This Is Not A Time for Complacency
On the surface, the votes of many Americans in the recent elections said they had a belly full of a rash of poorly thought-out bills recently passed by a Congress out of control. Tea partiers, libertarians and conservatives can thus take a deep bow.
But hold on. The Republicans lost a major election when Mark Critz walked all over Tim Burns in the race to succeed the late John Murtha. This Pennsylvania district had gone to John McCain in 2008 and looked to be the first of many House seats to swing back to the right. It was not to be.
There should be some lessons learned before we hit the big elections in November:
1. Get out the vote! The GOP fell down on this one as too many Republicans stayed home. Democrats turned to unions and they got their members to the polls.
2. Be prepared for sneaky ads. The GOP candidate had expressed an interest in the FairTax and the Democrats blasted him as they accused him of favoring a 23 percent sales tax. There was no mention of the elimination of the income tax, which is a major component of FairTax.
3. Don't make everything anti-Obama or anti-incumbent. Neither one was running in this election. It's time to stop telling us to vote "against" and put up candidates we can vote "for."
4. Teach and train your candidates how to duel with mass-media interviewers.
This is, of course, one of the major obstacles faced by candidates new to the national scene. Just as Sarah Palin looked to be stumbling as she confronted Katie Couric and Charles Gibson, so did Rand Paul as the experienced George Stephanopoulos interviewed him.
Tell Paul to take a tip from the old pols: Learn to swerve and sidestep to avoid answering ambush questions. I suspect the majority of Americans agree with Rand Paul on civil rights and minimum wage issues, but he came across as mildly racist and elitist when backed into a corner on these subjects. That's not how you win elections.
Although I am not a member of any tea party, I support most of their positions and think they speak for most Americans. Nonetheless, they frequently fall into the "over-the-top trap" of making accusations against the administration that turn out not to be accurate. I think there is fodder aplenty against Barack Obama without suggesting that he is against the Boy Scouts. Tea partiers should follow the rules of journalism and check the facts over and over. Make false accusations and you lose credibility.
Today marks the anniversary of D-Day. I have written of this before so will not dwell on it today except to say that those of us who were there still have vivid memories of the event.
D-Day marked an emergence from a long dark period in our history. We could finally see beyond the shadows of a Depression and a global war. We could, at last, exhale and move into an era of prosperity and peace. For a while, that was true, and even a Korean War did not blur our horizons. However, those who claim to know better than we began to stir the caldron of discontent, and the dark clouds began to grow and build and spread. Today, they blot out the sun and cast a pall over our future.
In my memory, I have never seen a period as dark as the one that lies ahead unless we can check the headlong rush for control of these apologists and spendthrifts who are currently at the helm. They must be stopped before they destroy our Constitution.
As a conservative who treasures small government and fiscal responsibility, I have high hopes for a new-broom sweep in November. It can be done, and it is vital for the survival of this nation. But it requires constant hands-on action by all to succeed. This is not the time to be complacent.
Allan Jefferys, a former New York theater critic and newsman, lives in Pinehurst. Contact him at email@example.com.
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