Update: Persuasion Tuesdays have started! Come on by and be a part of it.
Hugh Hewitt is my all-time favorite talk show host. Yesterday he disussed some of the next steps following the Republican loss of the legislature, specifically filling leadership positions. Allow me to suggest that finding the right minority leader and the proper people to fill posts in the party is pointless in the absence of a strategy.
It’s becoming evident to me that Newt Gingrich was a once in a generation political figure. He offered a concise set of measurable goals and held his congress to them. I have never been so enthusiastic about voting as I was when he and his colleagues put forth the Contract with America. Without such a purpose, the faces the Republicans will use to represent them on talk shows and in front of the press can be as eloquent and beautiful as they like, but it won’t change a thing.
Many people on the net, including Hugh, have echoed this sentiment. We lost because there was no reason to vote for us. We voted against feckless Democrats, not for purposeful Republicans. If the leaders in congress had the ability to set forth an agenda, they would have done it. They didn’t and now it’s up to us.
The blogosphere and talk radio has a huge opportunity now to set the agenda. With all of the communications tools open to us, there is nothing to stop us from developing a positive, optimistic, constructive agenda by consensus. Even if we tabled the issues where large numbers of us differ, we should still be able to develop a valuable second Contract.
Hugh and his colleagues have touted townhall.com as a way to make a difference politically. I suggest that he and his team produce web-based interaction tools for developing, discussing and voting on a new Contract. Here’s my proposed plan of action and milestones.
1. The blogosphere develops a set of candidate topics through blog posts. I’ll go first. Balance the freakin’ budget! This step is to be complete by January 1.
2. Townhall.com develops a voting site where we are allowed to pick our top 5 (or whatever) issues. Voting complete by January 15.
3. Townhall.com develops discussion boards organized by topic and by strategic element. Strategic elements would be things like deadlines, definitions of terms, and no-fly zones. In my example, I would argue that the budget should be balanced by 2010, where “balanced” means no borrowing from Social Security and it is not acceptable for the government portion of the GNP to pass 30%. The discussion boards would be unveiled January 22.
4. Discussion boards would be heavily moderated to prevent flames and trolls. The purpose is to promote constructive discussion, not name-calling.
5. On March 15, the discussions would be synthesized into votable components. In my example, the voting would ask the participants if the budget should be balanced by 2010, 2011 or 2012 and so on.
6. The voting would be complete by April 1. At that point, the blogosphere and talk radio would have a measurable and concise agenda to pursue. After that, let the blogging and talking commence!
Web 2.0 allows us all to be a part of a blogosphere version of the Constitutional Convention. We can all participate in the discussion and set forth an agenda. On Tuesday we saw what happened when we had none. Instead of blaming people, let’s do what Americans do best. Take the problem on as our own and solve it.
How can you help right now? Link to this post. Drop me a comment. Best of all, recommend the idea to some of the big bloggers out there, such as Hugh Hewitt, Powerline or Instapundit.
In the spirit of Web 2.0 (or is it 3.0 now?) I'm flogging this idea at all of the open trackback sites. The list includes Angel, StopTheACLU, again with StopTheACLU, Third World Country, The Pirate's Cove, Blue Star Chronicles, The World According to Carl, Basil's Blog and others.