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This past Tuesday, Michelangelo Signorile, liberal activist and host of the “Michelangelo Signorile Show” on the Sirius XM Progress channel, obliterated a hateful conservative caller from Texas. Mike did such a masterful job that we asked him to make the audio of the call available, and he graciously obliged. Here’s how the call went, with our breakdown of the juicy parts:

The caller, named “John,” first stated that:

   

Like I told your guy there, I’m not Republican, I’m not Democrat, I’m a 100 percent American. I want to see what’s best for the country, I don’t care if it’s left, right, down the middle or whatever.
This is the classic disclaimer from conservatives who call in to liberal radio shows in order to get past the screener. The “I’m a 100 percent American” phrase gives you a hint of what’s to come:

   

… But you was [sic] talking about the President carrying 49 percent of Hispanics, 87 percent of Hispanics, but just like I said, it’s, uh, free money is votes, and I know for a fact, I’m a, I haul all over Texas, I see it all, I been there, done that, ….
“I haul all over Texas” was a hint that the caller may be a truck driver. If so, “John” may have been exposed to lots of Rush Limbaugh and right wing talk radio courtesy of conservative corporations like Cumulus Media and Clear Channel that flood the nation’s airwaves.

Michelangelo immediately jumps in and asks, “what do you mean, ‘free money’?” John then proceeds:

   

How many Hispanics as you call them, come over here, and I’ll give you examples of the people that I know, that come over here and haven’t worked a day in their lives, and they’re getting welfare, they’re getting Social Security, ….
Michelangelo jumps in again, with a method that we can call “First the Facts, then Attack”:
First of all, there are no immigrants who are undocumented getting any federal money. The people who are getting the lion’s share of federal dollars because they are poor are white people…. Do you know that the majority of people on welfare are what John in Houston is, ’100 percent American’ white people?… The majority of people on unemployment are white people. The majority of people on every program are white people. So this argument, it really wears thin …. The idea that people voted for the President because he’s given them money, no. People who voted for Mitt Romney were getting government money themselves. They’re rich people on welfare. You know those people? They’re really rich and they have all kinds of tax loopholes, and they don’t pay as much taxes as you do.
John comes back with the predictable Republican talking point:
Why are you against rich people? I mean, they didn’t take it away from you…
Again, Michelangelo has just the right reply:
I’m not against rich people, I want rich people to pay their fair share and not get tax loopholes. Mitt Romney paid 12 percent in taxes while the average American is paying 30 percent taxes.
John then resorts to another talking point, this time rooted in religion:
Well, what I’m saying is, 10 percent’s good enough for the good Lord, why isn’t it good enough for the American government?
Are you starting to see the pattern of thoughtless parroting from the conservative side? After a pause, Michelangelo again uses the “First the Facts, then Attack” method:
We cannot run this country on 10 percent, of everybody giving 10 percent of their income, and still have roads, and highways and infrastructure and bridges. You like those bridges, you like all those roads you drive in Texas?
Remember, John may be a truck driver, whose safety and livelihood may depend on having well-kept roads and bridges. Then Mike ups the Attack mode:
Your Governor [Rick Perry], right? He slashed the state budget, he slashed the fire department, we were just talking about it earlier, and the federal government had to come in and bail him out. I’m sick of bailing you people out, and your big giant state. You should be paying more money. You got a lot of people there, and your Governor has the gall to ask for a bailout from the President of the United States? What a moocher he is.
Note that Michelango’s use of “moocher” flips the script on shopworn Republican attacks, including John’s earlier remark about Hispanics and Willard Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” video. Poor John is left to stutter and quickly change the subject:
If, if the President’s so popular, why is [sic] his poll numbers down so much, so what is the problem with that now? Is it because the Hispanics and the blacks are finally figuring out that he, uh, kind of lied about what he said?
But Michelangelo again is ready with his “First the Facts, then Attack” method that is working really well thus far:
The President’s poll numbers are no lower than any other President except for George Bush of the past 30 years at this point in his presidency. Ronald Reagan was lower in his poll numbers than this President at this point in time. The only one who was the lowest was your last President who came from your state [George W. Bush], who ran your sloppy ass state, Texas…. And I say sloppy because your whole government is run in such a sloppy and snide way…. Are you proud of your last Governor?
John once more tries to change the subject:
And again, ….
But Michelangelo won’t let him, again asking:
John, are you proud of your last Governor, before Rick Perry? Because he took this country, … first he ran your state into the ground, and your next Governor had to be a moocher and ask for federal dollars, and then he ran the country into the ground, and took us to war based on lies, and thank God that President Obama saved this economy from George Bush, who bankrupted us with his war, and bankrupted us because he let the banks bilk everybody of billions of dollars....  Man, John, you have some losers, losers who’ve run your state. And you have the gall to talk about President Obama, man, or anybody else, when you have all of these moochers and losers who’ve run your state? Give me a break.
Michelangelo’s “First the Facts, then Attack” method was much more effective than a “just the facts” reply solely containing statistics and bar graphs that some liberals use, since facts alone will simply bounce off of the conservative mindset. Likewise, simply resorting to ad hominem attacks on your political opponents doesn’t move the dialogue forward and merely leads to Godwin’s Law. No, it’s “First the Facts, then Attack” (and the attack does not need to include personal insults) to put your opponent on the defensive. While Michelangelo Signorile has a long track record of writing, media appearances and activism and can do this naturally, you can try it too, whether it’s on a phone call to a radio show, on social media and elsewhere. Let us know how it works!

[Originally posted at Messaging Matters. Copyright 2014 -- All rights reserved.]

UPDATE 1/26/14: We've been tipped off that someone may have plagiarized the post. While that's flattering, it's also legally actionable. We all have an interest in stopping plagiarists from stealing our work product!

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