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Rorschach Republicans

If you come across the word ‘liberty’ and instantly equate that with ‘Ron Paul Nutter’, you might be a Rorschach Republican.

If you see a picture of Chris Christie featured in an article and immediately spew reasons he should not be president without reading the article, you might be a Rorschach Republican.

If you encounter a Jon Stewart video and comment about how awful he is without reading the introductory paragraph of the poster, you might be a Rorschach Republican.

If you see the words ‘immigration reform’ and ALWAYS translate that to ‘amnesty’, you might be a Rorschach Republican.

If you saw the title of THIS article and said ‘I’m a conservative (or libertarian), not a Republican; this doesn’t apply to me’ and ignored it, you might be a Rorschach Republican.


Does any of that sound familiar?  If so, no wonder.  I’ve seen each one of those situations occur recently.  And to tell you the truth, it’s embarrassing.

It’s the left that is rigidly, dogmatically lockstep about their politics.  It’s the liberals who are all about silencing other views.  It’s progressives who are experts at demonizing people and ideas that they don’t approve of.  And it’s the Democrats who campaign on slogans rather than facts.

Right?  RIGHT?

But the incidents above make me question just what some people are doing on the rightward end of the spectrum.

Each week, we at Free Radical Network get together with friends from The Party of Choice and The Conservative Union at a Google Hangout we call The Refinery.  Our main purpose for nearly a year has been to discuss and refine conservative messaging: what works, what doesn’t, what we should do more of, what we need to toss in the scrap heap.  We take stories in the news and talk about HOW to talk about them.  No, we aren’t experts or well-paid commentators; we’re just passionate conservatives who want to figure out how to WIN.

We’re not into ranting or regurgitating the news.  There are plenty of places for that online.  What makes us different is that we focus on solutions.  We already know what the problems are, we already know how bad things have been.  We don’t need an update on the Outrage of the Day.  We get it.  We want to go past those things, and talk very specifically about what we can DO about all those things.

In that vein, we often end up discussing issues that are uncomfortable, or political figures that have a less than ideal record.  And the discussions in our chat are always thought-provoking and in-depth, as our audience comes to engage with ideas and challenge themselves with new ways of thinking about things.

And every week, in fact nearly every day, we snip a few minutes of video to share for those people who don’t have two hours to sit in front of a computer screen.  Folks who don’t have time for the whole show can watch a short segment and still engage and comment on the ideas we’re discussing.  We share those bits so that people who miss The Refinery can still be a part of the audience, can still debate the ideas, tactics, and strategies we bring up.

And I have to tell you, nothing is more disheartening than to share a meaningful discussion about, say, Chris Christie demolishing union talking points and how we can learn from that, only to find that there are folks who encounter the post we share who:

  • Don’t bother to watch the video
  • Comment based solely on the image of (or mention of) Christie
  • Add nothing at all to the conversation we actually had

I used to call these people ‘knee-jerks’ but now I think it’s even more basic than that.  What these people do is surf their feeds on social media, encounter an image or name that gets their dander up, and reflexively comment without bothering to explore the content itself.  That’s not thinking; that’s emoting.  And it’s particularly ineffective.  What’s more, it makes these people prime targets for satire news sites, or fake news clickbait sites, boasting headlines like: “Obama To Force Congress To Let Him Run For An Illegal 3rd Term In 2016″.  If you don’t pay attention to the content before you share it, you can easily be influenced to share false, misleading, or debunked information.  And that damages the credibility of ALL of us.

If you want to emote your politics, have at it.

But stop pretending that you are a serious person thinking about and discussing issues.

Stop pretending that you are interested in winning rather than venting.

And stop expecting people to take you seriously.

There are elections to be won.  There is a culture to influence.  There is a country to save.  While you’re indulging your emotions, we’re going to go work on those things.

And if you aren’t a Rorschach Republican, or you are but want to stop acting like one, join us live on Tuesday nights, or check out the snips we created on the Conservative Union channel.  We promise you’ll be glad you did.