Narrative Wars: How the GOP Can Win
There is one thing that President Obama refers to as a silly distraction. But in reality, it represents a key part of the bigger thing conservatives must overcome to win this election battle.
The left does not win its battles in debate...The left wins because it controls the narrative. The narrative is controlled by the media. The left is the media. Narrative is everything. [i]
Breitbart highlighted the "turning point" in the history of media control -- the mainstream coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. The "guys who idolized Woodward and Bernstein" had been transformed into "open partisan hacks," rewriting the narrative with Clinton cast as the hero and Republicans the villains. Breitbart also noted that the "institutionalized conservative movement" became "conspicuously silent" because they had allowed the left to control the spin and "didn't want to put themselves in harm's way" [ii].
The "Democrat-Media Complex" (Breitbart's term) control of the Obama screenplay has been obvious from day one, even when there was no narrative to shape. Instead of offering evidence to refute criticism of their star, the Alinsky-schooled Complex lazily lob potent word-missiles like "racist" or "birther." Most Republican elites defensively duck and run for cover lest any of the labels stick. Conservatives hope that intelligent discussion of economic and policy issues will win election battles, but they fight within an arena defined and controlled by the leftist media, leaving the home court advantage to the left.
Refusing to play by Democrat-Media Complex rules, conservative writer Diana West bravely observed the relationship between two of Obama's scandals: his socialism and the probable fraud of his identity documents. The assertions are related in that even though both are supported by facts and evidence, neither fits the narrative, and so both are ignored by the mainstream. And most of the conservative establishment has reacted the same way it did in the Clinton-Lewinsky affair: conspicuously silent and self-censoring. Author Roger Kimball noted the disturbing consensus that has rendered Obama's nativity a topic "literally undiscussable." Sometimes conservatives side vocally with the Complex, brushing aside the quest for truth as less important than debate on other issues.
While debate on the big issues is important, Breitbart was right -- regaining control of the narrative is the big thing. Until last year, Breitbart was focused mainly on "winning issues"; however, a few weeks before he died, his battle lines were redrawn at CPAC with the promise that "this election, we're going to vet [Obama]."
Vetting of Obama becomes both a big and winning issue because it takes control of the conversation away from the Democrat-Media Complex. And the first step is re-examining all of the things that make up Obama's personal narrative.
Most famous conservatives are reluctant to do so.
Angelo Codevilla observed: "In our time, asking how a young man of scarce achievement got into position to win the Democratic Party's nomination for president courts the contemporary synonyms for 'impious': 'birther,' 'conspiracy theorist,' and, of course, 'racist.'"
The eligibility question (labeled the "birther" conspiracy by the Complex) was written off by Ann Coulter as the only mythical thing believed by more Republicans than Democrats. In her otherwise brilliant book Demonic, Coulter erroneously defined "birthers" as focused solely on a Kenyan birthplace, but she failed to justify her description or provide evidence that discredited any eligibility arguments, instead filling pages recounting Democrats' numerous and crazier conspiracy theories.
George Stephanopoulos brought up "birthers" in his interview with Obama (just a couple of weeks before the long-form's release) and observed that it was the only thing he, a smiling Obama, and Karl Rove agreed upon: the controversy hurt the GOP.
That agreement -- among Obama, the Democratic-Media Complex, and conservative elites -- is really the most stunning thing of all. Not only has the conservative media failed to note the rarity of such teamwork that marginalizes a large percentage of its own party, but conservatives like Coulter apologize for "birtherism" as an unusual GOP aberration, a kind of temporary insanity with no basis in logic or truth. Known for her own vivid imagination, perhaps Coulter pictured the Complex politely reciprocating if a Republican's credentials were questioned.
Although "birthers" may seem focused on a little thing -- little in that it is represented by a two-letter term "ID," a routine part of life needed to buy certain things, apply for food stamps (but not vote?), or board a plane, a tiny part of the Constitution's presidential qualifications defined by two small words, "natural born" -- it is not "little" if fraud or forgery or unseemly political games are involved. Especially since the winner will answer that 3 a.m. call.
The little thing becomes the important thing -- a thing not as difficult to argue as vague ideological or complex economic issues. A simple question answered not by the court of public opinion based on the narrative spoon-fed it by a biased media, but rather by a thorough examination of the facts.
The mainstream media claims that eligibility questions have been discredited, but in fact, that is one thing easily demonstrated as false. There has been no documented, thorough investigation by any major news outlet -- conservative or liberal -- of the validity of Obama's documents. Nor have academia, politicians, or the courts seriously addressed the question of whether Obama's non-citizen father precluded "natural born" eligibility.
Then along came "America's Toughest Sheriff," Arizona's Joe Arpaio. His professional "Cold Case Posse" uncovered probable cause that the image of the birth certificate presented by the White House is a digital forgery. Yet Arpaio's report is ignored by the Complex. He is not even accused of lying. Instead, the media reports that the sheriff is under attack for other issues and neglects to mention what should be the headline.
Numerous eligibility lawsuits have been filed, but most have been dismissed for lack of standing or, as one judge ruled, because the issue had been "raised, vetted, blogged, texted, twittered [sic], and otherwise massaged[.]" Recent ballot challenges resulted in decisions for Obama without any evidence submitted. In New Jersey, Obama's winning defense argued that the birth certificate was not relevant and that Mickey Mouse could run for president without submitting one (if the document was entered into the record, judicial procedure would allow its examination by the plaintiffs).
Other state cases challenging Obama's natural born eligibility because of his dual citizenship also found for Obama, even when he and his attorney ignored hearings after being subpoenaed. The rulings cited another state's appeals court decision, which in turn relied on a Supreme Court case which did not specifically address "natural born" citizenship -- an inconvenient fact buried in footnotes that dismissed the leap in logic as "immaterial."
Regardless of the evidence or courtroom shenanigans, the Democrat-Media Complex assures the public that eligibility arguments are simply code language for racism. All while the Obama campaign profits by selling t-shirts and coffee mugs emblazoned with the birth certificate image.
As Diana West personally experienced, conservatives who shun the eligibility issue assert that "the truth will alienate voters so we mustn't seek the truth" -- a ridiculous position that ensures that Obama wins whether truth is suppressed or pursued. Breitbart urged conservatives to seek truth when fighting the left [iii]: "Truth isn't mean. It's truth."
"Will the GOP stop playing Charlie Brown to the media's Lucy? If the Republican Party doesn't have the intestinal fortitude to fight back," warned Breitbart [iv], it will be the people who have to step up and win back the big thing: control of the narrative. A narrative of truth.
[i] Andrew Breitbart, Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! (New York, NY: Grand Central Publishing, 2011), page 4
[ii] Ibid., pages 74-75
[iii] Ibid., page 159
[iv] Ibid., 206