David Horowitz is one of the main strategists behind Karl Rove’s success. He wrote a book, The Art of Political War, that is used as a key strategy document by Republicans across-the-board, state and local. The following is from an article about Karl Rove by Sander Hicks: (alternate source)
“Horowitz wrote The Art of Political War to call on Republicans to create a politics that appealed to the masses: the working families, gays, unions, etc. Karl Rove praised The Art of Political War as indispensible and provided the cover blurb. (“A perfect pocket guide to winning on the political battlefield”-Karl Rove”) It is recognized today as the genesis of “Compassionate Conservatism” and is used nation-wide by the Republican Party Chairs in 32 states.”
From The War at Home:
“During the 2000 presidential and congressional elections, every Republican member of the U.S. Congress received a free pamphlet, compliments of Congressman Tom DeLay, the party’s majority whip. Written by conservative activist David Horowitz, the pamphlet was called The Art of Political War: How Republicans Can Fight to Win. It came with an endorsement on the cover by Karl Rove, the senior advisor to then-candidate George W. Bush. According to Rove, The Art of Political War was “a perfect pocket guide to winning on the political battlefield from an experienced warrior.” In addition to DeLay’s gift to members of Congress, the Heritage Foundation, one of the leading conservative think tanks in Washington, found Horowitz’s advice so impressive that it sent another 2,300 copies to conservative activists around the country.” [emphasis added]
Take a look at what Horowitz says, writing about the “romance of the underdog.” From this review of Horowitz’ work (go to page 2):
“Horowitz argues that it’s necessary “to manipulate the public’s feelings in support of your agenda, while mobilizing passions of fear and resentment against your opponent.” This is best accomplished, he says, by capitalizing on the “romance of the underdog” and painting oneself as a victim.”
Keeping in mind that Horowitz’ book is considered the “Bible” of Republican strategists, take a look at this news story today:
“Republicans said they would seek to turn any disruptions to their advantage, by portraying protests by even independent activists as Democratic-sanctioned displays of disrespect for a sitting president.”
In case you hadn’t already noticed, portraying themselves as victims is an important component of the Right’s strategy.
Again, with current news in mind, let’s take a look at some of the other components of Horowitz’ recommended strategies. (While reading, understand that Horowitz often says that the things he is writing about are things that “Liberals” do as tactics, which is itself just another tactic of persuasion, to make his right-wing readers feel like victims who must adopt these tactics.) In April, 2000, Horowitz wrote Full-Contact Politics. In it, Horowitz writes,
“3. In political wars, the aggressor usually prevails. [. . .] By striking first, you can define the issues and define your adversary. Definition is the decisive move in all political wars. Other things being equal, whoever winds up on the defensive will generally be on the losing side.
4. Position is defined by fear and hope. The twin emotions of politics are fear and hope. Those who provide people with hope become their friends; those who inspire fear become enemies. Of the two, hope is the better choice.
But fear is a powerful and indispensable weapon. If your opponent defines you negatively enough, he will diminish your ability to offer hope. [emphasis added] [. . .] Symbols are so powerful that if you manipulate them cleverly, as liberals do, you can even launch mean-spirited attacks on your opponents and pretend to be compassionate while doing it.
6. Victory lies on the side of the people. This is the bottom line. You must define yourself in ways that the people understand. You must give people hope in your victory, and make them fear the victory of your opponent. You can accomplish both by identifying yourself and your issues with the underdog and the victim, with minorities and the disadvantaged, with the ordinary Janes and Joes.”
Please take a moment to read David Horowitz: Beating the Dems by Going on the Attack. I’ll be writing about this later. There will be a test. I think it is especially useful to read the full text of each of the articles cited, to gain understanding of what the Republicans are doing in this election.
** Extra Credit: Read what Media Transparency has to say about Horowitz, with a focus on his use of racism.
(Update – Edited, and a quote added, shortly after posting)