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What do you suppose Jesus Christ meant when he told us to love our enemies? Would He have me love an Islamo-Fascist who wants to murder me just because I’m an American? I believe He would. It would behoove us Christian conservatives to be aware of this great truth. That said, I don’t think He would have me simply give in to my enemy. Their cause isn’t just, isn’t good. Even so, I can’t fight hatred with hatred. I have no idea how to love my enemy right now, but I’m sure that the Holy Spirit will eventually lead me to an answer, the right answer. Perhaps Luke 22:35-38 will point me in the right direction.

That said, please indulge me while I make the point I was trying to make: no matter how much I’m grappling with this admonition from the son of God that instructs me on the treatment of my enemies, I should always be aware that Barack Obama and his supporters are not the enemy. They are fellow Americans, fellow travelers in this crazy experimental journey we call Democracy. From this point forward I resolve to try to treat them like I would an errant kid brother who has gotten things all mixed up in his head. I wouldn’t hate my kid brother for being clueless. I would do everything I could to lovingly try and help him see things straight again. (Of course, I might give him a well-deserved noogie every once in a while, too.)

Let us conservatives resolve to treat liberals in much the same way. We will not win the debate, we will not convince anybody of anything, unless we do so. Furthermore, we will remain in the wilderness for as long as it takes to realize this fundamental truth.

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Many post-mortems in the past month have espoused upon the GOP’s failures in embracing technology and message dissemination. I took a look at the 2012 candidates’ website to see if they have learned anything from these lessons. I rated these websites on a scale of 1 to 5 in three areas: Issues pages, Web 2.0 Goodies and Website Design.

Issues Page
A voter can only make an informed decision about a candidate if that candidate clearly states his or her position on those issues. A candidacy website is a great place for a candidate to lay out his or her positions. In this review I set the bar deliberately low. I simply looked for an issues page that was east to find, comprehensive and well-written. I’ll review the actual content of those candidate positions in a later article. This time around, even though, I set the bar low, many of the candidates still couldn’t clear it! Some didn’t even have an issues page. Others had pages that discussed the issues vaguely and in general terms. Admittedly, a well-written issues page is an exercise in spin. Even so, if a candidate is incapable of doing that, how is he or she supposed to influence a voter’s decision? Only three candidates had issues pages on their websites that compared to Obama’s issues page. (Please keep in mind that I’m not praising Obama’s message. I’m simply acknowledging that one reason he won the 2008 election is because he was much more effective than McCain in articulating that message.) Mitch Daniels, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich all have issues pages that can compete with Obama’s for clarity, thoroughness and user-friendliness.

Social Networking
The candidate who is best able to articulate and disseminate his message to like-minded voters has a huge advantage over a candidate who falls short in this area. Web 2.0 technology is the cutting edge of social networking. Why are so many GOP candidates in denial about Web 2.0? Probably because their base is older and not plugged in to it. Well, that’s a big problem! A candidate can’t concede an entire generation to the other candidate. That’s like a marathoner giving his opponent a two-mile head start. Too many Republican candidates in our survey fell short in this are. A few rose to the top: Mitch Daniels, Ron Paul and Steve Poizner. A trail pack of Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, Eric Cantor and Bobby Jindal showed well in this category.

Website Design
This category is the least important of the three but still worth a mention. Why do so many politicians insist on a gaudy Red, White & Blue theme that screams patriotism? It seems like they all read the same book, one that told them that, unless they wrapped themselves in the American flag, people would question their patriotism. That’s silly. A website design says something about a candidate’s personality. Is she a maverick? Is he a conformist? Too many websites in our survey conformed to the I’m a Patriot School of Web Design. There were a couple of standouts, however. Instead of the usual cookie-cutter, run-of-the-mill, I’m Proud To Be An American design displayed by way too many of our candidates, Mitch Daniels went with an ultra modern blue and green theme that was a refreshing change of pace. Ron Paul has the edgiest, most youth-oriented site. It seems to whisper Revolution. He’s probably the real maverick in the GOP.
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