They tried everything. They tried leaving the state.
Going to Illinois as the ultimate tactic. How ridiculous that sounds at this remove.
Rush was talking to some guy from Wisconsin who wanted to know how to defeat the Democrats, and Rush had wheeled out one of his most basic principles, which is that conservatives win when they talk about ideas. If only the political discourse could be, quite straightforwardly, about the actual substance of the political ideas, the conservatives would win. A corollary is: The Democrats — and their big media supporters — know they'd lose the battle of ideas, so they do whatever they can to distract us whenever they can. They try everything.
The caller brought up Scott Walker. (Will he run for President? Don't we need him here in Wisconsin? etc.) And Rush steered the discussion back to that basic principle, that conservatives will win if they can fixate attention on conservative ideas. The segment ends:
The Democrats can't possibly win on ideas because they know they can't even be honest about what they believe. If they did that they would lose big. So they have to go after people's credibility and reputations, and that's what they do. Some people don't have the guts like Scott Walker did to put up with it. Most say, "I don't want this hassle. I just want to live my life."That reminded me of the passage in Walker's book ("Unintimidated") where his wife confronts him:
As the intensity of the protests grew, Tonette became increasingly worried about me, our family, and our safety. The vitriol that was being directed at us, the people picketing outside our home, distressed her to no end.By the way, searching my ebook for "Tonette," trying to find this passage, I felt that I detected a literary device, throughout the book, of making the wife the repository of emotion. I have no idea how these scenes played out in real life, but as set forth in narrative, Scott is the strong, bold man of ideas and action, and his wife expresses emotion. Her emotion elicits emotion from him, as an aspect of the strong, bold man is his bond to his family and his unshakeable commitment to love and protect them.
One night we were standing in our bedroom and she turned to me, visibly upset, and said: “Scott, why are you doing this?” The question took me aback. At first, I thought she was blaming me for the protests. But it was more than that.
“Why are these people so upset with you?” Tonette demanded to know. “You got what you wanted. Why are you pushing this?”
Being emotional, Tonette also serves as a representative of the people, how they see Scott Walker. Again, this is a literary device that works to give us scenes of Walker empathizing with the people through interactions with his wife. This role for Tonette's character is openly stated:
Tonette is an excellent political barometer for me because she is like a lot of Wisconsin voters — smart and well read but focused on things other than politics....See? Empathy for Tonette, understood as empathy for the people, translated back into the courageous work of the man of ideas and action. This use of the wife isn't overdone, however. And the problem of making the woman seem too emotional and dependent is countered with passages like:
Now here she was, demanding to know: “Why are these protesters in front of our house? Why is this so important that it is worth all this grief to our family?” We talked it over and prayed about it together. Eventually, I convinced her that our reforms were a necessary course of action and worth the pain and grief they were causing our family. That gave me hope. If I could convince Tonette, I could probably convince most of our citizens as well.
Like most spouses, Tonette is generally more hurt by things said against me than I am. But don’t think for a moment they got the best of her. I’m tough, but Tonette is even tougher....There follows a story about family illness and death. Then:
The protests and recalls were tough on Tonette, but none of that was as tough as the losses she has experienced throughout her life. She is strong. Her strength, and her wisdom, strengthened me.Think about how this relates to Rush Limbaugh's notion that conservatives must talk about ideas. Emotion makes it difficult to absorb ideas, and the promoter of ideas who simply retreats into cynicism about the way people are too emotional to get what he's saying isn't going to win over the voters.
Tonette was my rock throughout the fight over Act 10. It was Tonette who showed me I was losing the argument over collective bargaining. And it was Tonette who showed me that if I got out there and explained myself, we could prevail.
It's easy for the conservative (or libertarian) to say: My ideas are great and others would think so too if only they weren't so beset by fear and desire for loving kindness and all these other emotional forces that the damned media are always going to be stoking and stroking to keep people agreeing with my opponents whose ideas would be seen as terrible if only they were ever examined critically and rationally.
Of course, Rush knows the role of emotion in the formation of opinion, and he uses it to win people over to conservatism. Ironically, the assertion that conservatives win when they talk about ideas is itself an excitement of the emotions. Certainly, Rush doesn't quit. He doesn't say I don't want this hassle. I just want to live my life. He's rich. He could withdraw into the comforts and pleasures of life and hang out with his beautiful wife and his friends who think he's a great guy. But he stays in the game. It can't be only that the ideas are so good and he's committed to explaining them, because that and only that is the way toward conservative victory.
He knows he's got a line to the people and he's stoking and stroking our emotions.