Almost forgotten within the whirlwind of last week’s columns and news stories covering the Obama Administration’s scandals was a piece from The New York Times discussing the “onset of woes” he’s had to deal with. Various aides told The Times on, and off, the record how the President is doing all he can to make sure his second term agenda gets accomplished. They also mentioned how Obama is frustrated and “exasperated “with Washington, something which isn’t new to anyone who’s watched one of his news conferences.
The most telling comment in the piece is how Obama has talked about “going Bulworth” and just saying what he actually thinks. This is a reference to the Warren Beatty/Halle Berry film about a California senator who decides to tell everyone what he believes, no matter the consequences. The New York Post has taken it to mean Obama wants to come out and admit he’s a socialist, which the Bulworth character is. This could be true, but it also reveals a problem with our political system.
Politicians have a problem with being 100-percent honest. Big surprise, but a David Axelrod quote following the Bulworth revelation is even more telling. Axelrod told The Times, “But the reality is that while you want to be truthful, you want to be straightforward, you also want to be practical about whatever you’re saying.”
It’s not that politicians can’t tell the truth, it’s that they don’t think the public wants to know the truth.
The sad part is…they’re probably right.
More people would rather be told that things are “going to be okay,” instead of hearing the horrific reality of the situation.
The 2012 election is a perfect example of this. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were vilified for discussing the nation’s $16-trillion in debt. Columnists like Paul Krugman claimed the nation’s debt isn’t an issue, while Obama told David Letterman “we don’t have to worry about it short term.” Letterman asked only one follow up but that shouldn’t be surprising. He’s not Jake Tapper.
When Romney spoke his mind in the “infamous” 47-percent quote, he was said to “not represent all Americans” and to have “written off half the nation.” Obama, again, told Letterman about how he wanted to represent the “entire country,” but didn’t talk the substance of Romney’s quote, why he may have said it or the context.
Guaranteed: more people saw Obama make those comments than any of Romney’s speeches on the debt.
However, it’s not just Romney who was vilified. Ron Paul was called a “dangerous man” for some of his positions. A look at the jokes the late night talk show hosts said about Paul, shows they saw him more as a “crazy uncle” and not a real candidate. Now, Paul is a horrible messenger from time to time (see his Chris Kyle tweet and his September 11th comment) but he’s at least willing to speak his mind and tell the truth. Something refreshing in politics.
As much as people claim to want the truth, the reality is much different. The truth hurts and people prefer “flowers and sunshine” to reality. There’s a difference between pointing out problems and solutions, and just telling people it will be okay. This is why politicians use double-speak and seem distance. A majority of people don’t want reality.
There is a way for conservatives and libertarians to break through this. Outreach. Real outreach, not the failed attempt of Project ORCA by Romney’s team during 2012. Get out in the community and be with people. See what they experience. Explain to them how freedom and liberty is important and show them how it can make their lives better. Support what Deneen Borelli and Wayne Dupree are doing in the Black community and what “True the Vote” is trying to do with the Hispanic community. Talk to friends. Engage them.
And keep politicians accountable. It’s not always pragmatic to change one’s mind. Sometimes it’s simply political. Get them to explain why they do what they do. Get them to tell the truth.
It’s the only way to prove Axelrod and his ilk wrong.
And to make sure Bulworth isn’t “just” a movie but reality.