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On a need to know basis?
August 9, 2011 - Steve Murch
We are a year from the next round of elections, with plenty of seats in play at all levels of government. Anybody remember the last couple of election cycles when we elected a whole bunch of candidates who didn't really go on record much with what they would do? We are probably going to face more of that, and perhaps in even larger numbers. It's starting to look like the less you say the better chance you have of getting elected.
Don't get me wrong, there was plenty said. It's just that what was said was vague when candidates talked about their plans, and almost venomous when they talked about their opponents. If they slammed one of their opponents, they would have said something to the effect of “I'll do it differently,” and leave it at that. When pressed on the issue, they found a way to make it seem like it was the questioner who was to blame and deflected the question. All the supporters then drowned out the question and questioner and went back to cheering loudly and waving pom poms.
So what do we have started already? Finger-pointing with no solutions. Don't believe me, take a look at the recent debt limit debate. Those who were involved would discuss specifics about what didn't work with the other side's plan and trumpet their own. Those on the sidelines just yelled a lot about what didn't work and never brought up their own ideas.
It's happening with plenty of the big issues with the GOP candidates running (or considering a run) for president. They are blasting the president over his plans, but offer nothing of their own. Why? Probably because that way it can't get vetted by the voters and it eliminates a blemish on their agenda that voters might not like.
The president isn't blameless. When he ran in 2008 he had plenty of vagueness about his campaign. It's a sign of the times, more than social networking and controlling the message. Don't have a message and more people will love you.
I believe that is part of why we hear the word “recall” so much. Granted, those recalls are more at the local level, but not entirely. While most of the recall efforts probably come down to loser's envy – those who can't get over the fact their candidate didn't win – candidate vagueness is a contributing factor.
So the races next year might come down to this: Do you vote for the message you know even if you don't like it, or vote for the unknown. In other words, the evil you know vs. the evil you don't know.
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