The Eclectic Quill

October 11, 2008

How to Talk to Republicans, A Guide to Converting Conservatives

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kelly @ 10:16 am

It is becoming increasingly apparent that this election is even more important than the last one, which is remarkable. With our economy in turmoil, fighting a two front war, Iran on the brink of having nuclear weapons, and there being nothing to suggest that things are going to get better our next President is crucial. Yet there are still some people that honestly believe that continuing to support the same sorts of policies that created all of these problems is the way to get out of them. We who know better can blame this on the Bush Administration and those who vote for him and there’s certainly a degree of legitimacy to that. Going forward though, we need to realize we have a responsibility to properly inform more voters to end this travesty.

We have to learn to talk to Republicans in a way that persuades them to change their vote. So far in this election cycle I have converted 17 conservatives to voting for Obama, but I still feel like I need to do more. To facilitate this I will begin a weekly guide from now to the election highlighting the week’s key stories and how to present them to Republicans. Please take the time to talk to your conservative friends in a responsible way. We need to make this election theft proof, and 11 points in the poll is not safe. Why do you think there’s been all this talk about the “Bradley Effect” of late? They are already trying to explain the difference between the polls and the results. Every vote will matter, including those of the people we know.

I believe that there are two types of Republicans the misinformed and the uninformed. Here how to discuss this week’s stories. Therefore in persuading Republicans on the key issues we need to first, properly frame the issues, thereby addressing the misinformed, and then we need to make are arguments, thereby properly informing them. Each week I will address the issues, the proper framing of them, and what voters need to actually know about them.



Perhaps the most misreported story is the ACORN story. It is shocking much difference there is between the actual story and the reported story. The story is that ACORN is piling up fraudulent voters. The suggestion is that all of these fraudulent voters are going to steal the election from Obama. Here’s what you need to need to know about this story.

  • ACORN is an agency which registers new voters, both Republicans and Democrats. They are a non-partisan group.
  • ACORN, as well as any agency which does get out the vote drives, is required by law to turn in all registration forms.
  • ACORN tries to verify the contact information of every single card. Those that aren’t verified are “flagged” and kept in a separate stack.
  • ACORN notified authorities that they had a large number of potentially fraudulent cards and were ignored until they were “raided” recently.
  • The reason that such a high percentage of those being reviewed are being found to be fraudulent is because they are reviewing the stacks of flagged cards.
  • Overall 99.8 percent of the 1.2 million voters ACORN has registered are legitimate.

The issue has been framed as a partisan group complicit in fraudulent voter registration. The actual facts indicate a non-partisan group concerned about fraudulent voter registration.

The Economy

Most people now have struggled with understanding what is happening with the economy and what has caused it to get so bad. Generally speaking the conservative spin machine has made this about the subprime mortgage crisis. Certainly subprime mortgage defaults have played a role in the recent events but the role is not as significant as suggested. Here’s what you need to know about the subprime mortgage crisis.

  • The laws which allowed for subprime mortgages were passed in ’95. Only 2 percent of these mortgages defaulted between ’95 and ’00. By themselves they would not have caused a crisis.
  • Since 1981 “Reaganomics” has been the operating paradigm of the Republican Party. This paradigm essentially says that the problem with the economy is that rich people don’t have enough money; if we just give them more cash and take regulation out of the way the free market will solve everything.
  • In 2000 Phil Gramm passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, heavily influenced by this false paradigm.
  • This Act allowed for mortgages to be bundled together and traded in what are called “swap markets” with no regulation whatsoever, essentially turning the entire mortgage industry into a crapshoot. Essentially banks were spending billions of dollars with little to know idea of what they were buying because there was no regulation to oversee this kind of trading.
  • Much of this buying and selling was on “margin” meaning that the risk far exceeded the investment.
  • This caused the banks to lose hundreds of billions of dollars.
  • All of this caused the banking industry to be terrified of lending money, leading to the current credit crisis.

The issue has been wrongly framed as being about poor families lying about their incomes and not paying their mortgages. The notion that a few poor people brought down the world’s economy is ludicrous. The fact is that this is a culmination of 28 years of the notion that the free market is infallible.



The picture the Republicans are trying to paint here is one of a rogue, partisan investigation trying to inject itself into the campaign, somehow at the guidance of Obama. Nothing could be further from the truth and there are actually some things very relevant to election. Here’s what we need to know about the whole thing.

  • Sarah Palin was found guilty of using her position as governor to manipulate the firing of Mark Wooten.
  • The report of the investigation states, “Gov. Palin knowingly permitted a situation to continue where impermissible pressure was placed on several subordinates in order to advance a personal agenda.” She was found guilty of 18 counts. Each of these is a violation of the law.
  • It also found that Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan’s refusal to fire State Trooper Mike Wooten from the state police force was “likely a contributing factor” to “carry out a family grudge“. While the report determined that this was not a violation of the law they did determine that it was a breach of ethics.
  • The report also found that Todd Palin used “extraordinary access to the Governor’s office” to apply pressure to have Wooten fired.
  • The commission was composed of a majority of Republicans, and was started before Palin was announced as the candidate for Vice President.
  • The only campaign found by courts to be meddling in the proceedings was the McCain campaign.

Palin has been saying that Obama has put “ambition over country” yet these findings indicate that she has put not only ambition, but vengeance and personal animosity above country. They also demonstrate that Todd Palin, who spent a large portion of his adult life advocating for Alaskan secession from the United States, seems to think that he shares in whatever elected position his wife attains. Finally this reflects on John McCain’s judgment in selecting Palin to be his running mate with virtually no vetting of her, but it also calls into question his priorities in interfering with a legal process to protect his own political aspirations. The misframing of this issue has been that it is a partisan witch hunt. The facts demonstrate that there were actual crimes committed and McCain tried to obstruct justice.





  1. I thought all you had to do to fit into the GOP was goose step 😉

    Real Time with Mahr had a lot of fun at their expense last night

    Comment by 3rdStoneFromTheSun — October 11, 2008 @ 10:49 am | Reply

  2. Another blog entry, by you, for my Wall! I applaud you & your writing!

    Comment by CK0712 — October 11, 2008 @ 11:03 am | Reply

  3. Thanks CK! Glad to do the service!

    Comment by kelly — October 11, 2008 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  4. Point taken, but right-wingers WON’T LISTEN TO REASON. They talk over you, ranting and raving with their ridiculous claims and fabrications, mouthing the repub nonsense about liberal judges, liberal activist women, pantywaist peacenik draft-dodgers(even tho there is NO draft), the liberal media (my personal fav), pro-abortion murderers, etc, etc. I’d rather shoot them down with their own beliefs like I did recently with a fundie-repub guy I work with. He was yapping about how he KNEW he was going to heaven, and I told him that he was stating as FACT that which was a matter of FAITH, which didn’t make any sense. After I reinterated, he finally conceded that, “Well, I have FAITH I’m going to heaven.” But he was NOT happy having to admit I was right (and that he was wrong) even tho I presented a totally logical argument to him in a non-confrontational way. I also told him I though radical Christianity (can you say CRUSADE?) was the American Taliban, and was not any better than radial Islam (can you say JIHAD?)He got red in the face and wouldn’t talk to me much after that. How do you deal with these lunkheads? If you make a sound, reasonable argument to them they get ANGRY. They HATE reason!

    Comment by nikolai — October 11, 2008 @ 12:15 pm | Reply

  5. nikolai

    Agreed. This is more for the reasonable, but misinformed or uninformed. There are some who are nothing more than “fans” and are going to cheer for their favorite team regardless of what the facts are. They are a bizarre form of “patriot” who can no longer tell the difference between God and country. Such would be stunned to realize he is not only neither Republican nor Democrat, but is in fact, not even American!

    Comment by kelly — October 11, 2008 @ 12:49 pm | Reply

  6. AND his name might even be Muhammad!

    Comment by nikolai — October 11, 2008 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  7. More easily-verified facts worth mentioning: Under Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II, the U.S. national debt grew faster than the economy, going from about 1/3 of GDP when Reagan took office to over 2/3 today. In contrast, the ratio of national debt to GDP went down under Clinton. In fact, it declined for every term of every Democratic president since World War II. The last president to balance the budget was Bill Clinton (who produced record surpluses in fact), and the last before him was Lyndon Johnson, the previous Democrat to serve more than four years. Jimmy Carter ran a small deficit but also reduced the debt/GDP ratio to its post-war minimum.

    According the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, families in the middle of the income scale would on average receive a tax cut more than 3 times a big under Obama’s proposals than under McCain’s. Obama would end the Bush tax cuts for the very richest, but the top federal income rate would go only from 35% to 39.6% — the same rate as in the 1990s, during the longest economic boom in U.S. history — which is far lower than the 50% rate in force for the great majority of the Reagan presidency.

    Also worth noting: Average new jobs created per month under Clinton: 240; Bush I: 49, Bush II: 51. And historically the stock market has done significantly better under Democrats than under Republicans, whether you look back a century or just since World War II.

    I suspect many pro-business Republicans would change parties if they simply looked up these facts. I’m a pro-business investor, and even if I didn’t have other reasons for voting Democrat (such as protecting the interests of my fellow veterans), my financial self-interest alone would make me vote for Obama.

    Comment by Gary Grady — October 11, 2008 @ 10:39 pm | Reply

  8. Thanks Gary, good info there. I’m planning on an entry on the history o the economy since Reagan. The stock market record is quite striking. The market is lower now than when Bush took office. I believe he is the first 2 term president to do that.

    Comment by kelly — October 11, 2008 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

  9. How can I reach someone at the Republican National Committee to explain what I think about what Obama is doing and why. I go to the RNC website, but there is no place to communicate with MR. STEELE.

    Comment by Prof. Richard Bohrer — February 26, 2009 @ 12:17 am | Reply

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