Saturday, August 31, 2013

campaign advice


When teaching middle and high school, I had that student occasionally who used the word s**t in an essay. I would always pen in the margin, “if this doesn’t stand for sure happy it’s Thursday” don’t use it again.

In politics, I am sure there must be a thing called the sure happy its Thursday file.

As I write this, poor President Obama is in a quandary over what to do in Syria. While on the campaign trail last election, he felt the need to sound tough in the arena of foreign policy since it had worked so well for Bush, and he drew a red line for Syria not to cross.

It sounded good and tough, except that the dictator of Syria didn’t heed it, and so the President now has do something he seems to wish he didn’t have to do or appear to be the epitome of a paper tiger.

To compound things, right wing pundits have drug out comments he and Joe Biden made back when they were both senators and Bush was in the position Obama now finds himself, and so he also runs the risk of looking very hypocritical.

There is a lesson in this for all would be politicians, whether running for the local school board or president of the United States. The incumbent has the advantage of campaigning from a position of inside knowledge, while the challenger must always run from the position of outside ignorance.

At the presidential level, if the challenger wins, and he will at least every eight years in our country, I envision the following scene taking place: Some high level security person takes the newly elected president into a highly secure vault, where he takes a file out of a cabinet and says, “Read this.” After the president reads it, he sucks in his breath and says, “Oh (sure happy it’s Thursday), so that’s what it is all about.”

So, when you are the challenger, be aware you might not be able to keep all those promises you make once you have the inside information. The fewer promises you make and the less harsh your criticisms, the less crow you will have to eat later.