Being Right Isn't Winning
Posted from Conservatives4Palin.com
NOTE: This post was originally published on US4Palin. The transcript and text were prepared by AGU-NY State Coordinator Ron Devito and the interview was conducted by AGU-PA State Coordinator Kevin Scholla. (Be on the look-out for Kevin’s new sports articles at Breitbart Sports!)
Jennifer Stefano of Americans for Prosperity stops by The Palin Radio Update with Kevin Scholla! Stefano discusses the ‘etiquette of winning’ that has been sorely missing from many campaigns. She also touches on the powerful tactics of the Left and how to combat them. Learn how you can become a leader through AFP and help our country get back on track in the process. Plus, Sarah Palin promotes The Bible, the new mini-series from Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. Also, Governor Palin calls out Maxine Waters and the lamestream media, roots for Danica Patrick, congratulates Todd Palin following his latest Iron Dog effort, and showcases a touching story from Texas involving some very impressive high school athletes. Steel Resolve, our weekly commentary with Sarah Steelman is also featured. Steelman tells us why it’s a sure bet Barack Obama never played football.
Etiquette of Winning and Online Activism
Stefano said “etiquette of winning” refers to a “way of doing things” and it is more important now that AFP is “on the inside.” The organization needs to operate at a professional level, she said. Stefano also said the left is far more effective on social media than we are. Social media such as Facebook and Twitter are not merely places to post statuses on one’s personal life or show off. It is a very important political tool – that the left is using with telling effect. “Change happens in small communities. You can influence people on Facebook. Online activism should be taken as seriously as boots on the ground activism,” Stefano said.
“Being Right Isn’t Winning”
Stefano said she bans two words in her house: “the ‘f’ word and the ‘s’ word – ‘fair’ and ‘should.’” She continued, “the problem with using those words is that you’re not living in reality. It doesn’t mean that you have to accept reality, but … you can point out 50,000 ways in any one day Barack Obama violates the Constitution. You can point out that their ‘facts’ are outright lies, but that’s not the same as winning. That’s talking and preaching to the choir.” Stefano said this is not an effective model and that we need to get our message out to a larger audience. Similarly, we don’t grow by holding rallies – which tend to cater to a preexisting audience. “We have to do it a different way. Even though you know you’re right, it does not mean we’ve won.”
Stefano said we have to be right on principle, but that is not enough. You have to “advance the principle to a win.” Stefano believes in rallies only “sparingly and only as necessary,” because “they’re an enormous drain of time, energy, and resources on all of us.” She went on to say that a steady diet of rallies would burn out activists and destroy credibility. Sometimes, standing outside a politician’s office is not the most effective way to get what you want, “and that gets into the whole etiquette of winning.” Stefano said, “I won’t even host a conference call for 10 minutes unless it’s a strategic call to advance a win and it has to be done at that time in order to communicate information.” She does not believe in severely impacting upon the time of activists and their families.
Action Alerts: the Bedrock of AFP Activism
AFP uses “Action Alerts,” which Stefano says are easy and effective, despite being written off by many. An Action Alert is an email blast sent to activists in a local area or state indicating how to take action on an issue. Stefano recently sent one to her 120,000 PA activists to contact Gov. Corbett about blocking MedicAid. The alert contained a link to contact the governor by forwarding the aforementioned alert. AFP’s action alerts are form letters, but the individual activist can customize them.
The left also uses a similar tactic. Though these are form letters, the politicians count them, Stefano said. Further, they cross-check the names to see if the writers actually live in their district. AFP collects complete contact information and that is matched to local, state, and federal legislators and executives. “It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s effective, and if if every single time you got one of our emails – and we list them all on the side – you just click through and you would be very effective.” She acknowledged that we “are giving them the same message over and over again.” That’s intentional. The politicians get the same message again and again – “like infants or toddlers until they do it.”
Left Understands Grassroots Mobilization
“The left is fantastic [at this]. The left understands grassroots mobilization. Let’s not kid ourselves. They were the hippies…They’ve been around since the ’60s…the 50s – the Beatniks, right? They have a lot of years on us. They have a lot of experience and we’re just realizing it,” Stefano said. She also said she would never ask an activist to even spend three minutes on an action unless she believes it’s effective. AFP also has a Twitter Brigade and a Facebook Bombing Brigade with whom they do webinars. Some activists prefer to work the phones, or do door-to-door visits in district. Still others love rallies. She said the next phase is recruiting people to do this work with you – and that is the most important aspect.
“You Don’t Need a Title to Make a Difference…”
“One man can make a difference, and every man must try,” Stefano said. Scholla followed up with, “Sarah Palin says ‘you don’t need a title to make a difference’ and I thought of that the other night when you said ‘everyone can be a leader’ – not just someone helping out – but a leader.” Stefano said that when she lays out the ways we can influence legislators, she speaks as an individual. Stefano is a work-oriented Type A personality. Her PowerPoint slides have lines on the bottom which say, “you can do more than just this….” She said you, “you don’t need a group or a title to be a leader.
“You can be a leader [via] Action Alert[s] and you forward that email to five people – and not just leave it as a forward, but know them. Call them personally – call all five of them and explain why doing that action is so important and ask them to do it and email you when they did – you will be amazed at that 10-minute investment how much dividend it reaps.” She continued, “those five people are now part of the movement, part of the cause. They’ve taken an action and invested time. Once you’ve made an investment in something, it’s likely you’ll continue to invest and in that simple act, you’ve recruited five new people to our cause – and they’re five people who more than likely wouldn’t come to a single event 45 minutes from their home, but they did do that and only because you followed up.”
Getting the Credit Does Matter, But Skip the Pettiness
Stefano said “even if you do this with only one person, you’re building yourself as a person of influence, credibility and power.” She said that people tend to be overly concerned with titles, group meetings and who gets credit, but she said:
“I think it’s important to give people credit. I totally disagree with Ronald Reagan’s ‘it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.’ He was a movie star, governor and President. Of course, it mattered to him! He was always getting the credit! While I’m not Ronald Reagan, I get a lot of attention, and I find it ridiculous to go around preaching that, when I do get a lot of credit and certainly a lot of attention. I think it’s very important that we acknowledge the good work of others and the work of other groups and people, especially those of us in the spotlight.”
Stefano said pettiness should be avoided and she sees too much of it. “There’s solidarity on the left, and we’re such fierce individualists on the right – we’re not sheep – that it sometimes works against us. I think we have to look at what we all want to commonly achieve, which is a win for freedom – and try to put those little things aside and advance together.”
Scholla noted that Democrats unite immediately behind their nominees, such as when Hillary Clinton, even in her disappointment that she lost the primary united behind Obama. On our side, you have to campaign to get the support of the opponents you just beat before you can move on to your main campaign. But, 2008 was an anomaly for the Democrats. Many of Gov. Palin’s fiercest supporters were former Hillary supporters who refused to back Obama. They rallied under the banner of “P.U.M.A.,” an acronym which meant, “Party Unity My Ass.” Movements such as P.U.M.A., however, are a rare exception, not the rule among Democrats.