Right From the Start
The Democrat Party appears to be going through a catharsis as it attempts to identify the cause(s) for its overwhelming losses sustained in the 2016 elections. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) began the conversation by noting on Face the Nation when asked whether the Democrat Party needed a new direction:
“Well, I don’t think people want a new direction,” said Pelosi.
“What we want is a better connection of our message to working families in our country, and that clearly in the election showed that that message wasn’t coming through.”
Ms. Pelosi, never a beacon of clarity, came as close to being right as she has ever been. The Democrat Party represents an approach to government – the welfare state – that is attractive to an extensive number of people. It is based on a belief that the deck is stacked against people and that the only way those people will achieve any level of comfort is for the government to intervene by taking wealth from one sector and redistributing it to another. It is based on a concept that equality is more important than opportunity. It suggests that government is a better arbiter of what is best for an individual than is the individual himself. And it is based in part on the belief that some people should not be accountable for their own actions – a particularly troubling element. And while I do not subscribe to any such notions, I do understand their basis and their appeal.
I think the message of the Democrat Party is clear. I also think that the party’s choice of messengers has had a far greater impact on the acceptability of the message than the message itself. Let’s look at the “faces” of the Democrat Party.
President Barack Obama (D) has been the chief spokesperson. He remains personally popular even though his credibility shrinks with each passing day. His administration has been riddled with partisan scandals – Fast & Furious (gun running) scandal, Obamacare scandals, the IRS scandal, the Benghazi scandal, the Iran nuclear deal, and on and on. For the people to whom the Democrat message is supposed to appeal, the number of people in poverty has increased, the median income for the middleclass has declined, Obamacare has resulted in higher costs and fewer choices, race relations have declined significantly, small business has become overburdened with government intrusions at all levels, and opportunity for a better life has moved beyond the reach of an increasing number. Add to that the universal failures in foreign relations and it has become obvious to those who have relied on him to deliver on the Democrat message that he has failed at all levels. While he will retire to a comfortable life as a multi-millionaire (and his children will also) the lives of the poor and middle class have not improved in the slightest.
Ms. Pelosi – an aging demagogue who mistakes power for progress. Another multi-millionaire that lives safely in a compound of wealth and privilege and who has failed at every level to improve the lives of those whom she claims to champion. Her most remarkable features are the unbroken string of malapropisms she has invoked in trying to defend the actions (and inactions) of her party and the variety of exceptions to legislation she has carved out to the benefit of her husband’s multitude of businesses.
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). The most patently dishonest person to achieve a leadership position in the United States Senate. He too is a multi-millionaire who achieved his status while serving in Congress. Mr. Reid uses senatorial immunity to besmirch his opponents with outrageous lies. (Gov. Mitt Romney paid no taxes is just one of the most flagrant examples.) His wealth has increased nearly ten-fold since he began his service in Congress.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D-NY). Demonstrably one of the most corrupt politicians in history to be nominated by a major political party. She has lied about everything. She has withheld and destroyed public records and acted to thwart the public records laws. All the while she has used her position as Secretary of State to enhance her financial position from being dead broke to close to $200 Million in a short period of time between 2000 and 2015. She was a major participant in Mr. Obama’s foreign relation’s failures and to this day cannot point to a single accomplishment during her time as a United States senator or as Secretary of State.
And finally, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Ms. Warren is the eternal scold. There is never a picture of her when she is not wagging her finger and railing against some abuse – real or perceived. She is noted for wild accusations without a single fact and a demand that her opponents disprove her bombast. She began her career with a lie in order to take advantage of a minority hiring program at Harvard – that she was part Native American – and she continued that lie into her political career. A quick DNA test sent to Ancestry.com could confirm her claim but thus far she has declined to provide this simple information. If it’s the money, hell, I’ll pay for it. But it isn’t the money. Ms. Warren is another multi-millionaire worth nearly $10 Million including her $5 Million home in Cambridge – all attained while serving in government or academia.
I have left out of this list Sen. Bernie Sanders (Socialist-VT) for a very important reason that will become self-evident.
The four major “faces” of the Democrat Party share two common traits – they are wealthy (with greater wealth ahead of them) and they are liars. Speaking engagements (a form of influence peddling) and books deals (a lesser form of influence peddling) await each of these four. Their wealth puts them a significant distance from the very people for whom they purport to champion. They share very little of their wealth with others. Mr. Obama did not start making any significant contributions to charity until he began to run for president. Ms. Clinton and her husband have given substantial sums to their Foundation but it goes primarily for the support of their political activities. Ms. Warren, despite earning nearly $1 Million per year when she and her husband were professors at Harvard, refused to participate in an effort to save the low paying jobs of others by taking a reduction in their own salaries. Mr. Reid and Ms. Pelosi do not release their tax returns and, therefore, it is impossible to determine their level of giving.
So regular and demonstrable are the lies of this quartet that it is impossible to list them all. The exceptional thing about their lies is that they primarily involve their political agenda. It appears necessary for them to hide, distort or distract from the true intent and effects of their policy proposals. (You can keep your doctor – Obama on Obamacare, we need to pass the bill to see what is in it – Pelosi on Obamacare, your annual cost of medical insurance will decline by $2,000 annually – Obama on Obamacare, what difference does it make – Clinton on Benghazi, Romney did not pay any income taxes – Reid on the 2012 presidential race, auto dealer markups cost consumers $26 Billion per year – Warren on a consumer loan protection bill.
The common thread appears to be that these leaders are so afraid of the truth of their agenda that they must lie in order to attract support for their agenda. And their lies are so demonstrably transparent and easily refutable that their audience has become suspicious of anything they say – including the truth of the underlying message regarding a welfare state. So, contrary to Ms. Pelosi’ assertion that the Democrats must “make a better connection of our message to working families” the fact is that the Democrats need to tell the truth about their message and let the chips fall where they may.
Returning to Mr. Sanders. I left him out of the list of Democrat leaders simply because Mr. Sanders, unlike his colleagues, appears to tell the truth. He embraces the concepts of the welfare state and redistribution of wealth. Fundamentally he believes that equality should be achieved at the cost of opportunity – not that we were all created equal but rather we must all achieve equally. He does not shy from disagreement by trying to hide his intended purpose or the results should it be adopted. And in doing so he attracted a massive army of supporters who would have carried him to the Democrat nomination but for the corruption of the Democrat Party by Ms. Clinton and her supporters including Mr. Obama, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Reid. (The most accurate statement that President-elect Donald Trump (R) made during the primary campaigns was that the “the system is rigged” and, in fact, it was, but the victim was Mr. Sanders, not Mr. Trump.)
The lesson to be learned by Democrats then is that it is not the message – it’s the messengers. You cannot put prolific liars up to deliver a difficult message. You cannot deliver a difficult message by parsing, misdirection, exaggerations, deceit and outright lying. The message gets lost in the debate over the character of the messengers.
If you believe in the welfare state, the redistribution of wealth and the concept of equality over opportunity then say it and defend it. You may be surprised by the results. You may also discover that it is the message even with a truthful messenger.
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