That’s how the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page described Ken Cuccinelli this morning in the wake of his very near miss.
I think it clarifies a message problem that confronts the politically active of faith. Mark Levin did not help matters when he said, “…GOP ESTABLISHMENT AND DONORS LEFT THE FIELD.” But he does illustrate a point.
The word that keeps running through my mind is “winsome.”
generally pleasing and engaging often because of a childlike charm and innocence
Somewhere, somehow, those of us on the conservative side of the social issues have lost that. This is a communications concern, not a policy/position concern. Yes, our opposition wants to act like anyone that holds a position contrary to theirs is definitionally not winsome, but they can only get away with that if our approach and personality permits them to.
I need to slip into preacher mode for one paragraph – it is also a spiritual issue. If we are not winsome, then somehow we are not reflecting the God we worship because He is – by definition – winsome beyond description. Think about the story to which the WSJ’s description alludes, there is no condemnation from Christ; He in fact saves the accused from condemnation. There is only an urge to “go and sin no more.” A lesson in winsome that. Now back to the politics.
The “GOP Establishment and donors,” if dollars are the best measure, did not support Cuccinelli nearly as much as his Republican predecessor – but that does not necessarily mean they are “RINOS” or that they have abandoned socially conservative issues. It means they are searching for the right way to approach those issues and they knew that Cuccinelli was not the right way.
History never repeats itself in as much detail as we like to think it does, so Reagan nostalgia sometimes troubles me. Reagan would have likely found the current environment far more frustrating than the one he operated in. But he did have the particular thing we are talking about here absolutely right on. He made friends of his opponents and managed to stay friends with them, even when they disagreed. They liked him, even when he disagreed with them.
If there is a lesson to be learned from yesterday’s results that’s it. Chris Christie has a number of vulnerabilities as a candidate, but he is likable. He manages to be quite charming in the middle of his combative bombast.
Much has been made of the fact that Mitt Romney is also a very charming guy. I certainly experienced that in my meetings with him. But the public never got that image. We are quick to blame the MSM, but there are certain preconditions that make it so the MSM can get away with that. Primary among those preconditions is that Romney’s supporters were often precisely as dour and condemning as the media painted Romney. Not everybody gets to meet a presidential candidate, but everybody does get to meet a supporter of a presidential candidate. People will inform their impression of the candidate on their impression of his/her supporters.
We need, desperately, to find our “happy place” again. We cannot wait for things to get better. If they are going to get better it is because we have found our way back to winsome. Not our candidate – us.