Debates are this way, too. No, seriously. I don’t care if a group of nuns are discussing how best to upgrade the convent kitchen; the moment one side senses an advantage, they press toward the kill:
“Sister Margaret, why are you walking in a shrinking circle around Sister Katherine?”
“Oh, just needed to stretch my legs. She’ll be finished—I mean, I’ll be finished soon. Now…(fingers tapping together)…where were we?”
Does aggression have a place? Can snark be a good thing? For my part, I say yes. Why? Because there are lots of Sister Margarets circling about, and if Sister Katherine doesn’t want her remaining days spent washing Margaret’s Lexus, she’d better change her approach. No, I’m not advocating aggression, but good guys must learn how to keep bad guys from pouring it on.
In our “Choice Words That Win” seminars, I mainly stress positive ways to break through with undecided voters. It’s friendly. It works. In fact, I even wrote an article on how to win by conceding a point (it's super effective, by the way). Problem is, even good people are persuaded when seeing one side hammering away. Watching someone taunt their victim is offensive, but somewhere in our psyche, we can’t help thinking their confidence proves they’re winning.
I’m reminded of the 2012 VP debate between Paul Ryan and Joe Biden. Going in, Biden was clearly outgunned by Ryan’s brilliance. This seemed like a mismatch—but I wasn’t so sure. I recalled how Biden had used a “nice, gentle guy” approach in dissecting Sarah Palin, leaving every undecided voter I knew saying, “We can’t have her a heartbeat from the presidency.” Never mind that Palin was a successful Governor while Biden was a blowhard Senator—didn’t matter. Palin could lead, but Biden knocked people off their game.
Against Ryan, Biden did little more than laugh at Ryan’s ideas. Did Ryan win on points? Sure. In fact, Biden offered virtually no solutions for America’s problems. But his mocking worked. Putting another opponent on defense, Biden knew Americans would conclude no one could taunt with such confidence if he wasn’t winning. The next day, Conservatives like me nervously protested Biden’s methods, but he had pulled off another miracle. Polls showed Ryan was more likable, but Biden had “won”—or at least held even. It was a disgustingly brilliant strategy.
So how do we deal with the Sister Margarets and Joe Bidens? The same way my Dad told me to deal with bullies as a kid: Punch ‘em in the nose. If you can’t avoid a fight, then stun them—throw them off their game. Dad was right. Any fight is awful, but bullies become unstoppable when not stunned.
In political discussions with liberals, “punching ‘em in the nose” doesn’t mean shouting someone down, but rather putting them on defense with quick “jabs.” I always tell people the weakness in virtually every Liberal position is their desire to control others—this is their “nose.” So, before giving them the upper hand, let’s look at quick ways to put Liberals on defense. Punching their control with quick statements on various issues, let’s grab the momentum.
(Note: The snarky, sarcastic comments are just for fun here…or for the virtue-free world of blogging…)
School Vouchers: My Opening Punch: “Do you want to control how other people’s kids are taught?”
- If they say “No,” respond with, “Then why not let them choose their kids’ schools? Why let 51% of the voters dictate where a mom can place her child? Did she spend nine months bearing a community baby?”
- If they say “Yes,” respond with, “Really? Then why stop there? Maybe you should weigh in on who their kid marries, or what religion they choose. Majority rules, right?”
Taxes: “Should one group be allowed to vote itself another group’s money?”
- If they say “No,” respond with, “Then why are Democrats allowed to promise tax hikes on targeted groups, like rich people or corporations? Those groups got their wealth by selling stuff we chose to buy, so didn’t we already vote? How do I stay off the Democrats’ targeted list? Join a union? Watch Jon Stewart? Celebrate Earth Day? Yell at cops? Personally, I want my money taken by people who sell me things I choose, not people who outnumber me at voting booths. I’m silly that way.”
- If they say “Yes,” respond with, “So, wealth is distributed according to majority rules, and not personal merit? What if a gang corners a businesswoman and ‘votes’ itself the contents of her purse? Is that only bad because they’re holding guns? Or knives? Or voting ballots?”
- If they say, “Only to keep things fair,” respond with, “Who decides what’s fair? The government? That’s just another way of saying groups can vote themselves your money.”
Gay Marriage: “Should other people have to live according to your beliefs?”
- If they say “No,” respond with, “then why force churches to provide services for lifestyles outside their beliefs? Why make Christian-owned businesses provide anti-Christian products? Why not let people freely sell what they sell, leaving the free market to reward or punish them for their message?”
- If they say “Yes,” respond with, “Should I start praying to you as well?”
- If they say “It depends,” respond with, “Then who decides when we have freedom? The majority? To what governing agency must I submit my request for freedom? Can I do it online?”
Gun Control 1: “Should law-abiding citizens be less armed than those who would do them harm?”
- If they say “No,” respond with, “But gun laws are only followed by law-abiding citizens, leaving victims less armed than villains. You do realize bad guys won’t limit their bullets, right?”
- If they say “Yes,” respond with, “Can we at least be equipped with handy T-Shirts sporting big targets on them? These should be tax-funded.”
- If they dodge, press the question until they can’t.
- If they say they’ll disarm criminals as well, respond by laughing for a minimum of 5 minutes. Then hold up you hand, asking for a moment to compose yourself. Then break into another 5 minutes of laughter. Then say, “No, but seriously…”
Gun Control 2: “Are people dangerous?”
- If they say “No,” respond with, “Then why worry about us being armed?”
- If they say “Yes,” respond with, “Then shouldn’t I arm myself for protection in this sea of dangerous people?”
- If they say “Some yes, some no,” respond with, “Then we don’t know when we’re in danger. For those of us with no violent history, shouldn’t we be armed in such unsafe surroundings?”
Illegal Immigration: Should there be any benefits to being in America legally, versus illegally? (I wish this would have been asked during the Loretta Lynch questioning)
- If they say “Yes,” respond with, “What are they?” This forces them to offer advantages for citizenship—which requires a secure border to protect advantages. They’re playing uphill.
- If they say “No,” respond with, “Then why is there an America at all? And why should we be the only country where citizenship is worthless? Why don’t you like America?”
Abortion: “Should the government force pro-life people to help pay for choices they oppose?”
- If they say “No,” respond with, “Then why do our tax dollars fund Planned Parenthood?”
- If they say “Yes,” respond with, “Should we start praying to you as well? Is your mother sinless too, or do we just pay her passing tribute, in Protestant fashion? I hope this isn’t one of those faiths where we kill innocent people while yelling how great you are, ‘cause I’m not ready for that kind of commitment.”
- Seriously, be ready for the predictable response, which is: “Well, anti-war people are forced to help pay for wars, so why should pro-life people be treated any different?”
- Then, punch the nose again: “I disagree with some wars and agree with others. But war is a collective decision, since it is done—or not done—on behalf of the whole nation. That’s why such decisions are made by elected leaders, since we all should have a vote in decisions affecting us all. Abortion is an individual decision, hence the slogan, ‘My body, my choice.’”
- And then, punch again: “If you use collective examples to justify controlling individuals, where does it end? Do you want all individual decisions controlled, or just the ones you don’t like? Is there a form I fill out to request that you like my choices? Can I submit it online?”
I could go on and on, but I already have. Knowing how uneasy some Conservatives feel about sarcasm, I must nonetheless insist we learn to play offense. Don’t forget, we’re dealing with the American Left. Wholly committed to controlling lives, their lust for control supersedes conscience or regret. If allowed to seize momentum, they’ll start circling, and I don’t want Conservatives becoming their prey.
Fair enough? I’m not asking you to sit in on nuns' meetings, yelling, “Give her the chair!” (though I might), but political discussions are better when you play to win. Got some Joe Bidens in your life? Then punch ‘em in the nose. Put ‘em on defense. Imagine they’re the ones wearing T-Shirts with targets on them, and imagine one big word beneath their targets: “Control.”
That’s the soft spot, folks. That’s their weakness; their addiction. That’s their nose.