What Republicans Could Learn From Alec Baldwin
"We're having a sales contest this month. First prize is a new car. Second prize? A set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired."
I admit it. One of my guilty pleasures is the movie "Glengarry Glen Ross" and the classic sales meeting scene with Alec Baldwin. While Socialist dictators like Hugo Chavez may be able to draw inspiration from Leftists like Alec Baldwin the man, Republicans could learn a thing or two from Baldwin's "in your face" confidence his character portrayed in this seven minute scene.
In the movie, Baldwin addresses a group of hardened, seasoned, streetwise, sales guy con artists who chew up their regular sales manager (Kevin Spacey) on a daily basis and spit him out. Yet Baldwin is not intimidated by these guys. He exudes confidence, strength and courage, putting the "tough guys" on the defensive.
If only Republican's could be so tough.
GOP Senators Lindsey Graham and Saxby Chambliss are the latest Republican leaders to go soft on Grover Norquist's "no tax pledge." Republicans fear the "Fiscal Cliff" fallout from voters for one reason alone. They realize the Democrats have done a better job of selling a tax increase on the "rich" to voters than Republicans have in selling how this would hurt the economy. Consequently, in the eyes of the American taxpayer, Republicans will get the blame, not Obama or the Democrats.
To me, the solution is really this simple: Sell Conservatism like you really believe in it.
Back in my old pre-radio life, I owned a Sales Training company. In my seminars, I used to teach sales professionals this basic principle: "If you have a genuinely good product you truly believe in, you have a right and an obligation to sell it with confidence." Well, I would argue that conservatives have a genuinely good product we can believe in - so, why in the world do we not sell it with confidence?
With the Fiscal Cliff looming, we know that raising taxes on individuals/couples making over $200,000/$250,000 a year hurts the poor and middle class more than anyone else. How? Through a depressed job market as well as weakened investments and GDP.
We know this, yet somehow we allow the Democrats to put us on the defensive as they accuse us of only wanting to "protect the rich." How can this be? Why aren't we strongly and boldly "fighting for the poor against the Democrats pro-poverty policies?" Our policies help the poor by growing them out of poverty through a stronger private sector.
We know this, and we have the statistics and history to prove it.
Rather than caving and playing defense, Republicans like Graham, Chambliss and others ought to be selling the truth boldly, with one unified voice, and going on the offensive. I say, go ahead and throw out some outrageous sound bytes without fear, such as:
"We will not let Obama and the Democrats hurt the poor anymore. 50 years is enough."
"The Democrats' days of exploiting and demeaning women are over."
"We will fight for college graduates against the Democratic Party lies that buy their votes, but keep them searching for work and inheriting trillions of dollars in debt."
That's right. Let's kick the hornet's nest and call it the way it is: "You Democrats are hurting the poor, hurting the youth and exploiting women and it's got to stop."
Now, no doubt, we would have to be ready. The media would jump all over it and the Democrats would go crazy. This is where we learn the fine art of counter-punching.
That's right. We actually fight back.
We sell the truth with bold confidence. Remember, conservatives don't need to convince everyone, just about 5-10% of the total. If conservative Republicans stood firm, united and resolute, they could, with confidence, sell a small percentage of female, poor and youth voters in the middle, which is all they need.
Instead, Republicans are caving, going weak, being defensive and letting the liberals define us and drive the debate. This Fiscal Cliff timidity is just the latest example of what's wrong with the Republican Party. Not its ideas, policies and platform, but its sad lack of confidence to go "all in" and sell the true superiority of these ideals......ideals, they're supposed to believe in.
If Republicans had just a fraction of the fierce confidence of Glengarry's Alec Baldwin, the polls would be showing support Norquist's position, not Obama's.