Maybe Just Be Honest?

I’ve been seeing a lot of statements by politicians of late – naturally – and one thing is striking me: the inability of people in politics to just admit when they don’t know things. All of them appear to be laboring under the impression that they have to have a pat answer to all questions – and as it is impossible for them to do that, they hem and haw around and end up saying things which are wrong and/or stupid.

To be sure, a wise politician will prepare him or herself with answers for likely questions – for GOPers this will be genuine MSM gotcha questions on social issues designed to feed into the overall Progressive campaign themes. But one cannot know everything – it just isn’t possible. And, of course, when a GOPer heads to a conservative or libertarian media outfit, he or she better be prepared for all sorts of smart, penetrating questions – a bit of study beforehand is wise. But even then, you’re still not necessarily going to have an answer for every question. I’m pretty well informed on matters of foreign policy but I, for instance, didn’t know who was in command of Iran’s al Quds force until I read about the Trump/Hewitt fracas over the issue (which seems to be a bit blown out of proportion by anti-Trump forces). Trump didn’t know either – and he should have just admitted not knowing and moved on (one thing about an admission of ignorance is that whatever series of questions your interviewer was planning for that subject are now wastebasket material). If I were running for office and someone leaped out and asked me a question I didn’t have a good answer to, I’d just say: “you know, that is a good question and I haven’t looked into the details of that matter – next time we talk, I’ll have something to say on it. Next question?”. I’d rather take a bit of heat for saying I don’t know something – when I don’t know about it – than take even worse heat by giving an ignorant answer, or getting huffy about the question, itself; or worst of all, lying about things and then getting called out on the lies later.

The main point I’m making here is that honesty is really the best policy. Especially in politics. This might seem counter-intuitive because, well, politicians tend to be people who spread enough bull to fertilize the Sinai. But the reality is that no matter how good a lie seems to be, it never works out in the long run. Well, strictly speaking, it never works out in the long run if you’re the sort of person who cares about the country and our people – those politicians who are just relentlessly on the make find that lies work well, in a sense. But for those who are trying to do something worthwhile, never fall into the trap of thinking that anything other than truth will work. Even if it results in you getting crushed this time around, it merely sets the stage for your ultimate triumph (or the triumph of your ideals, if you don’t get a second chance) – if a politician just tells the truth then in the long run that politician will be perceived as the best person, especially in contrast to the lying opponents who used lies to beat you at the previous election.

Level with the people. Tell them what is on your mind. Admit it when you don’t have the answer nailed down at the moment. Give a precise set of actions you will take once in office. Think about the candidate who has spent the whole campaign telling the truth – and then gets up in debate with the lying opponent: it will be a beautiful moment. “You just heard my opponent tell you a pretty story about what he/she will do – but it is just a fairy tale. It isn’t true.”. It just crushes the life out of someone who lies when someone who is known to be a truth-teller points out the Emperor has no clothes. It has happened before – when Reagan did his “there you go again” in the debate with Carter, that was Reagan saying, “it is just a fairy tale”. Here, take a look:

THE PRESIDENT. As long as there’s a Democratic President in the White House, we will have a strong and viable social security system, free of the threat of bankruptcy. Although Governor Reagan has changed his position lately, on four different occasions he has advocated making social security a voluntary system, which would, in effect, very quickly bankrupt it….These constant suggestions that the basic social security system should be changed does cause concern and consternation among the aged of our country. It’s obvious that we should have a commitment to them, that social security benefits should not be taxed, and that there would be no peremptory change in the standards by which social security payments are made to the retired people. We also need to continue to index the social security payments so that if inflation rises, the social security payments would rise a commensurate degree to let the buying power of the social security check continue intact.

In the past, the relationship between social security and Medicare has been very important to provide some modicum of aid for senior citizens in the retention of health benefits. Governor Reagan, as a matter of fact, began his political career campaigning around this Nation against Medicare. Now we have an opportunity to move toward national health insurance, with an emphasis on the prevention of disease; an emphasis on outpatient care, not inpatient care; an emphasis on hospital cost containment to hold down the cost of hospital care for those who are ill; an emphasis on catastrophic health insurance, so that if a family is threatened with being wiped out economically because of a very high medical bill, then the insurance would help pay for it. These are the kind of elements of a national health insurance, important to the American people. Governor Reagan, again, typically is against such a proposal.

MR. SMITH. Governor.

GOVERNOR REAGAN. There you go again. [Laughter]

Carter did the normal Democrat thing – claim the Republican wants people to die in the streets and then promise a sack full of free stuff if you vote Democrat. But Reagan utterly destroyed it – just by saying, “there you go again”. It means, “you’re just spreading BS, Carter”, and instantly the millions of Americans watching the debate understood it – here was a hack politician promising a world he cannot possibly give, confronted with a truth-teller. Reagan went on to win in a landslide just a few days later. We’ve been hammered by lies for quite a long while now – and people are aware of the lies. In 2016, the Democrat candidate will have to defend the lies – he or she will have no choice as Democrats cannot run far away from Obama’s record (remember: $2,500 reduction in insurance premiums? Keep your plan if you like?)…and when Hillary or Biden or Sanders is up there in front of a massive national audience telling the American people how evil the Republican is and how much free stuff he or she is going to give you for voting Democrat…”there you go again”. But it will only work if the eventual GOP nominee has not spent the campaign hedging and hemming and hawing and trying to triangulate himself into favorable coverage for a news cycle. Telling the truth can make you terribly unpopular at times – you have to endure that heat; embrace it; proclaim how proud you are to be condemned for speaking the truth…and just wait for your moment to point out that the other guy is full of nonsense from start to finish.

Don’t Buy the Lies

Just in case any of you out there are getting skittish – a few words to the wise.  First off,  here’s a headline from September, 1980:

“Campaign Kickoff; Has Reagan Dropped the Ball?” – U.S. News and World Report, 9/9/1980

In what shapes up as a tight contest for the White House, even associates of Ronald Reagan conceded that the Republican nominee got off to a sputtering start in his attempt to replace President Jimmy Carter…

Reagan, of course, went on to win by 10.

Coming out of the convention what Obama wants – and thus the MSM will do – is play up every negative aspect for the GOP and every positive aspect for Obama (even if they have to make up things to fit both narratives).  Remember, 90% of the MSM is in the tank for Obama – always has been, always will be.  They will not tell the truth.  Now, readers here know that I’ve been confident of a Romney victory:  I remain confident.  Can Obama win?  Sure he can.  Lots of things can happen in an election – maybe the American people in a majority will want to continue Obama’s destructive rule.  So be it.

But I don’t think it will happen – if it does happen it just means that we’ve allowed socialism to go too far and it will have to get massively worse before a majority are fully awake to the necessary revolution.  Fortunately – if I may use that word – the re-election of Obama will make things rapidly get massively worse so we’ll have a good shot of winning in 2016 if not in 2012.  But I don’t believe a majority of my fellow Americans are that far gone – at least 40% of them are (and thus that is the ultimate floor for the Obama vote – when he shouldn’t get more than 10%, representing the people who really profit of our corrupt system) – but not a majority.  November 6th will either prove or disprove my view – but my view of where the majority is doesn’t depend on polls (hasn’t at all this election cycle) because the polls are simply over-sampling Democrats.  My view is based upon cold, hard, facts on the ground – and all of those (such as, for instance, Romney’s 22 campaign offices in Michigan – a State Obama won by more than 16 percentage points) show, at a minimum, that Romney is even with Obama, and I think he’s actually ahead.

UPDATE:  Hot Air reports on a new poll showing Obama up by 7 over Romney in New Jersey.  Yes, New Jersey.  The State Obama won by 15 points in 2008.

Does it stand to reason that Obama can lose that much support in heavily blue New Jersey and yet not lose it in purple Ohio and Florida?  I’m telling ya – any State that Obama won by less than 5 is gone, any State won by less than 10 is “tossup”.

There Is No GOP Savior

Back in 2008, I saw many fellow conservative bloggers jump on the Fred Thompson bandwagon. It was a phenomenon I could never understand. It seemed like out of nowhere Fred Thompson was elevated to the position of GOP Savior. Many thought he was the only true Reagan-esque candidate that could enter the field. Hogwash, I thought. The day he formally entered the race I said his best days of the campaign were behind him.

I was right.

Here we are, four years later, and once again the GOP finds itself looking for a messiah. The current candidate-du-jour is Chris Christie, who was being talked up as a potential candidate practically seconds after his gubernatorial victory in New Jersey was confirmed.

Again, I say hogwash.

If Christie jumped in the race today, within a week 75% of Republican voters would write him off as a RINO. I’ve seen every candidate so far in the race attacked for not being conservative enough. That is just sad.

Republicans, I hate to say, are stuck on Reagan, constantly looking for someone who they believe emulates him perfectly. Reagan may be a conservative icon, but if we looked at his record as a whole, there are plenty of things there that wouldn’t fit in the conservative label.

Reagan’s legacy has strangely survived in perfect condition in a way that other Republican presidents’ haven’t. Perhaps it’s understandable. Before Reagan there was Carter. Need I say more? George H.W. Bush was fairly popular president until he broke his promise about not raising taxes. That more than anything defines his legacy.

Today, many Republicans have disowned President George W. Bush. “He wasn’t a real conservative,” they say, and so on. They say this despite the fact that he won reelection in 2004, which an incredible amount of positive support. Yet, many naysayers point to things done in his first term as examples of his lack of conservative bonafides: No Child Left Behind, The Patriot Act, even the Iraq War.

Another great example of conservative canonization that fizzled out is Senator Scott Brown. Anyone who actually knew his record as a state senator knew he was not a pure conservative, but the Tea Party organized for him, and helped mobilize a tremendous victory for him. Now, the Tea Party acts betrayed because of a few votes that didn’t meet their standards.

Seriously, let’s stop pretending the GOP has a savior.

Let’s look at Obama now. You don’t get more extreme than him when it comes to a left-winger. But, you cannot ignore the fact that the left is not entirely pleased with him because he hasn’t managed to completely redistribute the country’s wealth, or allow for the creation of drive-thru abortion clinics or whatever nonsense the left champions any given day.

In the end, politicians have records and realities to answer to. Voters often see the former without considering the latter. Even the most conservative of politicians has to work with the opposition to get things done. If we treat every compromise as a black mark on a candidate’s record than we might as well let Obama run the country for another four years.

It’s time for Republican voters to remember that we are all on the same team here. If we can’t put aside petty policy differences in favor of an overall ideological shift back to the right in 2012 then we deserve to lose.

Obama’s Great Service to America

We actually are fortunate to have him as our President – he has made liberalism toxic.  Victor Davis Hanson runs down the ways and then concludes:

…Had McCain been elected, or had Obama proved a canny Clinton triangulator, we would never have gotten out of the bipartisan rut of massive borrowing, growing government, higher taxes, and unionized public employee regulators. But with Obama as the great liberal deliverer and with the masses scared to death of Him, the next president will inherit an America in catharsis. The future is uncertain, but at least now, after our cauterizing, we have some sort of chance to return to the old principles that might save us.

Carter made liberalism a dirty word.  It wasn’t until 2008, with Obama, that liberalism was rehabilitated and people could actually call themselves that and not be laughed off…we had forgotten.  We had, that is, forgotten Carter…just how lousy he was and just how destructive liberalism is.  But now we’ve had Obama applying it to America and we’re falling apart…and people are noticing.

Revolution is coming – just as Carter’s liberalism allowed us to usher in the Reagan Revolution, so will Obama’s liberalism herald the Second American Revolution.  And this time I think we’re going to win so big that the liberals won’t be able to stop us, at all…always remember that Reagan was stymied by Democrat control of the House.  He couldn’t ever go all out…in 2013, the next Republican President might have such a large Congressional majority that we can steam roller through whatever we please…and after the Obama dose of liberalism, the people will be eager to back any plan for radical reform.

Everyone does have a purpose – and perhaps Obama’s was to destroy liberalism?  Time will tell…


Reagan for Senate?

Interesting bit of news from SFGate regarding Senator Feinstein’s 2012 Re-election battle:

…the landscape may change soon, analysts said, given Feinstein’s recent campaign money problems and a Field Poll released today that gives one of California’s most consistently popular politicians a 41 percent approval rating, the lowest of her Senate career.

One person considering a run, The Chronicle has learned, is Michael Reagan, a former conservative talk-radio host and the son of former President Ronald Reagan.

Republicans may consider a challenge to Feinstein less foreboding after the survey of 1,001 registered voters found that 39 percent disapprove of Feinstein’s performance and 20 percent have no opinion.

For the first time since being elected to the Senate in 1992, a plurality – 44 percent – of Field Poll respondents were “not inclined” to vote for her while 41 percent were…

I’ll donate to him – he’s all right on the issues…but it has been a looong time since California was “Reagan Country”.  Though there would be a certain satisfaction if the upcoming political revolution in 2012 included electing a Reagan in California.

But, we shall see – given that the hopelessly liberal Jerry Brown was elected by the people of California to get them out of the mess brought on by hopelessly liberal policies, we have to assume that the level of political intelligence in California is quite low.  Think about it – the choice last year was between a dynamic, successful private-sector executive and the man who did more than most to set California on the path to disaster back in the 1970’s…Californians choose the creator of disaster.

Still, I hope Reagan goes for it – it would be endlessly fun, if nothing else.

Ronald Reagan at 100

Today is Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday.

It is impossible to really say about most of our leaders, “greatest American President”. George Washington will always be first because, quite simply, without him there wouldn’t be a United States of America. No President will ever have to endure Lincoln’s trial. Both of those men are secure in our affections and can never be displaced – for all the rest of the Presidents the stakes have never been and never will be as high, and thus they cannot ever rise to the heights of Washington and Lincoln. But Reagan still stands apart from and above all those other Presidents.

It is hard to recall just how bad things were for the United States in 1980. Nothing was going right for America and no one seemed to have an answer for our troubles. Reagan became a beacon for all those who wanted to work and rebuild – people gravitated towards him and became enthusiastic food soldiers in a revolution because Reagan refused to bow to expert opinion which said we could never get out of the mess and could only hope to manage our decline. The turn around still astounds those of us who remember – with Reagan, we went from dispirited to confident in a matter of months.

True enough, the impetus of Reagan faded over time. He could not escape the slanders of the left and so by 1989 while national confidence was restored, faith in Reaganism had been greatly weakened. We, as a people, choose old, establishment George Bush for President, and followed that with a liberal hustler who told us what we wanted to hear – that we had won, everything was great and no further efforts need be made. We started to slowly undo what Reagan had done – we got back a bit of it in the patriotic aftermath of 9/11, but those who hated Reagan back in the 80’s swung in to action post-9/11 to ensure that any manifestation of Reaganite views were mercilessly hammered in the public square. By 2008, we were heading back in to exhaustion, again, and so fell for another liberal hustler who also told us what we wanted to hear.

But Reagan still lives on in those of us who remember 1980. It is why, even now, we quest for someone like him – we don’t know if Palin or Bachmann or Jindal or Christie or Pawlenty or Daniels or whomever will have what Reagan had…but that is what we are looking for. We know our nation can overcome all obstacles but we need leadership which will allow Americans to the American thing – strive and succeed against all odds. Reagan will live on in the hearts of Americans for all time – in the hearts of all those who firmly believe that decline is a choice and we can choose not to decline. Reagan reminded us back then and he reminds us today – only we can be the author of our own destruction.

And so while Reagan cannot displace Washington and Lincoln, it is wise to say, “Washington, Lincoln, Reagan” when pondering who has been vital to America. The first made the nation, the second preserved it, the third showed that renewing America is always an option – that we never, ever have to die out as a nation as long as men live in this world. We can go back to the well springs – back to Washington and the Founders, back to Lincoln and the trials of the Civil War – and find what we need to restore whatever we’ve lost through weakness, laziness or cowardice.

It all comes down, as Reagan could note, to what we choose to do:

Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.

Keep the faith, keep running the race. Reagan’s gift to us is just that – the knowledge that the doom sayers are wrong, always and everywhere. And for this gift, I am grateful and will be as long as I am in this world.