Memo to the Grassroots: Stop Asking What You Can Do, and Start Doing What You Can
posted at 10:44 pm on October 18, 2009 by The Other McCain
“I sent Hoffman $40. Money I saved by being cheap elsewhere.”
— e-mail from a conservative friend
Whenever I am invited to speak to gatherings of conservative activists, there is always that moment afterwards when someone will ask the two eternal questions:
- “What the heck is wrong with those Republicans in Washington?”
- “What can I do to make a difference?”
Having come to Washington in 1997 at age 38 as a fairly new-minted conservative (as late as 1992, I was an enthusiastic Democrat with a Clinton-Gore bumper sticker on my ’78 Chevy Impala), I’ve figured out a lot about Eternal Question No. 1. The problems of the Beltway GOP infrastructure are complex and deep-rooted, but what’s basically wrong with the national Republican leadership can be summed up in a single word: “Everything!”
As to Eternal Question No. 2, the answer is similarly simple. If you ask me what you can do to change things, I will tell you to begin by doing what you can.
One of the problems that hinders grassroots activists from making a difference is that they see problems so big that they think to themselves, “What’s the point? I’m just one person. I’m not important. Why waste my time? There’s nothing I can do anyway.”
Such a self-defeating attitude is a guaranteed formula for failure. If you don’t believe you can do anything, well, it’s a safe bet that you won’t do anything. On the other hand, if you will seek out opportunities to do whatever little things you can do, you might be surprised how much you accomplish.
“Steady licks kill the Devil,” as they say. My thrify friend who sent $40 to help the Doug Hoffman campaign accomplished, by that one small deed, far more than any of his Republican friends who sit around whining about being ignored by the GOP leadership.
Michelle Malkin has been striking steady blows on behalf of the grassroots rebellion against that clown-car of clueless bozos at the RNC and NRCC, whose pathetic blunders in the crucial NY23 special election are the antonym of “leadership.” Hoffman’s media coordinator Rob Ryan has described this Nov. 3 special election in upstate New York as “a referendum on the future of the Republican Party.”
Yesterday, I heard from some of Hoffman’s grassroots supporters who are wondering why Sarah Palin hasn’t endorsed the Conservative Party candidate. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I’m not the only one who’s hearing the same drumbeat from conservative Tea Party people. Josh Painter at Texas for Palin has picked it up, too.
Waiting around to see what Palin is or is not going to do, however, is not likely to prove a winning strategy. The Hoffman staffers say the latest polls show they’ve got the momentum now. Doug Hoffman told me himself in our interview Friday night that his campaign is inviting Tea Party volunteers from around the country to come to upstate New York and provide “foot soldiers” for the final push toward Election Day Nov. 3. What the campaign needs more than anything, Hoffman says, is campaign contributions to match the big money the RNC and NRCC are funneling to his RINO rival — and that Democrats are pouring into the coffers of their candidate.
One of the problems is that the liberal media are either ignoring Hoffman or portraying him as a “spoiler.” Some clueless Republicans are buying into the MSM spin (which may explain why Newt Gingrich endorsed the RINO candidate), and this is doing exactly what the liberals want, namely to suppress fundraising efforts by conservatives.
Fortunately for Hoffman, Fred Thompson, Bill Kristol, the Club for Growth and the pro-lifers with the Susan B. Anthony List have seen through the spin and come out in support of the Conservative Party candidate. But I am personal friends with some of the people who are helping out with the campaign, and all of them say that getting more campaign contributions — not tomorrow, not next week, but right now — is their No. 1 priority.
All of which is to say that, going back to those conservative Eternal Questions, the answer to Question 1 is contained in the answer to Question 2: The reason the GOP national leadership is so out of touch is because too many grassroots conservatives don’t know how to fight back against the RINOs and sellouts and self-serving GOP headquarters staffers who collect fat paychecks for screwing up over and over again.
The friend who sent me that e-mail likes to say that if there were 535 of him on Capitol Hill, we’d balance the budget overnight and pay off the national debt within 10 years. Cheap? Buddy, you don’t know from cheap. He’s a thrifty New Englander who can squeeze the copper out of a penny. If they could get $40 out of that cheapskate, miracles can happen!
Instead of sitting around whining, “What can I do?” maybe some people should go read Doug Hoffman’s guest-column at The Boss’s site, or just go to Hoffman’s campaign Web site. Even if all you do is sign up for their e-mail list (or their Facebook page or Twitter feed), at least you’ll be wired into what is actually being done by people who are determined to do what they can.