This week, Revolution came up on my iPod on the way home from work one night this week. Years ago, when I worked at the Leadership Institute, many of my colleagues enjoyed this song. Travelling to campus after campus helping students build conservative organizations in overwhelmingly left-wing environments, we were at the forefront of the conservative revolution.
Listening to the lyrics again this week, the cautionary tune for the radical left of the 1960s and 1970s sounded like an appropriate warning for today’s political would-be warriors.
Monday night just hours after Chris Cillizza posted what read like an obituary for Sarah Palin. Listen to the lyrics, and The coverage of her break with Fox News framed Palin as the poster child for soundbite-driven Republican party that was short on ideas.
Palin was hardly the only center-right figure to fall into this trap, so you can’t blame here for being the driving force behind the anti-intellectual discourse of the past four years. It’s just as wrong to claim vapidity is the exclusive property of the right. Remember that Palin’s 2008 ticket lost to a campaign that was paper thin behind the glowing ideas of “hope,” “change,” and “Yes We Can!”
There’s a lesson in that loss, and it’s summed up in the oft-quoted line, “But if you carrying pictures of chairman Mao / You ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.” Conservatives like to point to this and say even the hippy-dippy Beatles understood that communism sucks. Possibly, but that’s not really the point.
Anyone who carries their politics on their sleeve is someone who gets avoided pretty frequently. They are the people you defriend on Facebook because of their long screeds against corporate America and because they call you a fascist for liking McDonald’s french fries. They are the people that can’t hold a conversation without talking about the encroachment of the Federal government on our collective rights.
These folks may have a point (except the french fry guy because McDonald’s is awesome). The problem is they bend over backwards to make it. They’re trying too hard.
President Obama in one of the most overtly liberal Presidents of the past century. That’s fine, he didn’t get elected because of his beliefs. No President does. Heck, no politician does, really. That’s why it’s laughable to hear any analysis of a Republican primary where one candidate is deemed “too conservative” to win. There’s no such thing as too conservative to win.
There is such a thing as too crazy to win.
Anyone who really wants a revolution (on either side) needs to remember that to avoid falling into the trap that Palin and other Republicans have for the past decade.
After all, we all want to change the world.