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  • Stay On Message

    The following is an excerpt from the book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.”

    Attacks in political warfare are like parasites. They usually cannot survive merely on their own, so they need to attach themselves to a host to sustain them. Usually the one being attacked ends up being the host, thus springing the trap. The point of an attack is to distract you, so that you violate the 9th of my 10 Commandments of Political Warfare—Stay on Message.

    The Left sets the trap by baiting you to respond to their silliness in a way that gives them access to your audience. They will hound you and hound you until you do. Depending on your resolve and the intensity of the attacks, it takes some longer than others to wear down. Most of their attacks are not really a story outside of the Left’s own enclaves until you respond, and then once you do you’ve given the media the excuse it’s been looking for to really crank up the jamming techniques.

    You neither want to blow up your opponent’s attack nor blow it off. You want to respond in kind (just right). If someone rips you in the comment’s section of your buddy’s blog that 10 people read, don’t blow it up in front of your 500 Facebook friends with short attention spans. Respond in kind on the platform they attacked you with or don’t respond at all.

    If you’re in leadership, or aspire to be, this would be a good time to note the thin line between insulation and isolation. Isolation creates a bunker mentality when we become thin-skinned and see enemies everywhere. But good leaders are insulated to a point from criticism and scrutiny. It’s not that they don’t hear it, but it’s little more than “hey batter swing” chants like they heard when playing Little League baseball back in the day. It’s just background noise. They’re aware of it enough to know what’s going on and to make sure they don’t develop a tin ear, but they focus on the big picture because they’re confident in the courage of their conviction.

    Like in Star Wars during the assault on the first Death Star, when Luke Skywalker is distracted by all the cannons and explosions going on around him, and is encouraged to “stay on target.”

    If you want to stay on target, there are six things you need to remember.

    1. All the damage from a contrived attack is self-inflicted. If you avoid the trap, attacks become excellent opportunities. As you read earlier, the only damages that come from being attacked are self-inflicted—either because the attack was true or your response was insufficient. Otherwise an attack gives you a platform to restate your case/mission statement/objective/policy.

    2. Never argue down unless you can turn it to your advantage. When someone sends me a negative note on social media, I will check to see how many friends they have on Facebook or how many Twitter followers they have before responding. If they have about as many or more than me, I will try to respond if for no other reason than to get access to their platform. If I have substantially more than them, I will ignore them unless there’s a chance to take their attack to my audience and use it as a hook (reason) to justify restating my message.

    The same goes for radio shows and/or websites that attack me. If they’re bigger or on the same scale as me, I take advantage of the opportunity. If they’re not, they don’t matter and are probably just trying to instigate me giving them access to my platform. Now, if the attack from someone with a smaller platform is so over the top that it fulfills every stereotype I’m constantly warning my audience about so I can use it to my advantage, then I will bring it to their attention because it’s like a hanging curve ball just begging to be hammered over the fence.

    The one exception is if the attack manages to make its way to your friends/peers/audience/constituents, and you start hearing a lot of feedback from the people that matter most to you. If that’s the case then you may need to respond in those situations because your credibility and/or team morale could be at stake.


    Read more at stevedeace.com


    Steve Deace

    Talkers Magazine Heavy 100 National Talk Show Host. Author of Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again. Washington Times contributor. Steve's new book Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again is out now.

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