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Framing the election before the progressives do

By Frank Salvato
web posted September 26, 2011

There is a great discontent emanating from the Democrat and Progressive base regarding President Obama's performance, a demographic he desperately needs if he is to succeed in his bid for re-election. Many in the traditional Republican circles, especially the so-called Republican strategists, argue that Republicans could run a teleprompter-reading "animatron" and win in 2012. This is a foolish and dangerous position to espouse but one that should come as no surprise. Republicans, since their first days as a party, have honed the skill of shooting themselves in the foot to perfection. If Conservatives and Republicans don't wake-up, evolve in their media tactics, get ahead of the message, frame their opponents and mandate the argument before the Progressives do, we could very well find Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office in 2013.

Steve Chapman, no stranger to the Chicago Progressive crowd, wrote in The Chicago Tribune:

"The vultures are starting to circle. Former White House spokesman Bill Burton said that unless Obama can rally the Democratic base, which is disillusioned with him, 'it's going to be impossible for the president to win.' Democratic consultant James Carville had one word of advice for Obama: 'Panic.'

"But there is good news for the president. I checked the Constitution, and he is under no compulsion to run for re-election. He can scrap the campaign, bag the fundraising calls and never watch another Republican debate as long as he's willing to vacate the premises by Jan. 20, 2013.

"That might be the sensible thing to do...."

Chapman continues by submitting his choice to replace Mr. Obama for the Democrat nominee in 2012:

"The ideal candidate would be a figure of stature and ability who can't be blamed for the economy. That person should not be a member of Congress, since it has an even lower approval rating than the president's.

"It would also help to be conspicuously associated with prosperity. Given Obama's reputation for being too quick to compromise, a reputation for toughness would be an asset.

"As it happens, there is someone at hand who fits this description: Hillary Clinton."

Hillary Clinton.

Truth be told, there has been a softening among the moderate Conservatives and Republicans where Mrs. Clinton is concerned. Some feel sorry for her, and for myriad obvious personal and professional reasons. Others believe that she would have been a better choice for the nation as president than Barack Obama. Regardless of their reasons, the fact remains that there is a contingent on the Right side of the aisle who have forgotten that Mrs. Clinton is, herself, a Progressive, and by her own admission.

During the 2008 Democrat Presidential Debates, when asked about her Liberal bona fides, Mrs. Clinton responded:

"I prefer the word Progressive, which has a real American meaning, going back to the Progressive Era at the beginning of the Twentieth Century. I consider myself a Modern Progressive...I consider myself a proud Modern American Progressive...that's the kind of philosophy and practice we need to bring back to American politics."

Hillary Clinton...a Modern Progressive...Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.

Herein lays the problem.

If Conservatives and Republicans allow the status quo, inside the beltway, establishment GOP (the good 'ol boy Republican hierarchy) to push "it's-my-turn" candidates; to continue fumbling about with the New Media; to continue tripping over the message as they try in vain to sell it to the mainstream media through the same old biased channels; to continue ignoring established new media strategists who know how to affect the grassroots; to continue to fail in partnering with the potent TEA Party Movement, the United States will assuredly end up with another dyed-in-the-wool Progressive in the Oval Office after 2012, and Republicans will be lucky to capture even one seat in the Senate.

While prodding the GOP powerbrokers into engaging 21st Century political mediums and axioms is just one hurdle that needs to be transgressed, Conservatives and Republicans must -- must -- educate the Independent and undecided voters, along with those in the Conservative and Republican circles, about one of the greatest threats to the continuation of the Great American Experiment: Progressivism.

The Progressive Movement -- and Hillary Clinton's "Modern Progressive" Movement is one in the same -- is, perhaps, the most damaging political movement that our nation has confronted. It is based in an ideology foreign to individual responsibility, liberty and sovereignty. It is a movement that believes in the power of the oligarchy and collectivism; that believes government has the right to intervene in every aspect of your life.

As explained at DiscoverTheNetworks.org:

"As progressives saw things, most societal flaws were attributable to capitalism's inherent injustices. Foremost among those flaws was economic inequality -- the plainly observable reality that some people lived in poverty while others basked in splendor...By progressives' reckoning, solving the foregoing problems would require government intervention on a very large scale. Affluent progressives in particular led the chorus of criticisms against the gap between rich and poor...

"According to R.J. Pestritto, author of 'American Progressivism', 'America's original Progressives were also its original, big-government liberals.' They set the stage for the New Deal principles of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who cited the progressives -- especially Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson -- as the major influences on his ideas about government. The progressives, Pestritto says, wanted 'a thorough transformation in America's principles of government, from a government permanently dedicated to securing individual liberty to one whose ends and scope would change to take on any and all social and economic ills.'

"In the progressive worldview, the proper role of government was not to confine itself to regulating a limited range of human activities as the founders had stipulated, but rather to inject itself into whatever realms the times seemed to demand. The progressives reasoned that although America's founders had felt it necessary to limit the power of government because of their experience with King George III, government, as a result of historical evolution, was no longer the menace it once had been; rather, they believed government had become capable of solving an ever-greater array of societal problems -- problems the founders could never have envisioned. Consequently, the progressives called for a more activist government whose regulation of people's lives was properly determined not by the outdated words of an anachronistic Constitution, but by whatever the American people seemed to need at any given time.

"This perspective dovetailed with the progressives' notion of an 'evolving' or 'living' government, which, like all living beings, could rightfully be expected to grow and to adapt to changing circumstances. Similarly, progressives also coined the term 'living Constitution,' connoting the idea that the US Constitution is a malleable document with no permanent guiding principles -- a document that must, of necessity, change with the times."

In fact, in the run up to World War II, the whole of the American Progressive Movement (The American Fifth Column) thought very highly of the fascism of Benito Mussolini and, stunningly, Adolf Hitler.

Again, as explained at DiscoverTheNetworks.org:

"Just as progressives were generally enthusiastic about socialist movements in the Soviet Union and Europe, they were also overwhelmingly supportive of the fascist movements in Italy and Germany during the 1920s and 1930s. 'In many respects,' writes journalist Jonah Goldberg, 'the founding fathers of modern liberalism, the men and women who laid the intellectual groundwork of the New Deal and the welfare state, thought that fascism sounded like...a worthwhile 'experiment':

"H.G. Wells, one of the most influential progressives of the 20th century, said in 1932 that progressives must become 'liberal fascists' and 'enlightened Nazis.' Regarding totalitarianism, he stated: 'I have never been able to escape altogether from its relentless logic...I am asking for a Liberal Fascisti, for enlightened Nazis.'

"After having visited Italy and interviewed Mussolini in 1926, the American humorist Will Rogers said of the fascist dictator: 'I'm pretty high on that bird...Dictator form of government is the greatest form of government,' Rogers wrote, 'that is, if you have the right dictator.'

"NAACP co-founder W.E.B. DuBois saw National Socialism as a worthy model for economic organization. The establishment of the Nazi dictatorship in Germany, he wrote, had been 'absolutely necessary to get the state in order.'

"Playwright George Bernard Shaw hailed Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini as the world's great 'progressive' leaders because they 'did things,' unlike the leaders of those 'putrefying corpses' called parliamentary democracies.

"FDR adviser Rexford Guy Tugwell said of Italian fascism: 'It's the cleanest, neatest, most efficiently operating piece of social machinery I've ever seen. It makes me envious.'

"American progressives, for the most part, did not disavow fascism until the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust became manifest during World War II. After the war, those progressives who had praised Mussolini and Hitler in the 1920s and 1930s had no choice but to dissociate themselves from fascism. 'Accordingly,' writes Jonah Goldberg, 'leftist intellectuals redefined fascism as "right-wing" and projected their own sins onto conservatives, even as they continued to borrow heavily from fascist and pre-fascist thought.'"

Progressivism. Barack Obama's Progressivism. Hillary Clinton's Modern Progressivism.

As the 2012 election cycle ramps up, President Obama, his team, Democrat elders and Progressive strategists have made a decision about how to re-capture the Oval. They have established their battle plan and it leans heavy on tactics perfected by Saul Alinsky in his book Rules for Radicals. The Obama 2012 campaign will go negative from the start.

Thomas DeFrank writes in The New York Daily News:

"Forget the utterly predictable spin from the White House - Barack Obama is in serious peril of being a one-term President.

"That's why Democratic Party elders know he has to hit the road - the low road.

"'No hope, no change,' a prominent Democratic strategist with close ties to the White House told the Daily News, referring to the uplifting message that won the day in 2008.

"'Time to make the other side the issue.'

"If the 2012 election is a referendum on Obama, which is usually the case for incumbents running for re-election, he will almost certainly lose.'"

The message...Progressives and the message.

So, now the obvious questions are these:

  • Can the establishment GOP deflate their egos enough to place the nation above their control of the Republican Party, if only for the upcoming election?
  • Can the establishment GOP move away from the "it's-my-turn" candidate selection addiction?
  • Can Conservatives unite; refraining from running a third-party candidate that would split the vote (ala Ross Perot), thus facilitating Mr. Obama's re-election?
  • Do we on the Right have enough dedication and courage to commit to exposing Progressivism and Progressive candidates for whom and what they are?
  • Can Conservatives and Republicans effectively deliver their message before Progressives frame the election debate?

The answers to these questions, regrettably, are as of yet undetermined. But, I will say this; we better formulate these answers immediately if we want to beat the Progressives to defining the debate, the message and the candidates. If they succeed in beating us to the punch, we lose. ESR

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director and Director of Terrorism Research for BasicsProject.org a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and education initiative. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His organization, BasicsProject.org, partnered in producing the original national symposium series addressing the root causes of radical Islamist terrorism. He is a member of the International Analyst Network and has been a featured guest on al Jazeera's Listening Post and on Russia Today. He also serves as the managing editor for The New Media Journal. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and was featured in the documentary, "Ezekiel and the MidEast 'Piece' Process: Israel's Neighbor States." He is a regular guest on talk radio including on The Captain's America Radio Show, nationally syndicated by the Phoenix Broadcasting Network and on NetTalkWorld Global Talk Radio catering to the US Armed Forces around the world. Mr. Salvato is also heard weekly on The Roth Show with Dr. Laurie Roth syndicated nationally on the USA Radio Network. His opinion-editorials have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, BigGovernment.com and are syndicated nationally. He is a featured political writer for EducationNews.org and is occasionally quoted in The Federalist. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at contact@newmediajournal.us.


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