYRANNY! TYRANNY!”?  And be perceived as nothing but the fringe lunatic?

  Or do we want to be known for being reasonable and for winning, by using logic and reason to convince people  our ideas and values are actually the better alternative?

   Let us take the issue of gun ownership once again, instead of talking about the attack on the 2nd Amendment, something that most average citizens, either doesn’t understand or doesn’t believe is happening, maybe we should be talking about why the proposals that have been made will not help protect our children in schools.

  Maybe instead of dividing our citizens, we should be attempting to unite them. Instead of calling the people we disagree with names, maybe we should be seeking ways to communicate our ideas better.

  As long as we allow these fringe elements to be the face and the voice of the GOP and conservatism, we will be allowing the media and our opposition to paint the entirety of conservatism and the Republican party as the fringe lunatic, and we will continue to lose elections, not because our ideas are not good and right, but because of how we are perceived in the media and by the citizens.




19 Responses to “Perception”

  1. Sussex DE Says:

    Good post Frank.

  2. Dave Jones Says:


    The TEA party became an adolescent and is now stuck there. The goals are good, their media relations horrific. People do not care about abortion, it’s staying legal for decades, people do not care about gay marriage, soon to be law in Delaware, people do not care about the alleged abuse of Constitutional principles because, sadly, that part of history is rarely taught anymore. However people do care about keeping their mortgage paid, is their kids school safe, and can they get health coverage along with navigating the intricate maze of long term care for aging parents.

    Yet, the vaunted social conservatives, especially on the national level, have so hijacked the agenda that we are losing the young and women. They want to export the “illegals” who cut our grass and make our pizza. They are hateful, intolerant and in a society where interacial couples are accepted, gay couples hold hands in public and church attendance is down, they continue to spout views that condemn on one hand and imply righteous purity on the other.

    Our social fabric has changed dramatically and who knows if it’s evolution; commoner’s could never marry royalty yet look at Prince William and Kate Middleton today.

    As a result, others and myself are working on a local innoculation plan for House candidates that can buy them “cover” against such moronic comments re: abortion or (here I go) candidates who lack resumes, etc.

    Finally, if the Tea party gang wanted to be effective, they’d volunteer, write 10.00 checks and understand that politics is a 1/2 loaf business. You never get all of you what you want.

    The D’s have the Progressives, we have the Akins of the world yet most of the world is in the middle which means as R’s we need creativity, ideas and …..politeness for a differing view.

    I’ll never forget the death threat from an O’Donnell supporter towards former party chairman Ross. He said he was going to kill him. i saw the email. The words kill you were there in black and white.

    That’s how you win elections by threatening to kill people?

    Michelle Rollins said it best: the best social issue is having a job where you can support your family.

  3. frankknotts Says:

    Dave, while I agree that we need a makeover of our tactics and that we cannot allow the haters within the party to be the voice and the face of the GOP, I still believe that we can discuss the social issues, but we have to do it in a way that encourages conversation on the issues and get away from the idea of “total war”, where we believe that if we do not destroy our enemies completely, then we have won nothing.
    I believe there is room for compromise on all of those issues you listed, the problem is as you say, the Democrats have their own fringe lunatic.
    I have had to do some soul searching and inward looking to understand that I was once one of the shouters and name callers. I understand now that this will only cause people to shut down and refuse to listen to what I have to say, no matter how good the idea may be.
    Unfortunately their are some within the party with a self inflated sense of self worth that believe that they are the only way and that everyone else is either stupid or a flaming liberal. And while there are some of both, the majority of the American people are just trying to get by and protect their children, not just from killers with guns, but from a societal rot as well. We can win some over and some we never will, but if the GOP is allowed to be seen as nothing but a bunch of people who shout slogans, with no solutions to back them up, we will simply fade away.

  4. Dave Jones Says:

    I concur. This is why none of my candidates ever do questionaire’s. DSEA does 5 mailings for you if your endorsed. The TEA party groups send an email….. to their member’s. Joy.
    If they ever got serious about being serious politicians that would be one thing for as St. Paul wrote, “faith without works is dead.”
    Until they wise up they need to be ignored for they produce zero in terms of electing people. DSEA provides, money and man power.Guess whom my guys are more anxious to break bread with?
    You don’t get a vote until you win and you don’t win until you can get elected.

  5. Laffter Says:

    Good post Frank

    BOTH sides have their lunatic fringe. The issue is do you allow them to be your voice or your face?
    The only way to stop that is to not let the adolescent become the loudest voice in the room. ( nice analogy Dave Jones).

    See, the TEA party, while they were mad about takes, which I fully understand allowed them to be loud and unruly. poor Tom Ross, lets call him Dad. The adolescent brought in their gang for fellow,adolescent and thru the bully tactics and shouting and threats got the keys to to car, the house and the curfew lifted.

    What MOM AND DAD should have done is call their bluff and kicked them out of the house until they were hungry and cold and wanted to come back home.

    But there were other, aunts and uncles, that wanted what MOM and DAD had… they thought they would promise the adolescent certain things and thought they could control the adolescent. And guess what….mom and dad left the home, aunt and uncle moved in and the adolescent ran wild.

    Maybe a bad analogy. But it does seem to fit….bottom line, let the kid yell and scream and carry on, pay no attention to them, eventually they will grow up or become so marginalized that no one listenes to them

    Sadly, politicians fell prey to the threats, let the teenager move out, they can’t work legally, so they will run out of money. Or break the law to make some .. Either way, you, the adult wins

    LOUD does not equal a MAJORITY….

    MOVING FORWARD, there are some bridges to be mended here. The GOP needs to stop pandering to the fringe. The name calling needs to stop, and the dialogue needs to be mature

    The fringe on both side needs to be marginalized ( but never ignored ) and for Pete’s sake leave the religion at home

    Politics and religion make for bad bedfellows and should never mix. Acknowledge some of our founding ideals but religion based ideals have no place in the halls of congress or City Hall.

  6. Laffter Says:

    Frank….wanna make Moseley and Ayotte absolutely crazy? Read this article….
    Blows them both out of the water

  7. FrankKnotts Says:

    Very good points. Let me take the child analogy one step further. I hope they grow up and have children just like them. And I think they have. The child yelled to be listened to as an adult, and got their way. Now they are grown up(sort of!) and now they have to hold a job(read position within the party), and pay the bills(read win elections) and because they wouldn’t listen to their parents(read so called establishment), they have no idea how to do any of this. So now their children are starting to think that mom and dad are idiots and will soon move on and when mom and dad fall on bad times, the kids will refuse to even answer their phone calles, (read no help for fringe candidates like Don Ayotte’s county council race).

  8. FrankKnotts Says:

    Laffter, let me add one thing on your point about religion, while I may agree that a candidate that wears their faith on their sleeve has limited appeal, I believe that a person of true faith will bring that faith to their office through their practices, not by just claiming to be faithful.

    • Laffter Says:

      I could not agree with you more. True faith is not chest pounding and proselytizing . Like love, it is humble, and meek, and rather understated.
      But, those that have it are very obvious and those that don’t, but CLAIM they do, are just. As. Obvious. and their hypocracy reeks and is an abomination……

  9. waterpirate Says:

    Dave Jones clearly defines my continued exception to the sussex gop’s lusting after the values of 1950. Thank you sir.

    Regardless of the letter that falls after your name, moving forward is truly about common sense. Can I support my family, provide for my children, and provide a future. I am sick and tired of hearing about the rapeing of our seniors future and entitlement programs being the only way to fiscal responsability. Common sense and balance dictates the way to trim the fat from budgets,….. is to trim the fat. Not trim the needed programs.

    We can all agree that the problem with govt. is the govt. Its continued expansion for the sake of itself and expansion is the problem. The state of DE, being as guilty as the feds in this regard. The anology of a petulant child is valid IMO and my continued call for party leaders who are still working to provide what I described above, would be an excellant start to the rebuilding proccess.

    Lest my comments be discounted due to anonimity, My true identity is Eric Sackett, I just prefer my to use my internet persona

  10. FrankKnotts Says:

    Waterpirate, I think that we can agree that there has been a lack of consistant leadership, some good and some not so much. The GOP cannot afford to lose reasonable people, while allowing the more radical to control the party. Believe me when I say I understand your frustration, I have been there. If it were easy everyone would want to do it. The fact that you are involved at all show that you care. Stay involved, that is how we change the face and the course of the GOP.

  11. Laffter Says:

    Of course I am no saint, I do like to rile up the opposition sometimes, but that said, when some fool comes back at me in an aggressive of nasty way

    Well, then it’s game on……probably should not admit this……but I do like to piss off the more unstable of the bunch….it’s kinda fun to see the threats and the bullying and how they reveal their true natures….

    I figure if they don’t lose it, well then they might deserve a chance…but when some sanctimonious, holier than thou prick lets their guard down and I can get to them….well, I am doing the world a favor in exposing who they really are….

    :-). But I am trying to be good – recently.

  12. kavips Says:

    This is one of the best posts I’ve read.

    • Laffter Says:

      As for Lil’ Nick- I don’t patronize it anyway so not going is not issue. What he did was selfish and self-centered- however it’s up to the family / friends to castigate.
      Lots of ass***** own businesses – we don’t always know who they are – so it’s a personal choice

      Yes, I do believe the State Police would do it for anyone, they did it for a friend of mine and went way above and beyond and no one knew her and she had no connections

      As for the IDJITS- wonderful term….no one but the Irish use it…..

  13. FrankKnotts Says:

    Laffter, I too am guilty of that, we might have a different tactic for doing this and sometimeas mine may be so subtle that they miss it, after all some of them are not that bright and only react to direct “PERSONAL” attacks which I do try to stay away from.
    And while those who are reactionary are troubling, it is the ones who are the agressers that are the most damaging to not only the GOP and the conservative movement, but to the entire political discourse process. Some of these people actually believe that the best tactic to move their agenda is to be angry and agressive. They seek not to engauge others in a debate or even a political fight, they seek only to silence their opposition with bullying and name calling.
    Both political ideologies must move their fringes to the sidelines where they belong, not silence them but quiet them so that the real political work can be done by those with a more reasoned view points.

  14. waterpirate Says:

    I was taught in kindergarden ” leave those kids alone, they are special “. The writer over there said that he feared the elections in March would have a negtive outcome. When I asked him for whom it would be negative, he declined as allways to answer an inteligent querry. I look at it this way, it is never ending change, and the swing of the pendulum. The pendulum went hard right and allmost broke the needle stop, but I have hope for it getting back to something that is more palatable for ” sane, normal ” people.

    I hope that the sane disscussion and postings continue here, cause Elvis has left the building over there.

    Also what is with all the folks at DL crab assing on Little Nicky??? If he needs an attitude adjustment, it is clearly his wifes place to do so, lol!, not a bunch of santimonious idgits who are boycotting the business cause little Nicky went on walk about????

  15. frankknotts Says:

    Wp, well the way the “sane” people regain control is to not surrender the field to those who nothing but yelling. You stay in and point them out for who they are.
    As for the Nick Jr. story? Well I feel that it is and always was a family issue, my only take was if it had been me or you, would the State Police have gone to the same lengths as they did for him?

  16. waterpirate Says:

    I think DSP would have performed the same, regardless of who it was. The only difrence would have been that you and I are not news worthy. lol

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