Always Make Your Opponent Defend Their Record / Belief System

The following is an excerpt from the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.”

Your Republican champion is ready to take on a notoriously liberal member of the mainstream media, who is a Democrat talking-point regurgitator masquerading as an objective journalist.

His show might as well be called “The Graveyard,” because so many conservatives have gone there to die in the past that grassroots patriots wonder why Republicans even agree to do it at all anymore. “Keith” is snotty, snarky, and worst of all, smart, like wickedly smart; the kind of guy you wish was on your side.

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He’s also not known for exchanging pleasantries, and goes right for the throat with his very first question.

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“Mr. Republican, you have been critical of Democrats calling for more policies to help the poor and downtrodden in our abundantly wealthy society, saying they are too expensive and taxpayers shouldn’t be asked to shoulder such a burden,” he says. “It’s easy for those who are well off like you to focus first on their own needs, and not the needs of others, but I believe I am my brother’s keeper. You claim to be a Christian, so isn’t it the moral thing to care for the less fortunate? Surely, in a country as wealthy as ours there is no excuse for poverty. Instead of tax cuts for the rich, shouldn’t we put others less fortunate first?”

As he closes his mini-monologue masquerading as a question, the liberal host squares his shoulders and he begins to subtly strut like a peacock. “Keith” is confident because this line of emotion-based drivel has driven so many other previous Republicans into the fetal position on his program.

“Interesting take, Keith, how much do you think is enough,” Mr. Republican asks the liberal host.

“Certainly in a $6 trillion economy there’s enough to ensure income equality is there not,” he says.

“Well if you believe so strongly in that principle, why don’t you start by living it out in your own life,” Mr. Republican says matter-of-factly.

“What are you talking about,” Keith responds. “I’m not the public official here you are, so since you’re the one making public policy you’re the one who has the burden of proof.”

“Nice try Keith,” Mr. Republican says. “I may be making public policy, but you’re trying to shape it and influence it. Therefore, your opinion matters at least as much as mine, and you’re required to be at least as accountable as me. Therefore, perhaps your audience would be interested in knowing that you made $10.6 million last year according to industry trade reports?”

Keith gets a sly grin on his face. “Steady, Mr. Republican. That is what I made. But you made over $120 million last year according to your publicly released tax records. I’m doing well, but I’m not even in the same ballpark.”

Mr. Republican smiles back winsomely. “It’s true, my family and I have been very blessed. This is why last year we gave over $15 million to charitable causes like Animal Rescue League, homeless shelters, orphanages, and several overseas missionaries along with what we give back to our church. The reason you didn’t get a press release on that is because my faith tells me not to publicize my giving for personal gain, but to give to others in honor of how much God has given me. I’m only bringing it up now because you brought up my personal financial situation, making it fair game.”

“So you’re touting the fact you gave $15 million to charity, which is more than I make in a year? You still have over $100 million left after that, which is 10 times what I made,” Keith says.

“Actually, after Uncle Sam takes his cut off the top my family ended up giving almost 20% of our income away, and that doesn’t count the personal investments we made in stocks and real estate with our income that helped stimulate the economy by creating more jobs to handle those capital investments. How much did you give to charity last year?”

Keith is now starting to get fidgety.

“Off the top of my head I don’t know,” he says warily.

“Well let me help you with that,” Mr. Republican says winsomely. “Just kidding, I couldn’t access your tax records without committing a felony or going to work for the NSA. And since you’re not a Tea Partier, you don’t have to worry about the IRS auditing you. But would you say you’re at least as charitable as the last Democrat vice president of the United States?”

“Absolutely, Joe is a fine man who loves his neighbor as he loves himself,” Keith says, his confidence suddenly returned.

“Then you’re in some dubious company, because according to their publicly released tax records the Bidens gave an average of $369 per year to charity in the 10 years prior to him becoming vice president when he was serving in the U.S. Senate. That’s about 0.3 percent of his income.”

Keith is now getting visibly flustered. “Well, well, those were the lean years of the Bush recession and money was kind of tight.”

Mr. Republican now moves in for the kill. “Well, to your point the vice president’s giving did go up after becoming Obama’s vice president—to a grand total of 1.4 percent of his income. When you consider over 80% of Biden’s income was from the taxpayers, and 100% of my family’s income came from our own labors – I forego my salary as an elected official – and our private income was used to create jobs and opportunities for others, why don’t we ask your audience who cares more for their fellow man?”

Keith gives Mr. Republican a condescending golf clap. “Well played, sir well played. I’ll give you this; you’ve got more chutzpah than most of the Republicans that come on this show. Fine, I’ll grant the point that you and your family has been successful, responsible, and charitable. But then why not extend that responsibility and charity to others? Regardless of what you’re doing in your personal life, which I applaud, your public policy positions are abhorrent.”

“Do you think I have a responsibility to be my brother’s keeper,” Mr. Republican asks.

“You bet I do, we all do,” Keith replies.

“Keith, where does that idea come from, do you know?”

“It’s just common decency,” Keith answers.

Out of the corner of his eye, Mr. Republican sees the off-camera producer indicating it’s almost time to take a commercial break, so he knows it’s now or never for the money shot. In an unassuming tone of voice he says, “Actually Keith, given the fact you’re an avowed atheist, I’m not surprised you don’t know where the expression really comes from. The first recorded usage of the phrase ‘brother’s keeper’ in human history came from a man named Cain, who sarcastically asks God ‘am I my brother’s keeper’ after God begins to question him about why he murdered his own brother. I’ve always found it ironic when liberals quote the first murder Cain to defend their warped view of compassion, since Cain had none…”

…Now the music starts up indicating the show is about to go to commercial break and “Keith” tries to get the final word, but Mr. Republican won’t be denied…

“…But then again I shouldn’t be surprised since liberals such as yourself don’t understand true compassion, as evidenced by the fact you’ve supported state-sanctioned child murder for decades now.” And with a million dollar smile Mr. Republican closes with, “Cain would be proud of you, Keith.”

“We’ll be right back with tonight’s worst person in the world,” Keith sheepishly says.

To the best of my knowledge, the hypothetical you just read has never actually occurred in my lifetime, but if it did it would’ve been the best thing ever.

In the hypothetical you just read, notice how often Mr. Republican uses a question to set up his antagonist. In a relatively short exchange, Mr. Republican asks “Keith” eight questions. The questions are framed skillfully and used purposefully. They are somewhat open-ended and at times non-threatening (on the surface) invitations to dialogue, but structured in a way that it forces the other side to reveal their own belief system when answering.

We must add this arrow to our quiver, because without it we end up arguing their premise and playing defense all the time.

Revealing the true motive and worldview of your opponent by asking questions, as opposed to debating opposing declarative statements, has been a devastating tactic used throughout history. Often referred to nowadays as the Socratic Method, the use of questions to stimulate critical thought and deconstruct your adversary was used several times in the New Testament by Christ Himself.

Here is a question that you can use to deconstruct a flawed premise of the Left: Has anybody ever gotten a job from a poor person?

See, all of my jobs came from rich people. So if you say you want to create more jobs than why would you use government to punitively punish the only people capable of creating them?


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