Until a few months ago I was a neocon, hoping that Mike Huckabee would run for president so I could vote for him. Until I started listening to Ron Paul and a paradigm shift snapped my brain nearly off the stem. To Ron Paul supporters trying to court the neocon vote, here’s what you need to understand about the neocon mentality. Please use this guide to speak with them on their terms in order to convince them to come to our side.
Rule Number 1 in the neocon brain: America is a fundamentally good country and most of the rest of the world is evil.
I understand that this may seem a bit childish to believe, but it is extremely deeply rooted in the neocon mentality. You won’t get through to them if you deny this principle. We are in Iraq and everywhere else because we are good and we sincerely want freedom for all Iraqis. We bombed Lybia to save lives. Iran really is a threat to the world. They really, truly believe this. They’re being sincere. It’s not a game to get oil or power or control of the world. It has nothing to do with “empire” in their heads. Empires bring to mind the Emperor in Star Wars and crazy people like Caligula. Not the United States. They can’t bare to think that America is anything resembling an evil empire. Once you even hint that, they’ll stop listening entirely.
Given that, how do you work around the goop?
Work with them. Agree where you can. Avoid sensitive words and terminology. The truth is, and all Paul supporters would agree, America really is a force for good in the world, or at least it can and should be. Agree on that. You must make it clear to them that you believe this. The only question is “how” to be a force for good in the world. Don’t say things like “we’re in Iraq for the oil”. Say that you, too, want freedom for all Iraqis. Don’t you? Yes, you just don’t believe that we have to station troops there to do it, or spend a dollar enforcing it.
From there, you’ve got to curve it around. Tell them you’d support the Iraq war if war were declared by Congress with a clearly defined goal. But every undeclared war America has ever fought without a clear goal has been lost. Talk like a person interested in American victory. Korea, Vietnam, now Iraq and Afghanistan have all been lost causes. Neocons understand victory and defeat. They want to win, and they don’t want to lose. So tell them that if we want to win, we have to have Congress declare a war and declare a clearly defined goal. Until then, our troops will continue to die to no end and you can’t stand defeat. So in the meantime, we HAVE to pull them out until Congress can get its act together and stop letting them die for nothing.
And you care about America too much to let them keep dying for nothing.
Tell them you would support any just war that the Congress declares. Tell them you want victory as much as they do. That’s rule number 1.
Don’t use the word “constitution”. It just doesn’t interest them. I know that’s hard to accept, but it’s the truth. It means very little to them in a practical sense, so just talk in the language of victory and defeat.