Friday, January 29, 2016
So if I can do it, why can't the TV talking heads?
Ask an honest question and get a straight answer, that is.
It seems it isn't a good time to be a politician. Thanks to 24-hour news, twitter, You Tube and the like, it's hard to say one thing to one crowd, and something different to another as was common in the "old days".
The current big political stink is Donald Trump refusing to participate in the last Republican debate. He said they (FOX News) are being unfair to him. I agree that most modern day "journalists" seem to be adept at asking "gotcha" questions, hoping to embarrass the candidates and enhance their own reputation. Rarely do modern journalists press for a straight answer. To see how IMO it should be done, see this, minutes 4-6. (Thanks for the link Simon Butler.)
A short story:
Years ago Texas State Senator John Corona was the speaker at our homebuilders monthly luncheon. He was introduced and gave his normal address, then invited questions.
I stood up and asked him, "Sir, the Legislature recently passed SB 1234 (?). Are you aware that that bill (relating to housing) does X, Y, and Z? Did you vote for or against that bill?"
Sen. Corona replied something to the effect, "Thank you for that question. I always enjoy coming to these luncheons where I can get close to my constituients and find out what you are thinking. This feedback is what makes our system work. Thank you. Next question."
I remained standing and said, "Sir, you didn't answer my question. Did you vote for or against this bill? Were you aware of its implications?"
He again sidestepped my question. "The only way we have to learn what is important to our constituients is to visit with you and learn what's on your mind. These exchanges are what make Ameirca great. Thank you."
I was still standing. "Sir, now that you know the implications, would you be willing to work with us in the next legislative session to amend this bill?"
He said, "Thank you so much for inviting me, but I have another commitment I need to get to. Thank you again..." and he grabbed up his papers and walked (briskly) toward the door. Unfortunately for him I had a better angle on the door and caught up with him before he escaped.
I asked, "Sir would you be willing to work with us on this issue?"
He replied, "I have to go now, but if you'll give me your card I'll have my staff contact you." I gave my business card to him, and not surprisingly never received a call from either him or his staff.
In retrospect I don't think he remembered the details of SB 1234 at all, which is understandable considering the volume of bills that come to a vote in the final few days of a session. If he had just said so I would have sat down.
For some reason politicians are unwilling to admit they are human and can't remember everything, and I think it's unfair of us to expect them to. And I also think it is unfair of us to criticize them for changing their mind. To me it's an admirable sign of critical thinking to admit that when new information is made available, it is acceptable to amend an opinion.
As mentioned, I never received a call from Sen. Corona, but I did continue to receive mailings from him asking for my vote AND MY MONEY. (He received neither.) Several election cycles later he was defeated in his primary. I guess I wasn't the only one he dodged. Karma. ;)