Taking Conservatism to the Masses: NewsBusters Interviews Author Tim Daughtry

By Matthew Sheffield | July 23, 2012 | NewsBusters

Despite the incessant focus on electoral politics that any presidential election year brings, it’s important to step back occasionally and realize that campaigns and elections are actually only the tip of the iceberg of the political environment.

This insight is important because electoral wins and losses are less about the personal qualities of the candidates and more about how well they are able to express themselves. Sadly for the preservation of freedom’s sake, too often statists better understand this compared to conservatives/libertarians. That is why when I learned about the new book Waking the Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans Can Beat Liberals at Their Own Game, I was eager to interview one of its co-authors, Tim Daughtry.

This book is an invaluable resource to people looking to not just defend liberty but to spread it due to the valuable insights which Daughtry and his co-author Gary Casselman have gained from their years as clinical psycologists. In recent years, the stonewalling and attack techniques that liberals love to use have been brought to greater notice thanks to people like the late Andrew Breitbart. Daughtry and Casselman take things a step further by not only making the reader aware of the left’s tactics, they also talk about how to counter them.

Key to doing so is to understand that anyone who is passionately concerned about politics, regardless of the country in which they live and his/her political disposition, has a minority viewpoint. Because of this, those who are seeking to preserve freedom in America need to spell out just what that means in broad terms but also in ways that the average, non-political individual can relate to.

This is but one of the topics that Daughtry and I talked about in our discussion. Please see below for the full text as well as an audio recording of the conversation. You can download an MP3 copy of the interview right here.

MATTHEW SHEFFIELD: Thank you for joining me today. The book title is Waking the Sleeping Giant: How Mainstream Americans can Beat Liberals at Their Own Game. I think perhaps crucial before we get started on anything is that you’re defining a term or setting a term mainstream Americans vs. liberals. It’s not quite conservatives vs. liberals from what I gather from reading the book, is that correct?

TIM DAUGHTRY (Co-Author: Waking the Sleeping Giant): That’s correct. We wanted a broader target and so we think of it as the center-right mainstream and it’s the loose coalition or the loose grouping of people who basically know we’re heading in the wrong direction right now. A lot of people from a lot of different background realize that you can’t borrow and spend your way out of a catastrophic debt. And so I think a lot of it is a kind of basic economic conservatism or sort of a center-right view of the nations direction.

Secondly, we’re still thinking in terms of foundational Judeo-Christian thinking, basic Judeo-Christian principles. That there is a sense of right and wrong, that moral relativism isn’t a satisfactory way of living in the world, that there are standards of right and wrong. That’s basically where the Founders were, the founders had some different views but they basically would be described as Judeo-Christian culture if not Judeo-Christian religious views.

SHEFFIELD: OK. Alright. And versus liberals which you say are a small percentage of the population, which I believe you say is twenty percent. Now would you say that there is some discrepancy? Because liberals generally have, in studies often have or think they are moderate when in fact they are not.

DAUGHTRY: Right. I think there is discrepancy there, most of the polls I’ve seen show maybe twenty percent self-identify as liberals. So if you stop and think about who that is, that’s going to include the hardcore, by the hardcore we’re talking about the real Salinsky-ites. These are the people who have read or think in terms of Rules for Radicals. They’re the hardcore activists, the union activists, those who belong to other groups other than just the Democratic party..you know… they’re part of issue-oriented politics but they tend to be very hardcore, they tend to be activists. And they’re probably a smaller percentage than twenty percent. They’re really the ones we’re talking about in the book because they’re the ones who have disproportionate influence.

And we also talk about misinformed and uninformed liberal voters and now that’s more than twenty percent, because obviously liberals win elections but that’s the whole point of the book is how does a small and determined minority dominate a majority who’s views are fairly different? You know, there may be some overlap in some ways but in terms of foundational views. The hardcore left really truly is a minority. And yet they have a disproportionate amount of influence and the answer is really two-fold.

First off their strategy has been successful, their strategy has been to dominate the formal institutions of culture. And that’s an old strategy, it’s the so called long march through the institutions that came out of the European universities almost a century ago and it was the idea that violent revolution wasn’t likely to succeed in a country that had a strong middle class and strong middle class values. What was likely to happen there, what was needed according to some of these early theorist was more of removing the cultural barriers to Socialism. The cultural barriers were the Judeo-Christian values, the sense of private property, the sense of right and wrong, the privacy of family in terms of raising children.

All of those things are barriers, if you will, to statism. And so the small hardcore minority, if they can really have tremendous influence, disproportionate influence on those formal institutions, particularly the news media, particularly the educational system, they can begin to shape our policy. And the way we describe it in the book is really more by immersion than conversion.

Because kids going to school don’t think about what they’re being taught, they don’t challenge a lot of what they’re being taught. So they simply absorb the idea that Franklin Roosevelt got us out of the Great Depression by a massive stimulus program. They don’t hear or they don’t read the other side of that story. They don’t think through the implications of, well if the government can do that what else can government do. So that’s how you begin to reach the vast middle, you know the forty percent who really don’t identify themselves as conservative or liberal. That’s how you reach them is through immersion not conversion.

The second thing, Matthew, that I think is critical and that isn’t usually talked about, is mainstream Americans are really–you know in the book we call them the sleeping giant of American politics. Another way to describe it is we’re the summer tourists of politics. We show up just for ejections and even then its hard to get mainstream Americans off the couch or off the lawnmower and into the voting booth.

We thinks of politics in terms of elections, mainstream Americans are not political animals. Because politics is about imposing power, its about getting and using power and mainstream…and here’s the irony Matthew, mainstream Americans are raised to be mature human beings. We mind our own business, we take care of ourselves and we respect the rights of others to do the same.

Now those are two fundamental aspects of growing up, is developing a sense of independence. Being able to take care of your own stuff and that’s a major theme of the development of any child is how much can I do without other people having to tell me what to do or to take care of me. And so that ability to be independent is just ingrained in mainstream Americans. And secondly we’re raised with a sense of social values that say I’m going to mind my own business and I’m going to respect your right to do the same. Now we may cooperate voluntarily on things, we may share certain things. But the notion that, that’s voluntary I think is essential to what we’re describing as mainstream Americans.

Matthew, when you take those two points that the Left has a profound influence in the formal institutions of culture and that’s the immersion rather than conversion idea. That so many Americans are simply immersed in liberal dogma when they watch the news, when they go to school. And secondly that by nature mainstream Americans are not really political animals. And this is a point that’s in the book and it’s a point I’ve become more and more convinced about even since the book came out mainstream America and particularly conservative America.

Between you and me that book was written from primarily a conservative point of view. I mean I think that’s pretty clear. But we’re also trying to reach those people that would shy away from the conservative label because the conservative label has been tarnished by the news media and by the entertainment industry. So right now just between us, I can say comfortably conservative America doesn’t have a political strategy.

Think about immigration, since 1965 Edward Kennedy and some other liberals really conceived a long term strategy of using immigration to basically change the face of this country and to change it in a way that would benefit the liberal cause. That wasn’t the only reason in the 1965 changes, but that was part of it. The idea was that our previous immigration policy was unfair and so forth. So the whole idea, I think behind the scenes was you begin to use policy as way of building political power. And that’s why Republicans are in the bind they’re in right now. If the Republicans support the Dream Act then they’re in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t position because they’re going to be bringing in people who are going to vote Democrat. They’re going to be legalizing if you will, people who are eventually going to become citizens and vote Democrat.

On the other hand if they don’t, they’re going to alienate a lot of people who are already in this country. I’ve been talking a lot. Is that making sense? That is just one example of how the Left thinks long term, the Left thinks strategically. Mainstream conservative Americans think reactively, we don’t have a strategy to use immigration to build the conservative base I guess is the most blunt way to put it. Is that making sense?

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. I see where you’re coming from. So I guess you know, you mentioned a general lack of strategic thinking on the Right. Which I’m assuming you’re applying also to the you know–not just to the voters or activists on the Right but also to the institutional leaders. Is that a correct statement?

DAUGHTRY: If you look at politics over the last decade or two, every major initiative comes from the Left. Health care reform came from the Left. Now there are think tanks who are coming up with conservative solutions you know, insurance competition across state lines, you know, moving away from the idea that employers provide health care…you know, making that more accessible to individuals and so forth. Those ideas are out there, but the people in institutional, the formal positions of leadership in the conservative movement haven’t really had a long-term solution to use health care to build a conservative base. We don’t have a long term strategy to use education to build a conservative base.

So the things that children are being taught in our schools now and they’re just in the news now almost on a daily basis. Teachers using slogans from the occupy Wall Street movement in class. You know the situation here in North Carolina not too long ago that went viral with a teacher basically harassing a student who was questioning Obama. That kind of thing…that’s just the tip of the iceberg where it makes it into the news. It’s happening all over the place because liberals realized a long time ago if you influence the educational system, you can immerse people in your world view.

Conservatives don’t have a comparable strategy. By the way before I forget it, one of the things I think since so much of the book sounds pessimistic, especially the first half of the book. I think one of the things we have to acknowledge is that organizations like NewsBusters and Media Research Center and so forth…the internet and talk radio, Fox News, those are tremendous footholds right now. The conservative movement has never had a good foothold in the formal institutions of information and we do now.

So that’s one of the reasons I think the Left is so alarmed by that and that’s why they come up with things like the Fairness Doctrine and attempts to regulate information…and you hear out on fringes that they actually talk about regulating information that’s on the internet. Because I think they’re terrified of the idea of losing control over those institutions.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. And you can definitely see that when you have so many left-wing reporters and anchors longing for the days when there were just three television networks who completely and utterly dominated the American media scene.

DAUGHTRY: Absolutely. And I know it’s a stretch but it’s a way of thinking long term. We will know we’ve got a foothold, we’ll know we’ve made good progress when Jodi Miller’s [host of “NewsBusted”] “Let’s get started” is a part of the culture just as much as Walter Cronkite’s old “And that’s the way it is.”

So we won’t really be a dominant player in the culture which I think is where the struggle is. The political struggle is in the culture, if you win elections but then the people who report on the elections and the people who teach your children the next day are the people who lost the election, it’s just a matter of time before you lose the policy struggle. Even though you’re formally in power, you lose the policy struggle and that’s why republicans, even conservatives typically fold like an old lawn chair when they’re under constant attack from the news media and when their own kids come home saying, “mommy why do you hate poor people?” You know eventually they give in and they compromise and that’s been on of the tactics that we talk about. The tactic of gradualism and using compromise to gain ground.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. So I guess one of the immediate things about the book, what’s obvious to me is it’s written by two psychologists. What prompted you guys to get together and create this?

DAUGHTRY: Well, Gary and I also own another business where we work with leaders of business and organizations for-profit, non-profit and so we work with them on developing a strategy, developing leaders in their business who can think strategically and developing people in their business who can kind of create a groundswell for a strategy and for a business direction. And then dealing and a big piece of it and this is our leadership workshop that we do every month. A big piece of it is using principles of psychology to help business leaders understand some of the underlying dynamics that can happen, say in a team meeting.

So regardless of the topic, you know we may be talking about the budget, we may be talking about policies for the business, it doesn’t matter what the topic is. At an underlying level you begin to pick up on patterns such as who’s dominant and who’s submissive. You know, who interrupts and who talks over other people and so forth. So a lot of what we do with that you know, things like a 360 instrument where you get ratings from your boss and your peers and your direct reports on things like you know, are you approachable, do you communicate with courtesy, do you communicate clearly, do you have a strategy. Do you communicate that strategy?

We help business leaders understand and manage those underlying dynamics. And a lot of those dynamics, Matthew, have to do with power and simply just getting along with people. Two themes when we grow up are what do I have to do in order to be accepted, you know, so children learn kind of the rules of the playground if you will. How do I get along with others, how do I get accepted? What do I have to do to be seen as a good kid, a polite kid, you know, and stay out of trouble.

The other thing we learned is how to deal with issues of power and decision-making and you know, you want to do something, I want to do something else so how do we resolve that. And so what Gary and I began to realize because we’re one of those, we’re two of those rare creatures, we’re conservative psychologists. The more we did our basic business, the more we began to talk about politics and realized wow the same thing is happening and that’s where this whole idea, you know, the conservative movement really doesn’t have a strategy.

The conservative movement reacts to things that are going on, but the conservative movement doesn’t have a strategy for taking back our culture. We have a strategy for defending liberty, but not for promoting liberty and embedding liberty within our cultural institutions.

The second thing, and I think this is a major part of the book is we really began to notice at an underlying level if you watch liberals and conservatives on television (and we jokingly say in the book “unless the conservative is Ann Coulter” but there are other conservatives who do this well), most of the time when you see an elected representative and they’re debating a liberal what happens is the liberal is on the attack, regardless of the topic, the liberal is calling the shots, the liberal is making accusations. The conservative is basically saying, “no I’m not or no we’re not.”

So the liberals will say “you’re trying to deny people access to health care” and we end up saying, “no we’re not all we’re trying to do is X-Y and Z. Well regardless of how well we’ve answered the charge, we’re still answering the Left’s charge.

And so does that answer your question? A lot of it came from our business background where we’re, in summary what we’re doing is taking the same principles which we teach to business leaders and we’re trying to teach those to mainstream Americans who are getting involved in politics. Such as, keeping your cool when you’re under pressure.

You know, as we say in the book, “Keep the blood in the smart part of your brain and not the emotional part of your brain.” And that’s one of the things we work with business executives on and then secondly watching those underlying dynamics. And the main thing that audiences respond to is the realization that if you’re on the defensive, it doesn’t matter how well you defend, you’ve already lost. And that’s one of the big moments when I do this in front of large audiences, that’s one of the moments when people begin to really nod their head and do the “oh my God, that’s what’s happening.” I’m always defending conservatives and one of the lines that people really remember is when I say that, “we need to stop defending conservatism and make the Left defend liberalism.”

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, well let’s talk about that a little more. You do have quite a few techniques in there that you mention. One of them is that when a liberal goes off, spouts of an emotional talking point such as you hate the poor or you’re racist. Not to accept that frame of reference.


SHEFFIELD: Can you talk about that a little more?

DAUGHTRY: Yeah. The core tool and this is the one audiences really react to and it’s what we use in our workshops, it’s a major tool we use for practice. It’s got to be simple because when you’re under pressure you’re not going to remember a complex formula.

The simple tool is recognize the tactic that the Left is using, re-frame their attack so that it backfires on them. And the main part there Matthew, is what you’re doing in that second step is changing that underlying dynamic that I talked about. You’re changing from being on the defense to being on offense. It doesn’t matter how well you do it, as long as you do it. So recognize the attack, re-frame the attack to put the liberal on the defensive and then refocus the agenda so that you’re talking about what we want to talk about.

Perfect example is this whole silly debate, we lost weeks of national debate over this whole issue of pre-contraceptives. This nation is facing a 16 trillion debt and we actually were talking about the benefits of pre-contraceptives. And the Republicans walk right into the trap.

The Left came up with “You’re waging a war on women” and the Republicans basically fell into “no we’re not” and trying to prove that they’re not so they were already on the defensive. The whole issue came out of that issue, the question that Stephanopoulous threw at Mitt Romney on the right to privacy. And you know if you go back that was the whole right to privacy Griswold v. Connecticut that the Left used basically to wretch Robert Bork. You know, the whole Griswold v. Connecticut and right to privacy and so forth.

So just to give you an example, one that really seems to resonate these days. So a liberal says, “Well do you believe in right to privacy?” “Do you believe the Constitution grants the right to privacy?” They’re trying to take you down that whole debate of states rights and so forth. So to re-frame the attack you simply say, “of course I do, the only question in my mind is whether liberals believe in the right to privacy.”

And then the refocus step is because if you look at Obamacare, if you look at gun control, if you look at the fairness doctrine, if you look at what happened in Hope County, North Carolina with a lunch box. The government, and particularly liberal government is sticking its nose into every aspect of our lives. So my question is does the Left believe in the right to privacy? You see the basic flow, it’s very simple. Recognize where they’re trying to take you, re-frame the attack and then refocus so that we are driving our agenda.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. And I think it was good to provide that example there for the audience. Because a lot of times people may grasp the concept but providing the example definitely is illustrative.

One of the other topics you talk at length about is that liberals are, they hide their true agenda. So, two questions about that topic is why do they do that? And how can conservatives or mainstream Americans expose the true agenda without coming off as, you know, conspiracy theorists?

DAUGHTRY: Well, the first question is how do we…I’m sorry give me the two questions again.

SHEFFIELD: The questions were why do they do that and how do you expose it in the right way?

DAUGHTRY: Why they do that is, remember we’re only talking about the hardcore Left here. They have to be able to win over maybe thirty plus percent of people who are uninformed and misinformed. If they’re too blatant about their agenda and those uninformed and misinformed people begin to realize, “wait a minute that sounds like socialism,” a lot of those voters are going to say, “ wait a minute I don’t want any part of that.”

So for example on global warming, as long as they frame it was we’re trying to save the planet then that will flow pretty well with people who just listen to what they hear in the news and what they hear at school. If the Left were to come out and say, “you know what we really need is to give the U.N. more power and really put and really put some limits on free enterprise and really put some limits on private property ownership and really put some limits on what kind of car you can drive and give more power to the government over what kind of light bulbs you use.” If they were too open about that agenda, they would lose a lot of those people in the middle, who right now when the hear the rhetoric they basically say, “Well ok. That sounds good let’s do that.” If they were too open about the agenda they would lose a lot of those people.

And secondly I think you raised a critical point is we’ve got to be able to expose that agenda without coming across as conspiratorial and without coming across as unnecessarily negative. And that’s the whole point of the second point of the three R’s. When you recognize what they’re trying to do, you simply shift the frame, it’s like encrypting a picture. You simply shift the frame so that they’re no longer the good guys. Because, see what they’re doing is they’re always seizing the moral high ground. So if we can create just enough, if we can take the wind out of their sails on that second step then that’s the time we can then move on to the discussion that we want to have.

So for example and this is one I used in the book and it borders on a humorous example, it’s just to make the point. So somebody starts talking about, “Well I’m afraid global warming’s going to destroy the plant.”

You can actually change the topic on that second step and say, “Are you telling me you don’t believe in what Darwin said?” And if they’re a good liberal they’re going to say, “Well of course I believe in Darwin, Darwin’s established science.” Then you simply say, “Well why won’t natural selection take care of global warming? You know some species will do well in a warmer environment, some species won’t. Are you saying that we have to try to stop evolution?” And the liberal at that point is now having to defend their basic world view and that’s the point where we win the argument.

The second step is where we take the indicative away from the Left. That’s the point of understanding that underlying dynamic that’s going on. Regardless of what issue we’re talking about, the Left is almost always on the attack. We’re almost always on the defensive.

The point in that example is that we break their stride, we take the initiative away from the Left. Because we’ve now changed the topic. We’re now saying, “Wait a minute on the one hand you’re telling me global warming is happening, on the other hand you’re telling me that life is a product of just random changes and that some species win and some species lose. Don’t you have a contradiction there?”

That’s the point where we can then move on and say but you know there’s a lot of evidence and then that’s when we move on to the evidence that, you know, climate cycles have happened over there years if you look at ice core samples, you know, you can go as deeply as your expertise will let you there. If you look at ice core samples, there’s been climate cycles throughout the eons and if you go back to the middle ages there was actually a period of time where it was warmer than it is now and there certainly weren’t any republicans with SUVs back then.

So is that making sense? It’s a simple three step process and even on that one where they’ve got the kind of sweet rhetorical advantage. Simply recognize what they’re doing, re-frame it so it takes the initiative away from them and at that point that’s when we can make our points.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. Yeah. Now I guess one of the other sort of, I guess diagrams or illustrations in the book is your discussion about the appeasement cycle and how the Left uses that. Can you explain that concept to the audience please?

DAUGHTRY: The appeasement cycle is really at the core of the book, because the appeasement cycle goes back to the basic character differences at least in terms of political character between the hardcore left and mainstream Americans. The hardcore Left really lives and breathes for power. If you look at every initiative on the Left, it’s all about increasing their power and their ability to tell us what we can have, what we can do, what can listen to on the radio, what we can watch on television.

So on one hand you’ve got hardcore leftists with a very strong need for power. Most mainstream Americans simply want to mind their own business and we want to take care of our families, do our jobs, pay our taxes, take care of our communities. So when you put those two side by side people with a strong desire for power, people with a strong desire to basically be left alone. You can end up with a simple cycle and that cycle is the hardcore left, those who want power, begin to intimidate, they begin to pressure, they begin to demand. They begin to apply and in the book we said, we call it intimidation. But it’s basically all of the tactics out of rules for radicals. And they basically put on pressure, they keep the pressure up, they escalate the pressure.

Early on the mainstream tries to reason we say, “wait a minute that’s not in the Constitution. They’ll go wait a minute aren’t we setting a precedent for other government growth later.” We try very reasonable steps but when the Left begins to call names and they escalate. Typically what happens is that we compromise and it’s right out of Rules for Radicals. You demand 100% you settle for 30%. And so when we compromise, the Left gains we lose. Even though they may have a very small gain and at any one time it looks like we did pretty well, you know, we talked about a 70% they demanded 100% we talked them down 30% it looks like we won. In reality they’ve gained 30% and then the cycle repeats.

And Matthew, that is what the audiences really, really relate to. When we make the point that we didn’t get a $16 trillion debt over night. We got it through thousands and thousands and thousands of repetitions of that appeasement cycle. When the left put on pressure we tried to negotiate, we tried to reason and eventually we just caved and gave in a little bit. And each time that cycle repeats, government increases and liberty decreases.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. And one of the ways that they do that is trying to wrap, wrap what they’re doing in a non-ideological framework. And to then–to cause such a big stink and then to say, “well why can’t we just work together?” Which is almost invariably code word for, “well why don’t you guys just compromise and do what we say?”

DAUGHTRY: I think that’s such a key insight because one of the tactics we talk about in the book is controlling through confusion and you just gave a perfect example of how they control through confusion.

When they win like they did in 2008, their rhetoric is “well listen to the will of the people.” I mean it’s always very non-ideological, you know, its “let’s listen to the will of the people, there’s consensus here. Let’s, you know, it’s hope and change will of the people.

When they lose the rhetoric becomes suddenly different. It’s “we need to work together, both sides need to work together” and that’s when they’ll even criticize their own side. At least in theory. You know they’ll say, “hey, there’s faults on both sides. What both sides need to do is work together to reach a common ground.”

And it’s the people in the middle, it’s that 40% who don’t really pay much attention to politics and hear that. And either way, it sounds good, the rhetoric sounds good. The rhetoric of listening to the will of the people, the rhetoric of both sides working together and compromising. But what the uninformed and misinformed voters don’t realize is that the rhetoric changes. And their rhetoric changes based on what’s to the advantage of the Left.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. So, and I guess that’s sort of the…the hidden agenda is how they’re engaging in trickle-down liberalism. Now I guess one of the other things that we’ve talked about already and you guys talk about it in the book is the Left’s interest in media and in information.

Now that’s not necessarily power or being left alone and we still see that maybe conservatives have sort of advocated, even the ones who have owned media outlets in many cases have no problem selling them off or turning them over to left-wing ideologist to run them. Is that something you’ve thought about at all?

DAUGHTRY: I haven’t given as much thought to the underlying structure and I realize the Left will work even at that level, you know, part of the whole Fairness Doctrine is not so much talking about the content because that would be too close to the surface. That would border on ideological clarity.

What they’ll talk about is the ownership structure, that’s always geared towards making it difficult for conservative media outlets, it puts pressure on the conservative media outlets. But I do think that’s an important point and it’s an important point I think about conservatives just don’t think in terms of power politics as much as the Left.

So it’s a good point the conservative owners of media institutions are less likely to use those institutions to push, you know, we will be under pressure and we’re more likely to give in. The same thing will happen like when a conservative talk show host is under attack. You know the Left will attack the advertisers, the Left will attack the owners. The Left brings considerable political pressure. The Right doesn’t do the same thing, if we don’t like what somebody is basically saying on HBO, we just simply change the channel.

Does that answer your question? Because I think you had a very important point in the difference in mind set between conservatives and liberals.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. Now although I think some people may perhaps be saying, “I am deliberately trying to avoid being like the liberals and here you are telling me to act like them.” Is that a question you’ve often received?

DAUGHTRY: That comes up a lot. And it’s because of our tradition in the Judeo-Christian world view and it’s really the disdain to butt in to other people’s business. And that is a dilemma and we talk pretty openly about that in the book. And the people who say, “well I just don’t want to be like the Left.”

The hard reality that we’re facing is we will either dominate the Left, in their nature, their nature to push their point of view, their nature to demand until they get their way, the nature to win small concessions until they eventually get their way. Their very nature is they will either dominate us or we will stop them and dominate them.

And by dominate them I mean, you know, that we can make them live in free enterprise, we can make them live in liberty. There are enough of us and we support free enterprise and the Left gets to live in liberty. If the Left wins it’s way then we will lose our constitutional republic. So I don’t know any way around that. The major, the main point we make in the book is that somebody with a strong Judeo-Christian background can play football, they can play to win and they can make a hard tackle. What we can’t do is cheat, OK?

So what we have to learn to do and we talk about this a lot in our workshops is you can still be the person you are, you can still basically maintain your ethics. We don’t want to begin to use the same tactics that the Left does. But what we do need to do is find tactics to put the Left on the defensive and make them lose ground instead of us losing ground.

And I don’t see a way around that the nature, what’s happened over the last hundred years is that freedom has been pushed up against a wall. You know, we may be the last generation in America to know a constitutional republic. So no, we can’t cheat, we can’t stop ballot boxes, we can’t lie about opponents. We can’t do a lot of the things that the Left can do.

What we can do, though, is recognize when they’re using our goodness against us, when they’re using our maturity against us. When they make an irrational charge such as there’s a shooting out in Arizona, the next day the news media’s basically saying this was caused by the Tea Party and their attitude. We then spend all this time saying, “but wait a minute there’s no evidence that we’re violent. Wait a minute there’s no evidence that we advocate this.” So we’re on the defensive. The point we’re making in the book is we don’t have to tell lies. We don’t have to be unfair. What we don’t have to do is accept the Left’s premises and debate the Left on the Left’s terms and it’s a major point in the book.

Does that answer the question? Because I think you just, you hit the major source of resistance and discomfort that people have with some of our tactics.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah. I think so and I, I’m glad you sort of expanded on that. Because I mean that, a lot of the issues you guys talk about in the book are things that I’ve and other people that I know have long tried to, you know, get through the skulls of many conservatives. Especially the point that politics is about much more than just elections.

DAUGHTRY: Oh absolutely. And just you, you’ve got a good example there at NewBusters of exactly what we’re talking about. Jodi Miller’s segments are hilarious. And humor is deadly serious in politics when you can turn the other sides position into a laughing stock, you have gained all kinds of ground.

That’s what liberal comedians do all the time. It’s what the nightly talk shows do, you know, on the major networks. My point about we can use similar tactics is Jodi Miller’s doing the same thing that the Left did when they were making fun of Sarah Palin. She’s just making fun of liberal ideas.

We can do that, we can play that game and we can win that game. Because our ideas actually do work, you know, we don’t have to hide our agenda our agenda can be on the surface. So I think that’s an example of how we can hit hard, we can use humor, we can even use ridicule. Because that’s the nature of hard-hitting politics. What we can’t do is fall in a group like ACORN and try to steal elections, that’s not us and then we would literally be becoming like the Left.

SHEFFIELD: Yeah, exactly. Alright well I appreciate you joining me today and thank you for the conversation. It’s an excellent book. I highly recommend it to all of our listeners and readers of the transcript. So I will let you go now, but thank you for joining me Tim Daughtry.

DAUGHTRY: Thank you so much and thank you for what you’re doing at NewsBusters.

About the Author

Matthew Sheffield is the creator of NewsBusters and president of Dialog New Media, an internet marketing and design firm. Click here to follow Matthew Sheffield on Twitter.



  1. […] Taking Conservatism to the Masses: NewsBusters Interviews Author Tim Daughtry (johnmalcolm.me) […]

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