What The Right Should Learn From Bob Costas

Let me say upfront I think the “logic” of Costa’s and Whitlock’s position is flawed to say the least (Ace nailed it yesterday). What I’m not however is outraged that Costas took the opportunity to say it. He’s a liberal and NBC is a liberal network. It’s what they do.Complaining about them mixing sports/entertainment and politics is about as useful as complaining about the weather.

With that said, there’s a lesson here for the right, something we’ve been talking about since the dismal failure of Romney on election day…culture matters.

If you think it’s wrong to talk about a political issue when engaging a cultural activity like a football game you are conceding a lot of the battlefield to liberals. Sure it would be nice if liberals would leave their idiotic politics at the door but they don’t and they never will. Instead of either retreating from these spaces or sitting quietly by while the left has total possession of the field, we are going to have to engage in these spaces too.

The challenge will be to do so in an effective way. This is an area where I think the right has a communications problem. We tend to talk to persuadable types or low information people as if it is manifestly obvious they should agree with us. Obviously it’s not.

Take guns for instance. If you start off talking about the 2nd Amendment or gun ownership being the last against tyranny, you’re going to lose most people right off the bat. Arguments like that are too conceptual and usually too extreme for people who aren’t highly motivated one way or another. If you want to protect gun rights, tell everyone you know about Alex The Chick’s story.

Until we effectively connect our policy preferences to the concrete reality of people’s lives, we’re going to be in trouble.

I loathe how liberals substitute emotion for reasoning but the fact is conservatives rely far too much on concepts and intellectual arguments when trying to talk to non-conservatives. The reality is people relate more to stories, to other people and yes, to emotions when trying to make up their mind about something.

Think of pop-culture. What’s a more effective way to reach people? A documentary that hammers home a point of view with facts and figures or a blockbuster action film with a clear message woven into the subtext?

Costas didn’t care about the setting or the facts. He had a point of view and was willing to play off emotion to advance his goals. Whether or not he was effective in doing so is questionable, the lesson remains…politics and culture are inseparable. We need to accept that and find more ways to make our arguments part of the culture.

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About Drew

I blog about politics and hockey because I sort of understand those things. I'd blog about women but I'll never understand them.

Posted on December 4, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. QAWSEDRFGTHYJUIKLOP;['

    b

  2. “We tend to talk to persuadable types or low information people as if it is manifestly obvious they should agree with us. Obviously it’s not.”

    This is why we need to drop opposition to an upper-income tax hike. Low-information types simply don’t agree with us, and all of the arguments about how it snares small businesses (who employ these voters) are met with empty stares.

    I like how you want to engage in the culture battles and not ignore them. One way to turn the tables would be to challenge Costas to name the new laws he advocates that would have prevented this murder-suicide. This was a wealthy man. Not a street purchase. Challenge Costas and his defenders to name the new restrictions on the Second Amendment, then they have to defend them. Win.

  3. “Until we effectively connect our policy preferences to the concrete reality of people’s lives, we’re going to be in trouble.”

    That nails it. Very good post, like I was reading my own thoughts.

    I only recently came to this realization myself. I work around 20- and 30-somethings and they only relate this way, at least at this point in their lives. They are aware of principles and concepts, but they are considered only after they are processed through their ‘me’ filter: What does this mean to ME?

    Conservatives have this understanding the other way around: Establish and adhere to principles first, then good things will happen. This is the cultural struggle we face.

  4. If I imagine my insanely liberal mother’s response should I have related these (Alex’s and Belcher’s) stories to her, she would have screamed that Belcher’s girlfriend (and Alex) shouldn’t HAVE to buy and learn to use guns…the government should ban ALL guns and we all would live happily ever after. It would be a screaming, circular argument. You are right, “I loathe how liberals substitute emotion for reasoning but the fact is conservatives rely far too much on concepts and intellectual arguments when trying to talk to non-conservatives.” But liberals’ emotional thought processes have been so thoroughly embedded by the Gramscian march for all these decades that I think we have no possibility of getting this country back. They have no real thought processes anymore to for us to try to change.

  5. Anyone who thinks that a professional football player needs a gun in order to hurt or kill a young woman is hardly going to be persuaded by logical arguments – especially if they also believe that using a gun couldn’t possibly have given that woman a chance to stop her attacker.

  6. Yep, as it’s been said- ‘You may not be interested in political involvement, but political involvement in interested in you’. Okay, it was war, not political involvement, but same thing really. We can’t pretend any longer that politics is something personal, it isn’t.

  7. The problem with “engaging” people like Costas is that they have no intention in an intelligent – or fact based – debate.

    They stay in the back of their cages and throw poo.

    Its what they do,.

  8. Make everything political. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

    If someone cuts in line at the checkout, start bitching about racism, age discrimination, sexual preference discrimination, etc.

    Its what Alinski would do.

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