Alternate headline: Blogger reveals why she’s been slacking on HotAir.com for a year.
I’m excited to announce that my longtime friend and colleague, Guy Benson and I have written a book! It’s called…drumroll please and take a deep breath, so you can say the whole subtitle:
Coming in June 2015, but available for pre-order now!
There’s a coalition of blowhards and busybodies creating an ever-changing list of words you cannot say and things you cannot do. The increasingly weaponized public shame machine kicks into gear for anyone who crosses these ever-changing boundaries, making private citizens into social pariahs, taking away their livelihoods, and otherwise extracting economic costs for parting ways with the modern Left. The object is to win social and policy debates, not by having them, but by preventing them from happening.
Buzzfeed’s Katherine Miller today featured a news item from our interview with Gov. Scott Walker in the book. This is a taste of how he built a media strategy during his 2011 budget fight that allowed him to speak to the people of Wisconsin without being shouted down by some of the most intense outrage brigades the country has seen in years:
“At the height of the [anti-budget] union protests, when we were approaching 100,000 protesters at and around the Capitol, I finally got wise,” Walker tells Ham and Benson in an interview for the book. “I started holding press conferences at 5:00 because I knew that if I kept it concise, local television and some national outlets would cover it live. So I had an unfiltered way to talk to the state for about 10 minutes.”
The protests in 2011 were over Walker’s budget proposal, which, to meet a budget deficit, instituted significant increases to public-sector employees’ benefits and pension contributions, and limited their ability to collectively bargain.
That media control of Walker’s didn’t last forever, and he admits that the protesters figured out what he was doing and adapted.
“They started to get really loud right around 5 p.m.,” he says in the interview. “I’d be speaking to the press, and they’d make lots of noise. On one particular day, they were louder than they’d ever been, and a reporter asked me if those people had a right to be heard. And I said that they had every right to be heard, but that I wasn’t going to let tens of thousands of people — and some were bused and flown in from other states — drown out the voices of millions of people around Wisconsin who elected me to do exactly what I was doing.”
As the past week illustrates, every GOP candidate is going to have to be ready for the outrage circus, from activists and journalists alike, spinning up controversies under the most aggravating of double standards.
This is not a good way of doing business. What once was a country dedicated to using free speech to push boundaries has become a daily exercise in creating new and ever tighter boundaries on public discourse. And, if you cross them, you’ll get stunned like a puppy with an electric collar.
(A little behind-the-scenes look at some of the process, including book cover shoot)
This book is two parts examination, two parts venting of frustration. The double standards, the demagoguery, the utter dumbness of making every tiny story incident into something about which we must all be outrageously outraged (and, yes, our side does it, too, which we address). It can make life truly miserable, politics even stupider than it already was, and debate nearly impossible.
Welcome to the End of Discussion.
Available for pre-order now at EndofDiscussion.com! Please come see us at CPAC, where we’ll be taking orders and pictures. It’s a fun read on a serious topic, and we tried to write it in such a way that you could hand it to your moderate or liberal friends or family and hope to open their eyes to the increasingly stifling and intolerant society we’re creating—not just for conservatives, but for art, comedians, liberals in good standing, and everyone else.
It’s our first book, produced with the help of our friends at Crown Forum, who have more on the it, here.
We hope you’ll enjoy, and help us prevent the End of Discussion!