The Republican Playbook.

If you’ve ever been directly involved with a state or national political campaign, you may know that the people operating the campaigns are generally law school and political science graduates who view political campaigns in the same way most people view sports. It’s all about winning – often at any cost. That stated, it seems that Republicans take this philosophy to a completely different level.

Following is the Republican checklist for getting candidates elected:

1 – Create a variety of “think tanks” to “study” political issues. These groups are generally labeled with patriotic sounding names. A few examples are American Enterprise Institute, Cato Institute, Center for Individual Freedom, Center for the Study of Popular Culture, Coalitions for America, F.A.I.R., FreedomWorks, Heritage Foundation, Leadership Institute, National Taxpayers Union, Club for Growth, Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, American Center for Law and Justice, Family Research Council, Catholics United for the Faith, National Right to Life Committee, Center for Military Readiness, United Seniors Association, United States Border Control, American Civil Rights Institute, Media Research Center, Students for Academic Freedom… (Are you ready to salute, yet?).

The organizations bill themselves as independent and they generate lots of studies that are used to attack Democratic values. They also generate many of the Republican-sponsored bills that are introduced in Congress or in state legislatures. For example, the NRA wrote the liberal “Conceal and Carry” laws that have been passed in many states. And Kansas-based F.A.I.R. wrote the ill-conceived immigration bill recently passed in Arizona.

2 – Control the discussion. Ever wonder why Republican pundits on news programs never shut up? By controlling the discussion, they hope to control the agenda. They want the public to view each issue through a Republican lens. If Democrats bring up an issue first, Republicans do everything possible to re-frame the issue in a way that benefits them.  So Democrat-sponsored financial reform becomes a “government takeover” of banks.

3 – The big lie. The bigger the lie, the better. For example, a provision in the health reform bill designed to help people create living wills, became “death panels to pull the plug on Granny.” T.A.R.P., which was passed by the Bush administration to avoid worldwide financial collapse, is suddenly an example of Obama-inspired “Socialism”. And gays are an abomination under God, except for the ones Republicans sleep with.

4 – Names that disguise the reality of legislation. Bush’s “Clear Skies Initiative” was designed to weaken environmental protections. And “No Child Left Behind” was designed, not to improve education, but to punish impoverished schools with the most problematic enrollments.

5 – Wealth redistribution. You know how Republicans are always talking about Democrats wanting to redistribute wealth from the top down? (See #3) For 40 years, Republicans have been redistributing wealth upward.

6 – Small government. By repeating this mantra, Republicans have succeeded tapping into people’s dislike and distrust of bureaucracy. But it’s really just a cover for deregulation of stock markets, commodities, pharmaceutical companies, oil companies, etc. Republicans abhor anything that stands in the way of corporate profits, even if it prevents calamities such the BP oil geyser in the Gulf. Funny how Republicans never seem to mind big military and big Homeland Security.

7 – Fear. The Bogeyman is going to get you unless you vote Republican. Only Republicans can save you from terrorists, communists, socialists, fascists, secularists, gay marriages, gays in the military, immigrants, drug lords, etc., etc.

8 – Unity and payback. You’re either with us or “agin” us. Compromise is a dirty word. So is bipartisanship.

9 – Activist judges. You’ve heard all about the evils of activist judges who rule on behalf of civil rights and the woman’s right to choose. But have you heard about the activist judges who decide the outcomes of elections and give corporations the rights of individuals, including the right to donate millions to Republican candidates?

10 – Media whores. Namely Fox News Channel and Rush Limbaugh who can be counted on to repeat Republican talking points without question.

11 – Obstruct Democrats in every way possible, then blame Democrats for the delays.  Just look at the current situation in Washington.  Republicans have invoked the filibuster rule more times this session than any other time in history to “stop Obama’s socialist agenda.”

12 – Repetition, repetition, repetition. This goes hand in hand with the big lie.  If they keep repeating a lie long enough, people begin to think it must be true.