It’s About Communication

There was a small media grumbling yesterday when Paul Ryan came out of his media silence, now that the inaugeration is over. He’s claiming communication was the major problem with his and Mitt Romney’s campaign. If the Republicans are smart, they’ll listen carefully because Paul Ryan is absolutely right.

Ryan Rally

Photo courtesy of Heidi Mittelberg.

Ryan explained what he thought was the main reason for the failure of the Republican ticket: failure to communicate. Quoted by Reuters, Ryan said,

“We have to do a better job of explaining and demonstrating why our ideas are better on such issues as fighting poverty and helping people move up the ladder of life…There are a lot of people who just don’t think or know that we have good ideas on these fronts.”

Paul Ryan is right on two fronts.

First, he’s right that conservatives have better ideas on the issues, like that of poverty and economic mobility. I stayed close to the campaign in the last cycle and thoroughly enjoyed seeing Ryan lead the charge in explaining the difference between big government and a strong working class, between higher taxation and fiscal responsibility, between a big brother state and individual freedom. The elect chose for the former, and it is the lesser of two ideas for our country.

But the second front is much more intersting – and disturbing – in my opinion: People don’t know that conservatives have good ideas. These ideas are not packaged and delivered with confidence. Instead, the Republicans feel they need to apologize for their conservative ideas or repackage them to coverup their true conservative roots. It’s as if they’re not quite confident enough to believe in conservatism.

The result? Conservative don’t believe the Republicans are the ones that will champion their values. Instead, they vote for Democrats, because the voter is convinced that they will solve for their issues they care about.

Take for example these three issues: national debt, unemployment, the sanctity of life. When I talk with democrat voters, I find that they are conservative on the issues. But you know what? They’ve been persuaded that Obama will pay off the debt, that Democrats will create jobs, and liberals understand the value of life better than conservatives.

There are ton of Obama voters who would say this: “Yes, I believe in the free market, in small businesses, and in the sanctity of human life…but I believe Obama will be a better president.” Folks, that is a communication problem. Plain and simple.

Ryan ran for Vice President of the United States and failed, much to my huge disappointment. He and I used to ride bikes together and play basketball in school, so you can imagine that I wanted nothing but the best for him. It’s surreal to have an old friend be forerunner to the most powerful leadership position in the world. And so disappointing when it doesn’t work out.

But what is more disappointing is seeing leaders shy away from principles they know would help improve our country. There is no reason to shy away from the truth that sets people free. Conservatives need to articulate and package their message much better than they did in this last election.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Very interesting indeed! I wonder if we can expect to see your friend Paul push the conversation forward over the next few years? What we don’t need to do is wait until the next election to hear the voice of reason. If Ryan really wants to have a shot in the next election, then he needs to openly dialog with the people of our nation every moment he gets between now and then. It seems foolish to me that we don’t hear or think about these issues on a regular basis instead of just election day – 8 months. Start showing us who you are now Paul! Be our leader and representative while we don’t think we need one!

    • I’m hesitant to blame Paul Ryan for the lack of communication. I went to two of his rallies and watched him closely in the press. His speeches were articulate and spot on and motivating, which is why I think he was an excellent choice for VP.

      The Republican establishment, however, seems ashamed of their ideas. They try to hide it. My question is, what in the world do they have to hide? As Paul Ryan said in one of his best speeches, “We welcome the debate!” Paul wants to meet the challenge, but the establishment seems prone to run.

      That’s how I’m reading Paul’s latest comments. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I suspect Paul is disappointed at the lack of back up from the party. Sarah Palin sure did, too, back in ’08.

      • Don’t mistake my comment as blaming Paul Ryan for what happened during the recent campaign. I agree that he is a very articulate speaker who generally did a good job for the role that he was in.

        You are correct that the Republican party spends too much time apologizing for what should be non-negotiable core beliefs. A little bit of true conviction would go a very long way. I read an article today about the abortion debate going on in our nation. The writer keyed in on the idea that the “pro-choice” side needed to stop arguing about whether it was life. She personally admitted her belief that life begins at conception, but that she doesn’t consider that life to be of enough value to matter. I have a very different opinion, but the thing I appreciated is her willingness to step out with such a controversial position. This is seldom seen. What I found interesting further into the article was how she applauded Planned Parenthood’s most recent video. You see, Planned Parenthood is trying to push us away from a black and white understanding of “Pro-life vs Pro-choice” and into a relativistic discussion based upon individual desires. This is the sort of thing that feeds into the political system. Politicians are too busy worrying about offending people with no basis for their actions and decisions instead of holding fast to the convictions of our God.

        That was a bit of a long sidebar, but what I want to get across is that I absolutely believe Paul Ryan is a good man with a true desire to serve God and bring about necessary change in our nation. I would love to see a Paul Ryan presidential ticket for the next election! The best way for that to happen is for Paul to stick to what he championed during the campaign. Along with that, we need to see him! I know that media coverage is very biased and that there is a lot of money and effort put into keeping the right spin going for our current president, but we need Paul Ryan sticking to his guns and making big enough waves that people take notice. I want to hear Paul Ryan speaking out on the issues that he faces in the capitol. I want to hear about what is broken and how he thinks it can be fixed. Let’s see Paul raise awareness over the next 4 years.

  • I hope that it’s true that Republicans (rather, the party) are more conservative than they let on. That unfortunately makes them seem cowardly for not speaking out more confidently on important issues, but I can empathize with fear. I CANT empathize with a disregard for life and freedom. I’m disappointed that every election since I’ve been old enough to vote, I’ve had to make the choice to “waste” my vote on a third party or vote for candidates I didn’t trust. 🙁

  • Bea76

    I think you are missing something Chris. You believe that if the republicans running for office push more conservative ideas they will win the majority of votes. If republicans went that way I probably never vote for one again. The problem (in my opinion, obviously) is that because of the tea party the majority of republican candidates are going off the deep end to the point that a fair number of people look at them and what they are proposing and go “If that’s a Republican, oh heck no I’m not voting for any of them”. I have many friends that are dismayed with what the party is doing because they’ve more so far out there. Also the talking points republicans are using are important to them but go against the grain of a lot of people. You can have your believes about religion, abortion, etc but why the need to shove it down my throat and try to force me to agree?

    • The democrats have their view of religion, abortion, marriage, etc. and shove it down my throat all the time. It’s everywhere on TV, print media, social media. Why is it that expressing their point of view is free speech but expressing my point of view is intolerance, discrimination and hate speech?

      • Bea76

        You have a point Gaylene. The one distinguishing factor to me is that it is one thing to have the right to choose what you believe on a subject and follow that belief and another to have an opinion and then use government to take away my right. Personally I don’t believe in abortion for myself and live that belief. But if the government came out and abolished abortions then their beliefs forced me into a situation that I had no choice to think and act for myself. One persons beliefs don’t triumph another. Its funny to me because Republicans are viewed as the Christian bunch but just as many Democrats are Christians.