Part 3: The Power of Emotion & Story Telling To Advance a Political Message

In Part 1, we covered the controversy swirling around American Sniper, a well-made movie being seen by millions of Americans, that portrays the Iraq War as something noble, fought by good men. It’s driving progressives crazy.  See American Sniper Sniped: Why Hollywood Lefties Hate Eastwood’s Movie

american-snipermovieIn Part 2, we talked about emotion and how afraid conservatives are to deal with emotion and why we might be afraid to deal with it.  See Stone Cold Conservative: Sweet Emotion Wins Hearts to Cause of Liberty


Part 3 is a “members only ” video production by PJTV, so I cannot post it here.  I will, however, give you the gist of it, accompanied by supporting visuals.

The Trifecta panel takes a very specific example to show you the power of emotion and story, costume, design, dance, music – all of these things to achieve something very simple. We can extrapolate from there.

The example video was seen by Bill Whittle the first time he ever flew on Virgin America Airlines. He was taking a red-eye flight, and he was impressed by the beautiful lighting, modern design, groovy jazz playing – so much so that he said it was almost as if he was entering an exclusive nightclub in L.A. or New York. He said that the second he walked into the airplane, he thought “This is cool”. The experience didn’t stop there. Virgin America spent a lot of money to produce their in-flight safety video.   We’ve all seen them, right? This is an example of the genius of Virgin America, and the genius of using emotion, and effects, and story.

Bill said he saw the video on the plane, and when he got home five hours later, the first thing he did (after feeding his cats) was to go to YouTube to watch it again. He had a realization: He couldn’t wait to see this video again, because it piqued his interest, and what was he watching? He was watching the most boring information on the face of the earth, and was eager to watch the most boring information on planet earth that he had seen 300 times before on airplanes, and zoned out every one of those prior experiences. What is the point here? This video has been watched more than 10 million times on YouTube. If people willingly watch how to fasten a seat belt and how to inflate a life vest, what does that say about the packaging? What happens when you put something inside packaging like that?

Steve Green pointed out that he has been covering Obamacare since 2009, and hasn’t seen the GOP, or any of its major representatives, feature an entrepreneur who is trying to grow his business, and is holding steady at 49 employees because he can’t afford that 50th. He hasn’t seen the fast food worker who got his hours cut to 29 hours a week because that is the only way  his employer can afford to keep him on, and now he is juggling two part-time jobs. We haven’t seen these people, or heard them tell their stories. Why haven’t we? If we can be enthralled by a video of people snapping buckles in airline seats, certainly there are great stories to be told here … only nobody is telling them.


Bill said that we are seen as such an obsolete movement because we are so old, or at least we appear so old to young people. There are men and women who make conservatism intelligent (Thomas Sowell), and others make conservatism funny, but nobody is making conservatism sexy. If you don’t think sex sells, then you haven’t been watching tv. Why can’t our ideas be sexy? If its about the packaging, and you can put anything in the package, what about freedom and liberty and the ability to go out and lead your life, and hit the open road, and fire big guns and drive fast cars? Don’t you find that sexy? I find that very sexy, personally.

Scott Ott said that sexy isn’t the first word that would have leaped into his Amish mind, but yeah, he understands what Bill is saying. There is a wild and free aspect to being a conservative (or a Republican or libertarian, or whatever you want to categorize it as), that we are clearly not capturing. Scott contends that Barack Obama is President of the United States because of   If you haven’t seen the “Yes We Can” video, with all those stars putting then Senator Obama’s speech to music – He watched that thing one time, and yelled into the other room to his wife, “Stephanie, come in here. You’ve got to see this.”

[Scott says “… this video was directed by Bob Dylan’s son, Jesse, and the Obama quotes are from his concession speech in the New Hampshire primary. Talk about polishing a … well, never mind.”]

This video has more than 25,000,000 YouTube views.

Scott says that he knew at that moment that Obama was going to be POTUS, and when you think about it, we had John McCain. John McCain was flying a jet and got shot down and parachuted into the water and was kept as a prisoner of war! Bill interjects – it was Top Gun – He was Tom Cruz, and the guy from Unbroken, and somehow we failed to tell that!


Scott said that Mitt Romney saved the fricking Olympics. I mean, this guy was incredible, and somehow we have some little documentary at the convention stating the bare bone facts; eg “John McCain was a prisoner of war in Vietnam”. Then they go on to discuss policies. Snooze fest.

Bill: Mitt Romney is a very handsome man, and they dress him in a checkered shirt and he looks like your Uncle Joe from HeeHaw. And his hair is styled and slicked down. Mess up his hair!


Back to the Virgin America video. This is a safety video for an airplane, and these people are having fun! And they are sexy, and they’re young and they’re gorgeous, they’re multi-cultural and they’re having a good time! When I watch this video it makes me want to get on an airplane and fly with these people. It’s a blast.

So, how do we apply this kind of thing to our political messaging?

One quick example. Here’s how I would do it if I had the budget:

If you want to get people to think about things differently, what I would do, on a set like that, surrounded by a cast like that, I would have George Washington. He’s be 35 years old, he’d have the powdered wig, he’d have the tri-cornered hat, he’d have the waistcoat, he’d have the musket, he’d have the leggings, all that other stuff.


And I’d be deep in the background behind a microphone, and I’d say, I know you think George Washington looks like this, but George Washington sent a letter to London during the Revolutionary War, saying “I would like to purchase four waistcoats in the latest fashion, in the most popular colors with buttons as ornate as they can be without appearing ostentatious.”   Because George Washington was the best-dressed man on planet Earth.

And at that point, three of those gorgeous dancers would walk up to that man, and they would rip his costume off, they would knock his hat off, tear his wig off, and I’d have a 6’4” 35-year-old buff gorgeous man, a really ripped guy, standing there in boxer briefs, and then I would have these dancers put him into a Hermes shirt, and an Armani suit, beautiful leather shoes on his feet, have them mess up his hair, toss him an AR15, have him rack it and turn on the laser target designator, ‘cause that’s who George Washington is.


If George Washington was here today, that is what he would look like, because he was money. You do something like that, with those kind of dancers, and you start showing the American people that George Washington was a powerful man who declined a kingship. That’s how people should look at George Washington. All of a sudden, we’re in this game.

Watch the Virgin America video on YouTube. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Don’t miss this, either:  Stories Liberals Tell: How Conservatives Can Win Back The Country

We need more creative thinkers like Clint Eastwood and Bill Whittle, and conservatives who will listen to them.  Remember this?


This entry was posted in Bill Whittle, Election 2016, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

54 Responses to Part 3: The Power of Emotion & Story Telling To Advance a Political Message

  1. Roy says:

    Who is that guy (sorry, can’t remember) that created the James Dean style poster of Ted Cruz?
    He gets it and he is very creative.

    This message is right on target, however I can’t think of anyone in the Republication party to implement it. Cruz, Gowdy, Lee – there’s three amigos I could support.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. smarty says:

    Messaging and Branding is very important.Social media very important. Investing in culture: dance, art, acting, etc important. Liberals have complete domination with culture and there is no reason for it.
    A lot of people in the tea party movement, like myself and others I know, got/get this. I will tell you that the Republican party establishment doesn’t get it and rejects creative people. It is about passion which political hacks don’t get as all thry see is how can we manipulate people to vote/donate. They are using out dated strategies and they are very focused on elections but not really building connections with voters.
    I think a really cool idea would be to have a film festival geared towards college age. A libertarian/conservative film festival in a university town of decent size. With contests etc. We could have big stars like Jon Voight etc judge short films. We could show some noir classics like We Are the Living, etc. We should foster creativity and self expression. Too bad the name Sundance is already used but we could come up with something.
    Another idea would be a music festival. An all American film festival. There are a lot of pro America rock bands and singers out there!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • wondering999 says:

      Something that I don’t know much about — and would like to get a chance to see — are Mormon movies, “Mollywood”. Read about it someplace (WSJ?) and the gist of it was that these movies didn’t foster negative attitudes and behaviors. I’d go to a Mormon movie festival even though I’m far from Mormon, just to see what it’s all about (and hopefully it’s sort of earlier-wholesome-standard Americana)


      • smarty says:

        Mollywod?? That is too funny! Will have to investigate. I have a number of Mormon friends in the tea party. They are super people.
        The Mormon kids I was friends with growing up were very rebellious which isn’t the norm I suppose!!


      • anthedohmy says:

        Mormans like stars, don’t they? And they rose to heights in genealogy, so they ought to be good storytellers.


    • Bingo! Libertarians/Conservatives/Tea Party SUCK at messaging. Freedom and Liberty are hella sexy. Keeping more of your money is hella sexy.

      The other problem we face is that the Progressives have cornered the market. They have stolen OUR script (liberty, freedom, etc.) and claimed it as their own, then use deception to push their real agenda. In some cases it backfires (think the chick who made the Obama Girl video) but in most cases people are literally hypnotized.

      I love the idea of a film festival or a rock festival. Maybe a simultaneous coordinated effort of local festivals all over the country, on the same weekend this summer? I still think local is better. Good, grass roots efforts. Imagine 100’s if not 1000’s of local music festivals all over the country on the same day in the name of freedom? Have local Libertarian/true Conservative candidates for various offices speak. Maybe have some national candidates produce videos to show on screen between music acts.

      We started an event at a 1000 yard range called “Gunstock” three years ago. Its a weekend event and its grown exponentially each year. We even used the same colors and themes as “Woodstock” — three days of guns and fun. It works 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • smarty says:

        Dear Mamma
        That is so ooh awesome I cannot believe it! Do you have a website?
        Secondly, I have to say that I think the tea party is very creative and full of real rebels and dreamers!! I am one and I think at times looked down upon. I am a free spirit! My husband is the textbook conservative curmudgeon 🙂
        I so want to act on my ideas.
        I actually tried with the film festival by communicating with college tea party leaders. They put me in contact with someone but it was a Christian focused film festival and that is not exactly what I had in mind as I want a variety of views and ideas libertarian to social conservative.
        I was a founding member of a Tea party but like many I got burnt out and faded away. I know I will get involved again and make things happen.
        Thanks for the inspiration and keep standing up for America!!


        • Heh I don’t know how inspiring I am….but I , too, am a dreamer and rebel. I grew up in the 80’s and dyed my hair green and blue and listened to punk rock and marched against the establishment, etc. and now I’ve kind of turned into a hippie with guns? Canning, making laundry soap, conservation, but yet I identify most with the Conservatives. I play along in the corporate world still simply because I need a steady income while hubby gets his business off the ground! Then I plan on being a stay at home Mama, so he better hurry before the kids grow up.

          Here is the website for Gunstock


  3. lovemygirl says:

    One thing I believe is the entire party must evolve, not just a single candidate. One sexy ad may look contrived. Perhaps a modern day version of the McIntosh 1984 commercial to switch direction and perceptions.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. RJ says:

    Is it the steak or the sizzle? Michael Jackson was our first true video artist, his work goes beyond mere marketing. Therefore, I highly recommend “This is It” directed by Danny Ortega as a true primer for entertaining, directing, etc.

    So, you suggest we need to “update our look and presentation” to modern times in harmony with those who are out there ready to support people like Obama so that we might be able to persuade them to look at another option…our views, so to speak.

    Razzell dazzel is the “new and improved” sales pitch, right? And the take away? More pomp, more cowbell, just what is this magic pill you propose?

    Let’s tell a great story, a story that is based on truth that others will know is truthful and right.

    Have I got it? Only problem is that most politicians are not entertainers and most entertainers are not politicans…except?

    Ronald Reagan!

    Funny how it seems we keep going back to his reality that he shared with us, now three plus decades ago. So, perhaps a study of who he was and what he believed may be in order.

    That would be a meal where the steak tasted beyond great and the sizzle only introduced us to a coming fine meal, right?

    Clint Eastwood seems–in many ways, to be a man much like Ronald Reagan. American Sniper is about American sheep, wolves, and the American sheepdog.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Very well said, RJ.

      Now Clint Eastwood is very easy on the eyes even at “his age”, and he’s cool. Classically Cool.

      Perhaps put his SON in a messaging campaign. Yowzas. Then we’d be getting some attention.


  5. I guess I’m the only stodgy old fashioned stiff necked prudish individual on here but I didn’t like the Yes We Can video. Too much overlaying of words and confusion and Whamo looked and sounded like the devil himself in the slo mo parts of it.

    But I LOVED the Virgin American buckle up video! And I enjoyed the Clint Eastwood empty chair speech. So maybe I can drop stodgy, stiff necked and prudish and just be old fashioned?

    So maybe Mitt Romney, Ted Cruz or Trey Gowdy should get Clint Eastwood or the Virgin American staff to do the campaign videos. See, we’ve already forgotten that we were temporarily disappointed in Trey Gowdy. I still like him but I don’t think they can muss up his hair, but I bet Mitt Romney would be sexy as h3ll with mussed up hair! Now, maybe I can drop the old fashioned too?

    Maybe we need to try to remember that life can be fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Ursula says:

    Thanks Stella, now the guy conservatives pick to run should call Bill Whittle and others for some really great campaign ideas and help.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. lovemygirl says:

    Maybe Bill Whittle should run. 😆


  8. JohnP says:

    YES! To borrow a line from the eminent philosopher Carl the Groundskeeper, “It’s in the hole! $200,137,000.00 in ten days! This film could easily end up grossing over $1 billion dollars and I hope Mr. Eastwood gets to keep a big chunk of that.


  9. Jim says:

    “Yes We Can”. Seen by many who had no other frame of reference. No sense of history. There was plenty of predictive, indicative information at that time about Obama, the smooth talking charlatan, that was yet to prove exactly the outcome we are living through. Slick packaging, maybe. Ignorant (not stupid, although that may still be) populace, of course. Slick packaging always works on the uneducated masses. If the voters who voted for him had been taught a better sense of history, things may have been different come election time.


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  11. Ursula says:

    Wikipedia is known to lie and distort.


  12. justfactsplz says:

    I agree we could use a little excitement with the conservative message. We are not connecting beyond the Republican base. We need to reach out and connect with young people, Hispanics, etc. if we want to win next go around. The candidate has to appear likeable and trustworthy. We have to get this message across.


    • smarty says:

      Unfortunately if you wait until a month or so before an election that is not a good sell. That is the way the RNC runs it’s campaigns.
      In my previous comment I mentioned a libertarian/conservative film festival in a university town. That might sound kooky to some but the way I see it is that conservatives are not investing enough effort or money in our culture. We need to introduce the idea of freedom and free enterprise to young people.
      You mentioned hispanics. I think a cool idea would be for conservatives to open ESL (English as 2nd language) centers, to help immigrants and to introduce them to American values and our history. They do not get that from literacy groups, which are run by liberals. Liberals have their tentacles through out culture.

      Liked by 1 person

      • justfactsplz says:

        That is a great idea about educating the Hispanics with English and American values and history.


        • 7delta says:

          That is a great idea about educating the Hispanics with English and American values and history.

          On the surface, I like the idea too, but immigrant is kind of a murky entity nowadays. Are we talking legal immigrants or people who waltzed over the border just because yes, they can?

          Legal immigrants who desire to naturalize go through learning how the system works and must pass a test before they’re granted citizenship. Illegal immigrants don’t.

          I don’t quite get why Republicans think they have to cater to Hispanics for votes anyway. The majority of legal immigrants aren’t in favor of giving amnesty to millions of strangers who degrade their sacrifices to be law abiding and mock the system they cared enough about to immigrate legally. Unless legal immigrants have naturalized, they don’t vote. Illegals aren’t supposed to be voting either. Who exactly is everyone trying to incur favor with that matters at the ballot box? Has anybody at the RNC thought to champion the legal immigrant and uphold the dignity of his sacrifice and patience to get here?

          I’m not sure about the appropriateness with illegals. The more rewards they get, the more enticing it is for them to continue to break the law. In fact, as I’ve said a million times, because it just seems like common sense to me, until we stop allowing illegals to work, go to school and receive any public assistance of any kind, they will not stop coming. Removing the rewards for breaking the law will be far more effective than any fence that can be built.

          Liked by 2 people

          • smarty says:

            I don’t think it is pandering at all. It is an opportunity to educate people, not just hispanics but other immigrants as well. Why should the left own everything culturally? I think it would be exciting, but that is just me!
            I have no idea if someone is illegal or not and wouldn’t worry about them. I kind of doubt they seek out ESL services.


          • It was my understanding that historically Republicans win the Hispanics? The whole Pro-Life thing? I could be wrong. And I agree with you, we have to quash the incentive for illegals to come.


          • justfactsplz says:

            I’m not talking about the illegals. They should be sent right back across the border. The legal ones are getting help from the government in many areas. Not all of them, but some. They are the ones who will vote democratic. It’s those that I think should be educated and convinced to vote conservative. Instill in them patriotism in America and the American dream, the one you work for.


            • smarty says:

              Honestly I would just treat them all the same and shape the literacy program to expose them to American exceptionalism.
              I would like to add to whomever sees this, that when I volunteered with the literacy council many a night I left teary eyed because the immigrants that I met were very excited to be here. It was a lifelong dream. Many wanted their children to be Americans because in America their kid would be able to prosper and rise up. There were many different countries represented. Asian, Russian, yes Hispanic too. It inspired me. They took the time to try and learn English which ain’t easy to do!!

              Liked by 1 person

              • 7delta says:

                Many wanted their children to be Americans because in America their kid would be able to prosper and rise up.

                I understand that, Smarty, and support legal immigrants who come here because they embrace the liberty that affords them the opportunity to better their lives and the lives of their children. When they take the oath of citizenship, they are instantly my American siblings and I welcome them to the family.

                Illegals are a different category. Most aren’t here because they want citizenship. They choose to live “in the shadows” because they don’t want to pay income taxes, so they have more of their earnings to send back home. They have no intention of staying here long term. They aren’t invested in this country or its laws or how it functions, only in keeping the border open so they can come and go as they please. Their loyalty is to their home country. I don’t think they would come to classes, nor would classes have any impact on them or the border/progressive activists. They aren’t interested in preserving the sovereignty of this country or in a system that affords them opportunity the same way you or I are.

                I believe your heart is in the right place. It’s just that too many people aren’t here for the right or legal reasons and it’s not in their self-interest to follow the law or care about American exceptionalism.


                • smarty says:

                  I am not sure how the whole illegal thing got inserted in my idea. I myself said in an earlier comment that illegals are most likely not attracted to ESL centers as they live in the shadows, you are just repeating my earlier comment.
                  Not trying to offend, but you are making an assumption about what is in the hearts and minds of people. If we have that attitude then we may as well give up.
                  I have seen immigrants up close and I see a different picture! I see potential and “if I had a million dollars” I would consider trying to open up a small ESL center where I live maybe in cooperation with a church and see what happens!!!!


            • 7delta says:

              I agree with teaching the legal immigrants too. Too many have been brought here by this administration, especially, as refugees, that don’t speak English, have a foreign world view completely opposite of ours and have the potential to be enemies because of their world view. That’s especially true if their world here is limited to their native speakers who may or may not be here because they’re seeking to simply live their lives without threat of annihilation by other brands of Islam.

              I’m not sure how effective teaching them would be, or if they even want citizenship, but I would like to think that after they were mistreated by their own countrymen and/or their religious fellows, they would see the dangers of Islam as a political regime and embrace the liberty they’re offered here. I don’t know, but I agree that they need to understand how our system works. The same applies to all immigrants, regardless of origin.

              Liked by 1 person

              • smarty says:

                I am not all that interested in muslims. The immigrants that I came across were from asia and hispanic.
                Another thing to contemplate: how much you want to bet that while we are off being angry the Imams open ESL centers at the local islamic center.
                I am telling you, we really are missing opportunities to grow the patriot ranks while the leftist take full advantage.


                • 7delta says:

                  I don’t disagree with you that helping teach immigrants English and about American values is an excellent idea. I was just looking at the reality of the situation where Muslims are being brought in by the tens of thousands as refugees, without any attempt to assimilate them, and illegals of all sorts are coming over the border unhindered. The security of this country is in grave danger because of the lax border enforcement and the federal government refusing to do its job. Illegal aliens are a serious issue on multiple levels and the majority aren’t here because they want to be Americans. They aren’t your potential students.

                  I have no problem with teaching any who are interested in getting legal status and becoming Americans, but I couldn’t do it without teaching them to abide by the law and encouraging them to seek legal status. It’s the right thing to do. I just don’t think the vast majority of those who aren’t here legally to stay are going to darken the doors of a class to learn English or about American values. Classes won’t reach them. They’d either be afraid of being turned in and deported or they’re unwilling to give of their time to learn something they see no need to know…or they’re here for nefarious reasons.

                  IOW, I’m not saying it’s not important and it shouldn’t be done, but I’m not sure how much of an impact it would have on reversing or nullifying the progressive agenda or policies. I think that will have to be tackled in a different way. JMO.


                • smarty says:

                  Trust me, I hear yah. Actually, I have done a lot of research regarding the immigration issue especially the refugee resettlement program. I got some stuff published by my friend on his website and gateway pundit (my 15 minutes of fame). Last year the feds gave 1.5 billion to “charities” (including Catholic charities, Lutherans, Baptists,etc) to bring in all of these refugees as well as care for all the “unaccompanied children”. Remember the “Baptists” who got 270 million?? Big corruption going on there….
                  Anyway, Treehouse covered all of that and in fact researching led me to this site this past summer.
                  So, you are right it is a drop in the bucket. Here is the deal, it is very overwhelming to try and make a difference. All you can do is try and be satisfied with one connection and interaction at a time!. After all the tea party is a small percentage of the country, I am a founding member of one, and we were smeared and ostracized (still are!), but it is obvious that an impact has been made. But it is really hard. This is true with everything in life. I really admire my friend, who still runs our tea party, and also basically works away at making things better day in and day out one little success at a time. He just will not give up.

                  One good thing: Today I received an email update from refugeeresettlementwatch blog author Ann Corcoran, who is an amazing lady and has been researching, publishing, and speaking out for 7 years regarding this refugee issue and the corruption (sort of reminds me of Churchill in the lost decade!!!). She says that we are on the cusp of forming a national coalition to fight back and demand a complete overhaul of the program. That pumps me up considerably!!!! Have faith! We may get something done!
                  take care 🙂


                • 7delta says:

                  Have faith! We may get something done!

                  That is good news. I’ve not given up by a long shot. I’m just prone to go to the core of the problem, instead of playing around with a box of Bandaids. I’m not saying that teaching them is a Bandaid. I’m saying that all I’ve heard from the political class are Bandaids. We won’t stop the flow over the border until we stop rewarding it. Stop it all. No anchor babies, no school, no public assistance, no jobs.

                  A fence, while not unimportant, is mainly a big fat Bandaid at this point. Remove incentive. Oh yeah, that will get progressives’ panties in a wad, because they aren’t interested in helping the poor immigrants. They’re interested in fundamentally changing America. Cloward and Piven. Out of chaos come order. That’s our real fight.

                  I’m rooting for your friend and will help wherever I can. Best to you too.


      • evolveideas says:

        Good luck, they don’t have western thought, might as well have American Values classes for stumps.


        • smarty says:

          I have volunteered with literacy programs and have spent some time with immigrants. I disagree! If they are taking the time to learn English, they will be open to learning about our culture and values. It is a situation that is ripe for the taking. Being a part of helping people acclimate here was extremely rewarding to me and they inspired me!! We are missing an opportunity to make connections and spread the word.


        • stella says:

          Odd choice of words, since Hispanics are just as “western” as you are.


  13. Ursula says:

    That song in the Yes video, it sounds like they used the tune from a Blackeyed Peas.


  14. yankeeintx says:

    I am seeing a subtle shift, and a few of the Hollywood types have came out with conservative stands. The problem is that we don’t have anyone young doing it. Many live a lifestyle without accountability and not aligned with conservative principles. Some just want to keep their jobs. Chuck Norris and Ted Nugent are cool, but they aren’t getting any younger. Kirk Cameron was a young heartthrob, and is now in his 40’s. Where are all the young conservative Republicans? Celebrity endorsements can have a huge impact, we just need to find them.


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