Monday, August 1, 2011

A 'deal' versus an Ideal (I told you so)

...or "The Lesson of the Tea Party 22"

To those who have worked tirelessly for the conservative cause and who were called RINO's last week allow me to apologize on behalf of the more...exuberant...members of the Tea Party.  The blood spilled in 1776 and beyond came from both Federalists and Democratic-Republicans.  You love your country and that should not be called into question.

Oh, and by the way, we told you so.

I can't read the Wall Street Journal's "A Tea Party Triumph" and not pop a least one shirt button over my massive, manly chest I am gifted to have (at least in my own mind).  And, as I read I read Sissy Willis' excellent article From violent, racist "teabaggers" to debate changers with a seat at the table the thought occurred to me:

We told you so.  An IDEAL will beat a "deal", any day.

I've been trained by my mom, church and others - this is not humble, gracious or a character quality of my beloved Savior and therefore I should immediately cast down such thoughts.  But it is damn tempting not to do so.
No we've got a VERY long way to go.  To claim 'victory' now, would be like popping the champagne at retreated of the British from Boston harbor. (For you non-history buff's it preceded years of torment and continual defeat for the forces lead by Geo Washington).  No, agreeing to to a fraction LESS of debt to be incurred over the next 10 years is nothing to celebrate.  But I beg of you to understand what actually happened here.  Essentially here is a timeline:

7/22 - Senate tables "Cut, Cap, Balance" 51 to 46
REID: "Worst Piece of legislation in US history."
TEA PARTY: "Hold the line"

7/25 - Obama/Boehner address the nation
OBAMA: Bushes Fault, Jet Owners Bad, Catastrophe if REAL Cuts Enacted.
BOEHNER: Quit Spending Barry, No More Blank Checks.
TEA PARTY: "YAY!" ...("Hold the Line.")

7/27 - Rumors of GOP doing back door deal
BOEHNER: "We have to have a back-up plan..."
TEA PARTY: "Uh Oh...."

7/28 - Vote in House scheduled
McCAIN: "Nasty Hobbitses"
BOEHNER: "Get in Line!"
Non-TeaParty Conservatives: "Govern responsibly, Wait for 2012, the MSM will kill us."
TEA PARTY: "When do we ever ACTUALLY stop the out of control spending?  Hold the Freakin' Line."

7/29, 7/30

7/31 - Reid, McConnell shake hands, Obama (gasp) address nation
POLITICIANS: "We have a deal!"

MSM  & others: "Tea Party kept us honest.  They Win."
TEA PARTY, "We are not idiots.  Hold the G_d damn line."

Is that a fair characterization?  I think so.  What has happened is the typical pattern of non-principled tough nosed negotiation. 
When I was a young adult, I had the privilege of watching a mentor of mine negotiate for a new Cadillac he wanted to buy.  He told me how he had been dreaming of this car for months and had done the research to find out EXACTLY what the dealer had paid.  I learned through him that car manufacturers give the dealers 'fake' invoices that fool even the best intended car buyer who thinks they can get the best price. 
My mentor first made sure the salesperson knew he was interested. He told him that he would pay cash, so the salesperson didn't think the deal would fall apart in financing.  Then he asked question after question and after question until the salesperson had over an hour invested in him. 
Finally the salesperson asked, "what price would it take for you to drive this off of the lot, today?" My mentor had been waiting for him to make the first inquiry and gave him the 'number' he had calculated as the REAL price the dealer paid and about $300 profit.  (My mentor said, I WANT them to make money so they can be in business.  I don't want to finance his kid's college fund on my back.)
The salesperson acted hurt and injured that my mentor would offer such a horrible first offer.  After putting a modicum of protest, salesperson reluctantly said he'd ask his manager but had no hope in the offer.  He came back almost immediately shaking his head but offering about a $1000 discount from the sticker price.  My mentor thanked the salesperson for his time, gave him his phone number and told him he would be visiting another dealer tomorrow to buy his car.
The salesperson assured my mentor he would have the same result and bid him adieu.
I wondered if my mentor wasn't concerned about spending every weekend for the next 2 months and asked him, "what if no one gives you this deal and you have to go back changing your hard line"?  My mentor responded, "it is the end of the month and I guarantee you that salesperson needs the sale, and that not even as much as the dealership.  He'll call."
When about 2 hours later he received a call from the dealer telling him to come pick up his new Caddy, My mentor explained, "they didn't know I was serious until I walked away."

I wondered why I they bothered with half of the required classes and didn't teach this!  This led me to write and teach about negotiation techniques for one of the largest contract negotiation educators for a number of years. Every time McConnell, Boehner or my fellow non-Tea Party conservatives spoke about, "the best we can get for now," or "we only control 1/3 of the government," I PHYSICALLY felt sick.  So what have we learned?

Lesson 1 - Never believe the position of your opponent and NEVER hint at yours
The Democrats have been brilliant at this. The Republicans - pathetic.  What a shocker (not) that the Democrats wouldn't pass Cut, Cap and Balance when Boehner tells them BEFORE THE VOTE they are working on a backup plan.  Why do you think the Democrats have not put forth a 'serious' bill and Obama none at all?  BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE TO!  Reagan figured this out with the Soviets at Reykjavík.  Later he explained that the Soviets knew that they would never have to deal seriously, because we trained them that would offer deal after deal when they rejected a previous offer.  Reagan knew they finally had to KNOW we would walk away from a bad deal.  Later Gorbachev  admitted, it changed their entire strategy for dealing with Reagan.  Republicans have GOT quit telegraphing every move they make. 

Lesson 2 - Know what your opponent is willing to 'die' for
A seasoned (or smart) negotiation opponent is NEVER going to let on to what they WILL settle for  and, in fact, will make it APPEAR they are fully committed to the 'straw man' position to keep you from knowing their real one.  Washington is so used to people with no principles, they assume that when a Tea Party representative like Bauchmann says no, she is really just positioning for a little more.  Our Founders believed that it is better to die for freedom than live a slave in tyranny.  It is why you heard even hard line liberal reporters confess it was , "refreshing" for anyone to really stand up for what they believe.  And why, when people like Allen West gave in to compromise with the 'establishment' GOP, Washington and the MSM didn't take the Tea Party 22 seriously.  They figure we are all hypocrites.  It is simple: the man who wouldn't dare give his car away to someone else for free will quickly change his mind when a gun is pointed at his head as a REAL threat.  His values quickly change.  Those who perceive the entitlement structure and debt as not just a 'more expensive' version of America but a real threat on our way of life and government will not settle.  Hopefully others will change their position and join us.

Lesson 3 - Those with the most conviction will win 
The BIG split among conservatives was FEAR.  Fear of being perceived that we couldn't govern, fear that the MSM would taunt and hold us guilty and it would somehow reflect negatively in the 2012 elections.  Yet we all lament at the career politician's willingness to lie about ANYTHING to score a political point.  Let me ask how can we expect them to change when we show that we are willing to compromise on fundamental beliefs (like living within our means) just because it is 'the best we can get.'  For all of us faults, George W. Bush exemplified this in his stance on the 'Surge' in Iraq. We need to remember the principle of doing what is right, rather than worrying about the outcome.
Why do we gamble that the most immoral political party in the history of our country will somehow 'not budge' on their position or that WE have to compromise?  They don't believe in ANYTHING except their own selfish interest.  I suspect it is either because we truly don't believe that our position is that important, or that we aren't willing to suffer the emotional or political pain for our convictions.  We are better people than that.  My experience has also taught me the man with the most conviction will win - even in loosing.  We love Cool Hand Luke not because he beat George Kennedy's character, but because he didn't give up.  He won by finally making George Kennedy's character understand - the fight would never end. 

So, what I would like to persuade my fellow patriots who despised the idea of standing strong on principle last week, is this:  there will NEVER be a better time to fight.  Not only are the Democrats weak politically in the polls - they are now beginning to understand that the American people WILL rally to the side of the person RIGHT in their convictions - MSM coverage or not.  It is my guess that after continued rants about how 'extremist' and 'crazy' we Tea Partiers are, they will someday use US as the example and ideal in their arguments.  I mean, would you EVER have envisioned Sam Donaldson speaking as highly of Ronald Reagan as Obama has been doing?  Of course not.

And, finally, to my fellow tea partiers - let us be gracious in our speech.  Remember that those who aren't willing to go as far in the fight as we are, are still our friends, compatriots and brothers/sisters in the cause.  Make sure they know we love them for whatever part of the battle they are willing to fight.

And God bless the Tea Party 22.


This is your best yet. Simple, factual and to the point. Love your blog and following your "tweets." Thanks for caring enough to share your insights.

Great post, lucky you to have had such a great mentor.

We should always address and speak to others in the manner in which we like to be addressed.

Not sure how @kesgardner thought it was attack on the PEOPLE instead of reinforcing a call to strategy....

Your post IS a reinforcing call to strategy and a very good one. Thing people forget is the AAA credit rating cut is due to DEBT and not "debt ceiling" and $2.4 trillion has been added to the national debt.

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