Friday, April 10, 2015

How Do You Tell Voters That Everything They Know is Wrong?

Donald Lambro is out complaining that, while Gallup tells us that while their polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly concerned about the "economy and jobs," the Republican candidates are merely descanting on abstract principles.
Talking about "liberty," "freedom" and the Constitution are fine and deserve their rightful place in the conversation about where are country is headed. But it doesn't address the bread-and-butter issues that Americans are worrying most about.
Yay! And all that. But there's a problem. Most Americans, while they want more jobs and a better economy, don't want the means that science tells us will achieve that end.

Most Americans and Democrats think it is a good idea to raise the minimum wage. Science and Republicans say that minimum wages shut young, inexperienced, minority workers out of the job market. So what candidate is going to school the American people on that?

Most Americans and Democrats blame "greedy bankers" and Wall Street for the Crash of 2008. Science and Republicans say that it was the government policy that funneled mortgages to people that couldn't afford them. So who is going to buck the mainstream media and set the American people right on that?

Let's look at the lousy Obama jobs record. Mike Shedlock writes that if you want to drive people out of the work force here's what you'd do.

  1. Raise the minimum wage.
  2. Hand out lots of welfare benefits.
  3. Look the other way on disability fraud.
So who will be the first to call for lowering the minimum wage, cutting welfare, and cracking down on disability fraud? Democrats and a lot of the American people say that we need to be compassionate to the marginalized. So who will bell the cat on this?

The fact is that political candidates cannot reeducate the American people. Rule One in politics is that you cannot tell the American people they are wrong on anything. If you wonder why politicians never answer a question straight, that is the reason. Voters will punish you for questioning their beliefs.

The problem for the candidates running for the Republican nomination for president in 2016 is that they really cannot go into detail much beyond "time for a change" and "let's get this country moving." Once you get into specifics then many voters will start to realize that their ox is getting gored. That was the problem that Mitt Romney faced with his "47 percent" moment. How do you reform the welfare state when 47 percent of the voters are already getting checks from the government?

Then there's the media problem. The "Democratic operatives with bylines" tend to "white knight" the Democrats' proposals. They don't ask how the Democrat can possibly promise to expand health insurance coverage to the uninsured while still lowering average premiums. But when Republicans are running, the media fight each other to see who can ask the toughest questions. We saw this earlier this week when Rand Paul got into trouble when he pushed back at reporterette Savannah Guthrie on NBC's venerable Today Show. Guthrie was all worried about his flip-flops on the issues. Already!

Yeah, like when has any mainstream media personality like asked President Obama about his flip-flops. Whatever.

There's another, even bigger problem. It comes out of my line that every government is an armed minority that remains in power by offering loot to its supporters. This is what the Democrats do, every day in every way. All the great government programs are some form of loot, from Social Security to Medicare, to "free" education to welfare. And don't forget subsidies for crony capitalists.

The average Republican voter doesn't want much in the way of loot. He or she just wants to be left alone to go to work, follow the rules, and obey the law. How can you get elected when you aren't offering much in the way of loot? Oh, by the way. Don't even think of touching the average Republican voter's Social Security benefits.

Rather than sneer at the Republican candidates for their rhetoric about liberty and the constitution, we should appreciate just how hard it is to do politics that wants to get government out of our lives.

We should instead look for an opportunity to cheer when our politicians, against all the odds, find a way to make liberty and the constitution appealing to ordinary folks, and actually take a step or two, for a moment, against the hurricane of liberal shibboleths.

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