This means that, in terms of political messaging, it’s best to be on offense so that you can advance your agenda on your own terms and on your own schedule.
The reverse scenario is that you get blindsided and are forced to respond to your opposition. The more unprepared someone is to respond, the less effective their response will be, and the more likely that they’re constantly playing defense.
In American politics, liberals (excuse me, “progressives”) are usually the aggressors. Generally speaking, it’s liberals who want to change the pre-existing, more conservative norms of society and government, (you know, “hope-n-change”, etc.).
This fact has several ramifications:
First, it allows liberals to set the terms of the public debate and put conservatives on the defensive.
Second, it usually makes us look negative, (as liberals will generally push until the conservative opposition starts to look hysterically negative…which makes the news media happy, as they love to show conservatives in a negative light).
At this point, they may take a step back from their own radical position and offer a compromise in order to appear “reasonable” and “moderate”. Of course, if the “compromise” is accepted, they have still advanced their agenda. (Remember, a journey of a thousand miles…) They see liberalism as a ratchet that only turns one way in our society.
The solution is for conservatives to be the aggressors.
We need to spend more time being the proponents of “change” – as in changing things to better align with, protect or reclaim conservative norms. Things that average people can connect with and relate to on an everyday basis.
Given the current state of our country, there’s no shortage of things to be aggressive about.
Remember, the best defense is a good offense!