1) There is nothing ever worth fighting for except Democrat policies: If you’re going to fight for something, make sure you’re fighting your own base to help the Democrats achieve some policy goal that makes Tea Partiers want to stab themselves in their eyes. This makes you appear reasonable to the mainstream media and the howls of outrage from your base make it more likely that the New York Times will say nice things about you.
2) You must systematically destroy any person, place, or thing that excites conservatives: Nothing good ever comes from conservatives getting excited; so make sure to target anything and anyone that gets them fired up. If it’s a person like Ted Cruz or Sarah Palin, trash him or her publicly or have your aides leak stories to the press if you’re not brave enough to go that far. If it’s a strategy, put it down and undercut it at every opportunity. If it’s a group like the Senate Conservatives Fund or Freedomworks, scorn it and complain that it’s bad for the Republican Party.
3) You’re a winner just by virtue of being an establishment Republican: When Tea Partiers rally behind a candidate who loses, it’s because those guys don’t know what they’re doing. When establishment Republicans rally behind a candidate who loses, then they obviously selected the best candidate, but no other candidate could have won. Establishment Republicans have a great formula: Win races, do nothing with that power that will make the media mad at you, which leads to more victories, which leads to doing nothing with that power that will make the media mad at you and so on and so on until the GOP totally dominates. Sure, that strategy may have lost the GOP the last two presidential elections and has produced only 45 senators so far, but it should start working any time now.
4) Trash conservatives, but hold your fire against Democrats: There’s a reason that both John McCain and Mitt Romney fought harder against their Republican primary opponents than they did against Barack Obama. The media liberals applaud you for saying mean things about conservative Republicans, but they hate it when you go after Democrats. If it comes right down to it, it’s better to go down to an honorable defeat than to win and have the media angry at you because you won a bruising race against a Democrat.
5) Communication skills are completely irrelevant: Think of yourself as a placeholder. Your job is to do just enough to keep conservatives from hating your guts so badly that you end up like poor Arlen Specter, while not making the media angry at you. Keep in mind that nothing makes the media angrier than a Republican who’s effective at anything. If you seem too charismatic or clever, liberals will perceive you as a threat who needs to be destroyed. That’s why you’re much better off mumbling boilerplate that people will forget 5 minutes after they’ve heard it.
6 Don’t freak people out by discussing how bad things are really getting: You don’t want to start freaking people out by suggesting the country could be so bankrupt we can’t even afford to borrow the money for our entitlement programs in a decade, do you? What do you think Paul Krugman would say to that? If you start telling the public that the Obama Administration got people killed with Fast and Furious and Benghazi, how do you think the Washington Post will react? Besides, if things really go south, important people like you will be living on an island somewhere; so what difference does it make what happens to the rest of the country?
7) Accept that conservatism can’t win: Your job is not to win battles for conservatism, since that can’t happen. Instead, your job is to stave off inevitable defeat long enough to enjoy the perks of being a career politician before you start making the real money as a lobbyist. The last thing you want to do is go out and actually start trying to move the country to the right. That’s how you get MSNBC talking about you every day and Jesse Jackson calling you a racist.
8) Moderate is always better than conservative: Come on, how could any intelligent person back Pat Toomey over Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio, Rand Paul over Trey Grayson, and Ted Cruz over David Dewhurst? Granted, Rubio is coming around, but the rest of those guys have been rocking the boat since they got in the Senate. Why can’t they be more like Charlie Crist, Lincoln Chaffee, and Arlen Specter? Sure, all of those guys left the GOP, but anyone who can make it in either party obviously appeals to a lot of voters.
9) It’s fine to lie to your base: Just tell your supporters what they want to hear to get them to vote you into office and then keep your promises if it’s convenient. Tell them you’ll NEVER support amnesty and then lead the charge on it or say, “Read my lips: no new taxes,” and then push through a massive tax increase. The media loves it when Republicans screw over their own supporters and besides, what are they going to do? Vote for the Democrat?
10) Don’t make the mistake of talking about conservative principles when it matters: When you talk about conservative principles, mention them occasionally, quietly, as if they’re something your base is forcing you to do. Don’t ever make a big deal over it, even if your opponent is taking wildly unpopular liberal positions. Sure, the American public may ferociously oppose partial birth abortion and refusing to deport illegal aliens who’ve committed serious crimes, but if you make an issue of it, the media will think you’re one of THOSE Republicans. You know, the ones that actually believe in things. Better to just mumble some platitudes about your commitment to life and the rule of law as you get back to your talking points about the corporate tax rate.