Letter to a young conservative (Ron Meyer, Jr.)
(AN OPEN LETTER.)
I invited you on my podcast to have a civil discussion about what went on the other week (you know, when you predicted John Boehner would be ousted as House Speaker?)
I was hoping to casually drop some advice. But despite the fact that your bosses at American Majority Action had no problem allowing you to go on TV and talk shit about Boehner, talking with me on the record was somehow deemed too risky.
So I’ll share my advice with you here.
1. STFU. As you told the NR (apparently a worthy outlet to talk to?), “Look, I’m a 23-year-old activist who’s just starting.”
This is the mentality you should have had BEFORE making such bold claims. Wisdom comes with age and experience (and luckily for you, mistakes.) But why not make your mistakes in private, instead of on national TV?
Do what Sarah Palin should’ve done after the 2008 election: Go to Alaska — and hit the books. You can then launch a comeback in a few years. I don’t want to see you back on TV until you’re at least 30.
2. Fix your Twitter avatar. I get it. You want people to know you’ve been on TV. This is a form of signaling. To some degree or another, everyone who’s ever been on TV (yours truly, included) has done this. But as it turns out, it impresses no one. It won’t get you laid at the Clarendon Grill. Heck, it wouldn’t even impress my intern.
The real problem is that you went too far. One picture is fine. But you used it for your avatar and your Twitter background. That is gauche. It makes you look like a narcissistic d-bag.
So I’ll give you the same advice I’d give a football player who dances in the end zone: Act like you’ve been there before.
3. Hedge your bets – Here’s where you really F’d up. You made some bold predictions, and they didn’t pan out. You took what could have been a nice little “win” (predicting a coup attempt against Boehner) and turned it into a crushing defeat.
The good news is that you appear to have learned this lesson. As you told NR, “It was a mistake on my part. We lost the expectations game right there. We had predicted something when everybody was watching us, and we predicted the wrong thing.”
So here’s some advice a). Always under-promise and over-achieve. b.) Don’t trust anyone — especially Republican Congressmen. c.) People lie. d. Use qualifiers.
4. Lose the sh*t-eating grin. If you’ve ever taken TV training, the first thing they teach you is to exaggerate your smile on camera. This is especially true when you learn TV techniques from a conservative organization. They are convinced the media wants to portray you as an evil/mean conservative, so they tell you to smile. The problem with this is that it makes you look like Pat Robertson on acid. Take it from someone who has been there, this is not a good look.
Smile when they introduce you, and then if something is funny. Don’t look like the Cheshire cat.
5. Don’t quit. Don’t let this discourage you. View it as a learning experience (hey, you gained a few hundred Twitter followers, right?). We all make mistakes. But do take this sincere advice.
See you in seven years!