Take No Prisoners

bbTo purchase David Horowitz’s new book, Take No Prisoners, click here.

The Republican presidential ticket was animated, with both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan finally ripping President Obama’s foreign policy to shreds. Pity that it happened nearly two years after they were soundly beaten in the 2012 election.

The too-little-way-too-late indictment occurred during a Fox News interview days after Islamic State jihadists decapitated an American journalist. It was a stark departure from the campaign, when so scathing a critique might have made a difference. Take, for example, the third debate between the candidates, a session on foreign affairs. All of America, it seemed, waited for Romney to unload on Obama’s shameful malfeasance before, during and after the then-recent Benghazi massacre. Alas, the Republican standard-bearer decided the winning debate strategy was to permit no daylight between Obama’s approach and his own, the better to focus the election on the economy. Quickly seeing that Romney had no intention of attacking, Obama reverted to the default Democrat strategy of ridiculing his rival as an out-of-touch rich guy who hadn’t heard the Cold War was over and wanted to hunker down in Iraq for a thousand years. Romney, to the contrary, seemed by debate’s end to be on the verge of endorsing Obama, whose foreign policy outpaces even Jimmy Carter’s in sheer destructiveness.

Romney, Ryan and their GOP leadership colleagues might not be the nice guys who finished last if they’d taken a few lessons from David Horowitz in the art of political warfare. Yes, warfare: The exercise in aggression in which the object is to defeat your adversary, not demonstrate how much you admire and have in common with him.

Political warfare is the subject of Mr. Horowitz’s latest book, Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left. It is a particularly fitting topic for the bestselling author – the publisher of FrontPage and president of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is, after all, an unparalleled expert in the Left’s tireless and transformative political activism having learned it, lived it, escaped it, and dedicated his career to defeating it.

But warfare? Must it really be so cut-throat? Well, perhaps not … but let’s not kid ourselves. The old saw that “politics ain’t beanbag” predates the modern Left. Today’s timid consultant-class cautions about avoiding political “divisiveness” – the only schooling to which Republicans seem attuned – is nonsensical. Politics is innately divisive. People in a democratic society have vastly different policy preferences, and politics is the process by which we choose. One doesn’t get to govern, to apply policy preferences, without first prevailing in the sharp-elbowed electoral arena. As Horowitz demonstrates, moreover, good policy can be bad politics – the skill sets are different, and while voters may say they want policy that works, they elect candidates who care, or at least give the appearance of caring, even if such treacle translates into ruinous policy.

The inevitable divisiveness of politics has become more akin to warfare because, Horowitz explains, the modern Left is out not merely to defeat but to annihilate its opposition. Today’s Democrats have transformed the proudly pro-American party of Cold Warrior John F. Kennedy into the post-American party of the radical, antiwar, anti-captitalist and anti-Constitutional Left. It is not so much a political party as a missionary movement suffuse with apocalyptic zeal. It does not have opponents; it has enemies. Its grandiose aim is to elevate government as the “social savior,” transcending human history and experience, transmogrifying the United States into a remorselessly egalitarian society based on forced equality of results, not vibrant equality of opportunity.

For the Left, those who stand athwart their utopia rate not reasoned opposition but seething contempt. Democrats blithely portray Republicans in bracing terms: racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, greedy villains – defenders of the parasitic “top one percent” who luxuriate on the backs of decent working people.

Republicans are ill-equipped to deal with the onslaught because its driving convictions lie outside their worldview. Guided by history and experience, they are all too conscious of human failing, very much including their own. They are skeptical of grand schemes to perfect our nature, particularly those orchestrated through the notoriously imperfect vehicle of government. And their basic assumptions about caring – steeped in self-sufficiency and personal responsibility – do not sound-bite nearly as well as extravagant promises to provide for your needs by spending other people’s money.

We are left, then, with a serious passion gap. Republicans depict Democrats as wrong; Democrats decry Republicans as evil. Republicans deconstruct Democratic policy as well-meaning but misguided or “liberal”; Democrats counter that their mean-spirited opponents are the oppressors of women, children, minorities, the poor, and the environment.

In warfare, Horowitz observes, you cannot win “when the other side is using bazookas and your side is wielding fly swatters.” If they are to be viable competitors, Republicans must regard politics as warfare because that is what the opposition is doing. Horowitz explains that for the Left, “the issue is never the issue”; each controversy that arises, each crisis that is manufactured, is fit into an overarching narrative, like the “war on women,” based on its serviceability to “the socialist future and the revolution” by which it is being ushered in.

The narrative is designed not so much to win the day as to drive this transformative agenda. A good-and-evil narrative needs a scoundrel – recall the most infamous of Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” To gin up the hostility necessary for such a campaign, an abstraction will not do. Best to have a flesh-and-blood enemy that can more realistically be cast as a threat to society. That is the role of the Republicans, one they often seem only too willing to play.

Horowitz contends that Republicans must fight fire with fire. Importantly, he is not suggesting that the GOP should slander its opposition with lies. That, in fact, is the power of his argument. Horowitz wants Republicans to throw at the Left the abysmal failures of a half-century’s social welfare policies, and to do it with righteous passion, not apology.

Horowitz elaborates that this is crucial because the “racial Teflon is the reason Republicans lose elections.” Even though it foolishly narrowed the campaign to the economy – to the exclusion of national security, a defining issue in nearly every presidential election won by Republicans since 1952 – the Romney campaign still had a very strong case in light of Obama’s non-recovery, 23 million jobless, and millions more underemployed. Yet much of the voting public never heard the case: Democrats spent $200 million on a television ad campaign that smeared the candidate as a rich, heartless, untrustworthy job-destroyer who was cruel to his dog.

The consultant-driven campaign did not respond in kind despite the fact that a true response was ready to hand. As Horowitz puts it:

Obama is undoubtedly the most obvious and determined liar in presidential history. He is an absentee executive, notably missing in crisis after crisis or busy complaining he was uninformed about matters of crucial concern. While Egypt and Syria burned, he golfed and attended campaign fund-raising events. His endless dithering, misguided interventions, and steadfast support of the Muslim Brotherhood helped to set the Middle East aflame. Meanwhile, he and his wife carry on like royalty, consuming tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on their family vacations and dog, while tens of millions of Americans suffer historic levels of deprivation because of his policies.

Cutting to the chase, Horowitz observes that Republicans were petrified to paint this portrait of Obama because he is black – or, more accurately, half-black and staunchly leftist. In our hyper race-conscious political environment, this qualifies him as a man “of color,” insulated from the “standard to which others are held.” To break through this paralyzing political correctness, Republicans must not be afraid to show that the poor and minority groups are the victims – the human face – of Democratic programs that cheat them out of education, employment opportunity, quality healthcare, security, and stable families.

Horowitz upbraids Republicans for tepidly describing these programs “wasteful,” or sugar-coating them in a wrong-headed and self-defeating concession of the Democrats’ noble intentions. Instead, they are “morally repulsive, life-destroying programs that are inhumane and unjust,” and must be attacked as such. And attacked with real-life images of blight, such as once great American cities like Detroit – a global industrial jewel in living memory, but half of whose population (i.e., over a million people) has now abandoned the wreckage wrought by generations of exclusively Democratic rule.

Modern politics, the author counsels, is about inspiring fear as well as hope. And it is an art of war in which the aggressor usually prevails. Thus, if the opposition’s objectives will imperil the nation, it is essential to convince the public that they are to be feared. Hope can work, as it did for the 2008 Obama campaign, “but fear,” Horowitz writes, “is a stronger and more compelling emotion.”

As we are seeing day after day, Obama and his allies are to be feared. Will that be enough for the Beltway GOP and the grassroots conservatives of the Tea Party to concentrate on what unites rather than divides them? As the author admonishes, it better be. An America that is free, secure, and a positive, decisive leader on the world stage – the America that David Horowitz fights for – hangs in the balance.

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  • lyndaaquarius

    Blood boiling writing. Full of passion and fact.The Repubs need to fight smart and hard.Repeat over over “morally repulsive,life destroying programs that are inhumane and unjust”.Throw all the horror they’ve created up in their face.Mock their phony “racist” meme.So many unattractive people on the left,full of anger and complaint. So easy to mock these Dem “leaders”. Great piece.

    • Slater

      Problem is that most if not all the repubs want power and control as much as their so-called opposition. Our gov’t has been hijacked and it will take we the people to get it back.

  • http://JudeoChristianAmerica.org Alexander Gofen

    What the great calls: Warfare, the exercise in aggression in which the object is to defeat your adversary…

    Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left.

    However, how can “The Battle plan for Defeating the Left” not even mention their greatest crime – ushering into the White House of an impostor with uncertain names Obama-Soetoro-Soebarkach-Bounel, with invalid Social Security number, with officially produced forged papers, and Ms. Loretta Fuddy (who submitted these forgeries) – the only dead in the non-fatal water landing of a plane? How can a plan for “Defeating the opponent” in fact indulge the opponent and cover up for it?

    How can “The Battle plan for Defeating the Left” be written for a party which has twice cooperated with the lefts in the above mentioned greatest crime, and keeps covering every one of the smaller crimes (of which any one would topple the perpetrator under normal circumstances)?

    Alas, in reality this is a plan of deflection into a safe for the party direction. This is the party line that Front Page magazine meticulously follows all these 6 shameful years: NOT TAKING PRISONERS; Never even considering what they now advertise. The farce of the millennium in making… ( http://JudeoChristianAmerica.org )

    • camp7

      Good link.

    • Wolfthatknowsall

      Very good link. I read the entire thing …

  • camp7

    War is our history and war is our past, nothing new under the sun. It’s part of the evolution of humanity’s morals, meanings and values. Whether it be staged on the platform of politics or the trenches of physical contest, it will be measured by advancement or regression in the archives of history.

    The battle is before us. Do we have the reserve to salvage a republic or resign to a morphed democratic statist society that will suffer the symptoms of eventual failure? Will the fight be won on constitutional rule or will it be lost by populist and executive control?

    David Horowitz is of course right. We need to be aggressive with the sword of truth and take no prisoners that slow the march of survival. The upcoming 2012 and 2014 elections could be the Valley Forge of America’s survival as we once knew it. Only to prepare us more for the cultural battle within our own camp and the armies of evil on foreign shores ahead.

    We’re deep, the lines are drawn, this is warfare. There will be victims and there will be survivors. It’s only human.

  • johnlac

    The Democrat strategy of vilifying Republicans was revealed many decades ago when Republican attempts to halt out-of-control Dem-sponsored spending (which many Republicans blithely went along with) were described as wanting to “kill” people who supposedly would be helped by the extra spending. Even when the Pubbie’s own legislation on the matter would have increased spending, their efforts were described as “cutting” spending because the Pubbie bill wouldn’t waste as much taxpayer money.
    Of course most Dem-sponsored spending over the past fifty years has either failed to help the people it was intended for or simply done to help keep the Dem constituents voting for Dems. And again it didn’t matter if any Republicans went along with the ill-conceived Dem spending or even sponsored their own wasteful spending. They were still depicted by Dem pols and strategists as hateful, greedy bigots who needed to be flushed down the sewer.
    The time has come for Republicans to quit playing nice with these thugs and call them out for what they are: quasi-socialist nitwits who mean to take conservatism down and the country with them to stay in power.

  • http://www.clarespark.com/ Clare Spark

    The most amazing thing to me, given the success of POTUS in getting elected and re-elected, is the incoherence of the Democratic Party base, which I laid out here: http://clarespark.com/2012/04/06/diagnosing-potus/. “Diagnosing POTUS.” Perhaps even the Wall Street liberals are populists too, but their target is evil Republicans, not themselves, the guys with white hats, whatever their color.

    • Wolfthatknowsall

      Clare, I find nothing in your article, or the comment, above, that I can disagree with.

  • RogerDane

    The concept of ‘unifying” has bee discussed here and, ad nauseum, prior. I simply do not think there is a “politician” who can say, “Not me, but the country!” We see men and women motivated into politics, often, by ideals… however they seem not to withstand the attractions of money, power, and furthering their own position. Some resign rather than acquiesce but they are few and far between. Where are the statesmen? Frankly I believe the nation is lost but I hold out a morsel of hope and would love to find that ‘noble politician’ who can begin the long walk back to a real Constitutional Republic and a return to moral values in the body politic. Of course, ‘if cows could fly…’ Be safe all, this will end nasty.

    • truebearing

      The solution isn’t one person. The solution in a republic is many leaders that fearlessly speak the truth and rally those they can. Pinning all of our hopes on a political savior is the last thing we should be doing.

      • RogerDane

        Historically you are inaccurate. Most ‘people’ rally around one person who espouses a central theme that captivates. If the theme is a Constitutional one (vs “fundamentally changing” what has worked for 240 years!) then that is good. One leader brings out other ‘leaders’ who couldn’t quite get off the ground. America’s founders were motivated by really just a few until the movement gained momentum. It would be nice if a multitude rose up with a single purpose but that is not human nature… statesmen is plural but usually it is one or two that begin the rise from the ashes. Again, I don’t think the electorate is intelligent enough now to be swayed away from the pig trough. Would love to see it. Be safe.

  • Matt E

    Everything can be fixed UNLESS we keep getting third world immigration. With a different population, the left wins and it is unfixable.

  • Wolfthatknowsall

    “In warfare, Horowitz observes, you cannot win “when the other side is using bazookas and your side is wielding fly swatters.””

    You go out and steal your own bazookas.

    John McCain fired a staffer when the man dared to mention the middle name of his opponent … that is … “Hussein”. However, the staffer was right. America had just defeated a man named Hussein. Everyone in America knew who Saddam Hussein was. It was more than a bazooka … it was an FGM-148 Javelin.

    However, Senator McCain still preferred the fly-swatter …

    Mr. Horowitz is correct.

  • 3x59yz4a

    militant ignorance,which is what we’re dealing w/ here,is vulnerable only to satire. w/great humility, i would respectfully direct you to my twitter page for modest examples. rend them w/ mockery.

  • SoCalMike

    Andy is preaching to the choir.
    I keep laying the precise message on right wing ears but you can tell they don’t want to fight much less acknowledge the need to.

  • Hank Rearden

    Begin at the beginning. The Democratic Party is the part of…




    the Klan

    and now the

    welfare plantation

    and the

    education ghetto.

    Its strategy is to create communities of failure and despair because those communities become clients of the Party and sure voting blocks for keeping the Democratic Party in power – its only true objective.

    We were lucky in WWI and WWII that the presidents were Democrats because the Republicans were willing, even eager, to collaborate with them on the great national goals of the wars. The Democrats would never have acted that way if the parties had been reversed. We saw how they attacked W. Bush after voting for the Iraq War.

    The Dems prefer union control of education – the education ghetto – over school choice, particularly for inner-city kids. The first act of Obama as president was to abandon the school choice program for kids in Washington, D.C. (look it up).

    The problem with Romney – one of nature’s noblemen – is that he would not say these things. He is not willing or able to carry the conservative argument to the public. So he sells his resume and his life story. Yes, it is true he would be an excellent president, but he does not have the warrior ethic needed to get to that position. When the enemy is at the gates, the public is not well-served by having a nice guy in charge.

    Who has that fire? Allen West.

    • Teavangelical

      Excellent Mr. Rearden. I couldn’t agree more. Great summary of the Democrat Party’s heritage. But, I would add the “expulsion of God” from our public life as the most significant bullet point you missed. Ayn Rand missed this part too in her great work “Atlas Shrugged.”
      But that being said, Allen West is a good man and a bulldog–I am all in for his nomination.

    • Lanna

      The Progressive Democrats are the party of real Bondage…Getting rid of rights and Freedoms….They lie continuously…no one can believe anything they say….they really failed Americans.

  • truebearing

    The Republican leadership has been ignoring the advice of David Horowitz for many years. Hopefully they will start listening, real soon. We have very little time to turn this around.

    Taking the Senate back and electing Trey Gowdy as Speaker would be a good prelude to defeating Hillary in 2016. Calling Obama out, en masse, in front of the nation is another prerequisite to proving the Republican Party isn’t a bunch of cowardly stiffs that gladly play the perennial loser, election after election.

  • 13Sisters76

    I have yet to read a book written by Horowitz with which I disagreed, even a little. I can’t wait to get my hands on this one. One thing I am hoping for: a book where he takes on the federal agencies, and how best to abolish them. The job seems insurmountable, but there must be a way. Please David, any ideas?

    • SupremeGalooty

      Start by educating your children……….. which would require protecting them from our “free” public schools……… and most universities as well.

      Good luck with that, for Americans LOVE their educational system the same way hostages (Stockholm Syndrome) love their captors.

  • bigjulie

    I am halfway through TAKE NO PRISONERS and it is a page turner if there ever was one! I would guarantee that any Republican candidate who uses Horowitz’s recipe will win overwhelmingly. More and more people I have known for years, who would have never used the “N” word, use it with seething anger in reference to the current POTUS. The man’s gross ineptitude is becoming laughable as people who voted for him realize how thoroughly they’ve been conned by him and the Democrat Party.
    But the essence of Horowitz’s formula is the essence of simplicity itself. The deceit, the lies, the wholesale destruction of human values used by the Democrats was always there in front of everybody for all to see, but could not be mentioned for fear that MSM, in full and conscious cooperation with the Democrats used the guillotine of “racism” to silence any opposition.
    Screw ‘em!! Publically tell the world, using a record that exists for all to see, how progressive policies have turned Blacks into a hodge-podge of whining, ignorant and violent louts being paid by the powers-that-be to be the Administration’s new Brown Shirts. Horowitz reveals how Truth told about what America is really facing because of Democratic rule could bring the whole charade crashing down around them!
    Unfortunately, only a few possible Republican Candidates will have the stones to actually tell the truth in all its stark and ugly reality. The rest are still frightened to death that they might be charged with “racism” for simply telling it like it is!

  • barrycooper

    I really like this emerging theme that conservatism is the worldview of decency, prosperity, and FAIRNESS. It happens to be true. We are the true Liberals. What we are otherwise being offered are Fascisms, which vary only in the details, and the name of the tyrant.

    • pfbonney

      “We are the true Liberals.”

      Communist Roosevelt (D) stole the word “liberal” from us freedom-loving conservatives. Even Canada uses the word the same way.

      Only in Europe do they seem puzzled with our usage.