Monday, August 16, 2010

Platitudes For Success

During my absence, The Inlander published yet another nonsensical column by former congressman George Nethercutt, A Plan For Success. Surprisingly, he begins with an insult to us all.

Voting is an emotional act. We vote our fears and hopes, but mostly we vote our impressions.

In other words we are cattle to be stampeded by gunfire, lightning, wolves, loud noises, dogs, screams, etc. We are emotional voters do not think, study issues or use rational thought. We are more concerned with scary things and can be frightened into running for the cliff. That appears to be true if you go by what is reflected and enhanced by the media, most of which serves only itself. And while I've met many people who are knowledgeable of issues and candidates, I've also met my share of emotional, uninformed, or strictly ideological people who won't or can't discuss anything other than the cliff they are running for thinking safety is just ahead. Mr Nethercutt's column appeals to that group.

Right now, the public’s faith in our national leaders is shaken. Democrats are perceived as big spenders (which they are), piling up trillions in new deficits atop a mounting national debt. Republicans are perceived as “no” voters who don’t have their own plan (and they don’t — yet). Voters think Republicans are unimaginative (and they are), using “tax cuts” and “smaller government” as their primary answer — their mantra — to national problems.

Mr Nethercutt has a short memory of his time in Congress when we passed tax cuts for the rich and invaded a country that posed no threat to us. Both were huge. Republicans don't have a plan yet? Good grief, how much time do they need? And they're unimaginative? Hello! Has he read his column? He wants to substitute "tax cuts" and "smaller government" with a new mantra.

Here are three basic concepts for Republicans to run on in 2010 and 2012: Freedom, Security and Competency.

This is known as bumper sticker politics. You can put "Freedom - Security - Competency" between "An Obamanation Is An Abomination" and "Where's The Birth Certificate?". You do have room, right?

Under Freedom he reframes three issues: national health care, financial reform, and government spending. They have nothing to do with freedom, unless you're talking about corporations having the freedom to do as they please.

Obama and the Democrats jammed this legislation through just because they could (they had the votes), but post-passage analysis shows that the law will cost more than estimated and reduce individual freedom to control one’s health care destiny. That’s why 53 percent of the public in a recent Rasmussen poll favor repeal.

Have we forgotten how long it took? The legislation wasn't jammed through. Republicans offered hundreds of amendments, even one to define marriage in the District of Columbia which was not one of the roughly 400 that were adopted. Along with the foot dragging and caterwauling the Republicans were still part of the process, but that's not going to stop Nethercutt from seeding thin clouds and banging a bass drum to make thunder. It's a scary storm!

The financial meltdown of two years ago was the product of incremental removal of controls over financial institutions by both parties. The impact on small investors is nothing compared to what happened to them (us!) two years ago. But Nethercutt's concern that the recent reform legislation will adversely affect small investors is just him shooting blanks in the air. And loud noises are scary!

The well worn, often played card of government spending is Nethercutt sneaking up in front of you and clapping his hands to startle you. It's a well established fact that the wars and Bush's tax cuts have cost us far more than anything else.

That was Freedom. On to Security.

A July Gallup poll showed 79 percent of Americans believe that terrorism is a serious or extremely serious national problem.


And a non-scientific Homeland Security Group poll showed that 86.6 percent of Americans believe America is not safer with the Obama administration in charge.


National security officials recently spoke publicly in a Senate hearing about their concerns for homeland security. All stated they expect serious attempts to attack the U.S. in the months ahead.

Well, we have to justify our permanent threat level of Yellow (Elevated) and a permanent special level just for the airlines Orange (High). Honestly, when can they ever go down? And don't discount those non-scientific polls. Just because it's an indiscriminate collection of people's opinions doesn't mean it's not valuable. Look how it's used here.

The last word on the bumper sticker is Competency.

By a wide margin of 68 percent to 32 percent, Americans believe that the “political class” doesn’t care what most Americans think.


Too many Americans simply don’t like our country’s misguided domestic path and are increasingly concerned about world tensions.

Can you feel the tug on your emotion chain?

I can boil down Mr Nethercutt's message to this. BE AFRAID! Run for the cliffs by voting for the Republicans shooting into the air and just barely holding the dogs at bay as they nip at your backside.

Repeat after me: Freedom - Security - Competency, Freedom - Security - Competency, Freedom - Security - Competency. Doesn't that make you feel better?

You don't even have to think.

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