Dichotomy- “Being of two parts. Having dual thinking…”
This definition may be the perfect way to describe American’s feelings toward their politicians. Opinion polls consistently find good approval for the representatives of your district or state but a poor regard for the Congress as a whole…and EVERYONE feels this way. So when you’re sitting at home complaining about Congress and the homers every other state is sending to Washington, your neighbor across the state line is wondering the same thing about you! This development isn’t a complete surprise after all; each member of Congress is, in theory, beholden to the people of his own district. He/she isn’t necessarily trying to impress those who will never cast a vote on their behalf.
To remedy this I have cobbled together a powerful set of suggestions that I firmly believe will set you on a course to nationwide acceptance. In fact, using my techniques I can almost guarantee that even though some people will disagree with your take on the issues…they will at least avoid shading you as just another politician. Take my word on this then HIRE me as a consultant (pay and perks to be discussed later).
Step One – Rediscover the art of saying nothing.
Why in the name of Calvin Coolidge are you forced to give an answer to every question you’re asked. Make your words count! It’s easy to tell when a political leader doesn’t have an answer. He will start yapping about something else entirely for at least thirty seconds (the time it takes for most people to forget the question) then stop and act like his answer was clear. Let ME be clear…Your answer was wasted air and all the words you just wasted will go a long way to drowning out the clear responses you want people to hear.
Of course if he has an answer but doesn’t want to use it, then we are subjected to a repeat of something he’s said earlier. He may begin with, “As I’ve previously stated…” or “Let me regurgitate – I mean reiterate – what I’ve said before.”
How about this…”I’m not addressing that issue right now.” or the classic, “No comment, next question please.” I know the second quote makes you seem a bit dodgy but not HALF as much as blabbing your way around a question.
Step Two – Refuse to use (or overuse) statistics.
Thanks to the wonders of photo shop programs the camera can now lie and we have number wonks that can make statistics do the same thing. Take ANY issue and ask each side to find “hard data” to back up their positions. What are the chances that one side will return and confess, “You know what…we got nothing.”
No one trusts statistics any more. The first thing that goes through my head when I hear politicians use them is, “What hidden variable are they neglecting to tell us?”
Here’s the idea. Because people are skeptical of statistics, refrain from using them. Say things that the average listener will remember. No one remembers all the numbers politicians throw out. Make concrete statements about your placement on the issues. And if your opponent is throwing out numbers that are cooked, say so. Post debunks on your website or offer them in your next interview…it’s a good way to discredit him.
(My head splits completely in two when I hear that a new program is completely paid for only to find out later that it is coming from “future savings” or “projected budget surpluses.” Does anyone else hear Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons saying, “I’ll gladly pay you a dollar tomorrow for a hamburger today.” It’s worth noting that I’ve never seen Wimpy offer Popeye a dime.)
Step Three – Give the vote back to the People
I know this will sound revolutionary but I’m confident it will work. Pull the latest entitlement program or tax cut out of your platform and offer the American People their vote back!
Abortion, gay marriage, marijuana, school bussing, even allowing folks to text while driving should all be left for the states to decide. Wouldn’t it be crazy if the citizens of each state voted on their own laws? You know, give the people their votes back. Currently some of our congressmen are working a law to make texting while driving illegal by a federal government mandate…and states can’t handle this? What part of the constitution mentions abortion? It doesn’t…which means a high school government class means more than the law degrees and experience of nearly half our Supreme Court justices!
Instead of doing what many of our politicians perform so well (creating mandates) offer the people the option of ruling themselves.