WE THE PEOPLE WAR OF WORDS: NO ONE WINS!

 

speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on Februar...
speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 11, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exclusive: Herman Cain explains why business leaders solve problems politicians can’t

author-imageby HERMAN CAIN

Herman Cain was a 2012 Republican candidate for president. He is a former corporate executive and CEO, and held a position in the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Cain establishedCain’s Solutions Revolution, an organization whose mission is to educate the public and advocate for the policy solutions that drove his campaign.

As someone who has spent a long career in the business world, confronting problems and solving them, I find that there’s something surreal about two weeks of political conventions in a nation that faces very big problems – and desperately needs effective solutions.

In the business world, when people are attacking each other, hurling accusations and leveling blame, the first thing a leader has to do is put a stop to that. In such an environment, it is extremely difficult to devise solutions, and it is almost impossible to implement them effectively.

Today’s political environment is exactly what I just described on a 24/7 basis. It is a never-ending war on words. And this is a war that no one wins.

This is not going to be one of those columns where the writer tries to appear above the fray by blaming both sides equally and pretends not to be taking sides. Get real. You know perfectly well that I support Mitt Romney and I oppose Barack Obama. You’ve read my criticisms of Obama’s policies in this space and others. I am not decrying all criticism because a) it is a healthy part of our system of government and b) I engage in it as much as anyone.

But there’s a difference between honest criticism and simply saying anything you have to say for the sake of your own power. This is the phenomenon that was on display at the Democrats’ convention in Charlotte, and it was astounding.

Consider the fact that the Democrats apparently have decided the word “voucher” can be used in a negative way to hang a political anvil around Republicans. Repeatedly, they attacked Republicans for wanting to replace Medicare with what they call “Vouchercare.” What made this so appalling was not the mere fact that there’s nothing wrong with a voucher, which is simply premium support that seniors can use to purchase their own insurance. No, what made this so appalling is the fact that, even as the Democrats were tossing this word around as if it were a euphemism for a concentration camp roundup, the Obama administration itself was in the process of moving 2 million seniors into vouchers as a pilot program designed to improve Medicare.

In other words, they don’t even mean what they say. They simply say it because it’s tested well with focus groups or something. Attack vouchers and land blows against Republicans. You know it’s total bull, but it works.

Another example is their constant use of the phrase “middle class,” usually accompanied by a denunciation of “tax cuts for millionaires.” You’d think, to listen to these guys, that the middle class was doing great under them – since they warn darkly of its fate in the event of a Republican victory. In fact, middle class incomes have fallen by more than $4,000 per household since Obama took office. The people who constantly drone on about the middle class have nothing to offer the middle class. But the words sure sound good.

Republicans can be susceptible to the same thing. They spent a lot of time at their convention attacking out-of-control federal spending – and rightly so. But they did that in 1994, and were handed control of Congress by voters who agreed with them. The Republican Congresses of the 1990s did control spending for awhile, which is why we got the balanced budgets that Bill Clinton attributes to his own excellence in arithmetic. But by the time we hit the new millennium, congressional Republicans had discovered that they liked spending too – and pretty soon fiscal discipline was a thing of the past. Yet here they are in 2012, saying the same words. It might win them the election. And if it does – and they remain mere words – no one will have won.

It’s easy to blame this on political consultants who poll-test every theme and concept and put it before focus groups to see how it will play. It’s easy to blame the shallow news media, which cover the horse race and the strategy of every campaign as if there’s no such thing as governing after the election.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s