Saturday, September 17, 2011

How Political Ideas Become Reality

How Ideas Become Reality
I have been muddling this article for nearly 2 weeks and was inspired to get it out when I read the most illogical, unsubstantiated, ridiculous commentary about Sarah Palin's viability I have read from a "conservative."  I won't bother to point out the intellectual holes and the lack of underlying polling information here (that would completely obliterate this guy's supposition by the way) - but I HAVE TO discuss with you this whole notion of an "idea" and how it becomes "reality." (As usual @gadsdenista and @polarcoug will correct spelling and grammar later.)

What does ObamaCare, Dismantling Social Security, Gay Marriage, and the idea of Palin, Bachmann, Gingrich or Cain winning the 2012 Election - all have in common?  Can you guess what it is?

Some Cautious Conservatives (I mean you @keder) will answer "all idiotic ideas".  But RINO's and Tea Partiers alike will likely scratch their heads bald not seeing any connection save being issues of argument.

I submit to you awesome readers (whom i would never suck up to just to get you to read my crap...ok - that's not true - I might...) that they either all WERE or ARE preposterous ideas.  To many a Bachmann presidency is as unlikely as a GOP Candidate winning a New York Democratic House Seat they've controlled since 1922.   ....oh, wait..

Uhmmm... Even two years ago suggesting a candidate advocating against extending unemployment benefits would be as crazy as a Saturday Night Live comedian winning a Senate seat.....oh. Right.

...(this is much harder than I thought...)

WHAT I am TRYING to say is all ideas - good or bad - start with opponents that give them no credit.  INCLUDING YOU Joe/Jane Conservative.  How many of us were convinced that ObamaCare was dead the minute Scott Brown got elected?  Yeah, me too.  But there were a few of you warning us all along to not underestimate the scheming disregard of Democrats for our Constitution or electorate.  Those that saw this had VALUED the idea against either a mathematical extrapolation of calculus derived data point analysis of former lib probable behavior - and just had a gut feeling - but you were right!  You knew power to them was to be exploited - not regarded.

So riddle me this:  Are those people who say "Sarah Palin will never be elected President," the same as those people who say, "Ron Paul will never be elected President?"

And are either the same as those that said, "Stuart Smalley Al Franken will never be elected to the Senate?"

Right now many of you who THINK that you are God's gift to intellectualism are arguing HOW and WHY these suppositions are so different in your cranial container.  "Well," you might say, "Franken ran in a state that was already fertile soil for former Pro-Wrestlers,  is less serious about politics, benefited from the ObamaZombie voting, three other candidates siphoned away traditional Republican votes, and Democrat judges stole the election."

And you'd be right about all those things - but you miss the point.  (And you really should watch those run-on sentences.)  What was laughed at by most of us in 2007 as a "sure thing" for Norm Coleman - turned into a horrible 6 year SNL blasphemy to our Founders.  And if you had the same arrogance in discounting this line of thought when Franken announced - you would be super-sizing your order of 'crow.'

The problem is - by lack of understanding or an inability to predict the future - we often don't know who would or wouldn't make until after they do even handicapping polls, positions, past voting patterns and media perception.  I've mentioned in previous blogs that I have 2 acquaintances that were solicited for early investment funds by Steve Jobs and Howard Schultz respectively.  Both of these guys were extremely intelligent, sophisticated investors, and - the case of Schultz's Starbucks pitch - a coffee 'expert.'  They collectively lost the chance at around $50 Billion by using their judgment, experience and analysis over two rather arrogant entrepreneurs with almost no successful track record.  But, for every 2 lost opportunities like this, I personally know of 200 or more investments that would have become losses for the investor.

(And now for the thinking we used to do while smoking joints in college.*Or are we sure of that? Perhaps the project failed because it never received investment and thus it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.... See how tricky this can be?

UPDATE: Since this post was originally written, no less than 5 candidates have held commanding leads in the GOP Primary Nomination.  EVERY ONE of these underscores this point.  A famous RedState blogger totally dismissed early evidence of Herman Cain rising in Florida follow Governor Perry’s incredibly inept debate disaster.  Two weeks later he let the rearview polls tell him what the people had already done.  He was also Gingrich an early obituary author for the Gingrich campaign, although on that he had a LOT of company.  My point is that we better serve ourselves (as well as our compatriots) if we look at new ideas with skeptical openness.  TIME is needed for the evolution or momentum of an idea (the less time until a deadline, the more likely things will remain as they are).

Humor me here and watch the first 2 minutes and 20 seconds of this video.  Two promises.  First - you will laugh.  Second - we won't get nearly this deep or obscure ---

Ok.  Funny right?  And true!  We can't possibly know EVERYTHING to make a decision or prediction.  This is what gets Eric Boehlert and Simon Cowell into trouble. If you jump to a conclusion too quickly without taking into account the accuracy of data or future events - you might end up looking like an a**hole. So, let's dig into the anatomy of political ideas and see if we can determine how or if they will come to pass. 

Prochaska's States of Change
Smart guy James Prochaska (aka IntelliJim) came up with a way to explain how people change behavior.  It's called a Transtheoretical Thigamajob.  Or something.  With apologies to him (and a guarantee I will never ever be allowed to speak at any organization of learning for the rest of my life) Here is what I think it means as adapted to our subject.

Step 1. Fat People don't understand, or have a desire, to change. As ideas go - they can't buy a vowel and don't know that they could.

Step 2. Fat People get the revelation that they need to change behavior in the next 6 months but might not know what it is, how to do it, or commit to do it  Regarding Ideas: People hear a concept that attracts/repels/interests them - but they can't yet form a firm opinion.

Step 3. Fat People have gathered enough information to decide to do something about their chubbiness within the next 30 days.  They are at the stage they are ready to tell others what they will do.  Idea-wise: People have either gathered enough information of their own - or have heard enough from people they respect (called Information cascade) to think they know what they think.  (DANGER WILL ROBINSON..or fill in the name of your favorite ABCCNNMSNBCCBS reporter!)

Step 4. Fat People quit eating and exercise. (Normally most of us go back to Step 3 after trying this for half a day.)  Idea Comparison: People vigorously defend (or if opposed - attack) the idea.  They act on the idea.  As in the case of embracing Global Warming - intelligent people will go back to Step 2 when they learn the East Anglia scientists themselves admit there is no data to support global warming.  Liberals, unfortunately, move to...

Step 5. Fat People are now thinner, and they continue exercise.  Parallel: People either take their idea for granted, or continue to find supporting information to reinforce their position.  People with ill formed ideas (like a lot of liberals) continue to be driven by emotional facts or the desire for greed, pride and fear.  These are the people like editor Ken Silverstein of EnergyBiz, who pretend that global warming positions in the election cycle are only a reflection of political bribes, rather than admitting he takes speaking fees from groups who wouldn't pay him if he admitted there are thousands of climate scientists who strongly dismiss the evidence of climate change including the head of MIT's respective department in this discipline. Or just READ the letter of Dr. Ivar Giaever, a Nobel Laureate who just resigned from the prestigious American Physical Society.  How do these supposedly learned professionals maintain their conviction to lies when the truth is so clear?

The point of this little exercise is that when ideas are first presented - we haven't gone through this process of developing - and committing to an idea.  At this point in 2008 election (fall 2007), Giuliani was the front runner by a wide margin and many were calling for McCain to drop out.  (Remember the pictures of McCain flying coach because he was out of money?)  Goldwater was horribly behind in 1963 until creating a dead heat with Lodge and Rockefeller to be decided at the GOP Convention.

As for concepts like political concepts - we have similar stories.  We tend to forget that conservatives were quite fearless in their proclamation that any socialized medical plan like ObamaCare would ever make it through even a Democratic House and Senate since HillaryCare was still a negative - and fresh in the minds of most Americans. 

As for "Supply Side Economics" - people bought into what George H.W. Bush derisively called "Voodoo Economics" to win election but soured on it by January 1983 when Reagan's approval fell to 35%.  A year later it was over 50% and by November of 1984 it was pushing 60%.

Why?  Reaganomics wasn't any different when Dutch was pitching it in 1979, passing it in 1981 and enjoying its impact on his approval by 1982.  I dont' want to get into the argument here of its 'success' in terms of whether it put more people into poverty (it did) or put people back to work (it did).  Empirically, the majority of people WERE better off four years later.

So why do some ideas become reality and some not? Many of us were intensely dissatisfied with McCain in 2008 but forget that after announcing Palin, he surged in the polls.  And this despite the Kenyan drumbeat of the press declaring the coronation of "The One."  But then the financial crisis hit almost immediately and McCain  told America, "The economic fundamentals of the USA are strong....errrr, I mean the American workforce is strong....errrr, I better suspend my campaign......uhmmm, why are poll numbers dropping?"

Would Obama have NOT been elected if the financial crisis had not hit?  Surely Cap and Trade was inevitable before the Russian email dump of the East Angelia University/IPCC.  The realization of ALL political candidacies and concepts are dependent on things we can't possibly foresee.

In other words, Shift happens.

1. The Radical Idea

The idea itself can be good or bad, true or false.  Like "Humans cause Global Warming."  If you were like me, you wondered..."Wow.  Can this be true?"

ANY new idea is immediately run through our internal computer to see what we think of it. The closer an idea matches our perception or validations - the quicker we start to believe it.  For instance, "the sky is blue" seems obvious and unquestionable.   Many would embrace that quickly because you look up and confirm it with verification by your own beautiful eyes.  This is what bad reporters do.  It's called Confirmation Bias.  The only problem is that on a cloudy day you don't see blue air IN FRONT of the rain clouds and, at dusk. the sky can be orange, yellow or mauve.  In fact the sky is generally transparent and has no color.  Intelligent people (which should be us!) must continually ask WHY we believe what we do, WHERE we could be wrong, HOW to guard against some unseen flaw in our thinking.

And you can't always rely on the past track record of those presenting the idea.  Churchill promoted the Dardanelles/Gallipoli campaign in 1915 and was forced to resign from Admiralty in an embarrassing failure.  You have to cut Chamberlain some slack when he warned of the Hitler danger. And in addition to some questionable compromises with liberal democrats, Reagan liberalized abortion as Governor of California.  Was there a guarantee he would become the poster boy (and grandpa) of conservatism?

While to some the items below are radical ideas - to others they are certitudes:
  • Sarah Palin, Herman Cain or Michelle Bachmann will be elected President.
  • The Federal Reserve will be dismantled or responsibilities transferred BACK to the congress.
  • Both DOE's, the Dept of Agriculture and EPA will be abolished
  • Roe V Wade will be overturned
  • Graft, Bribes, Crimes (including Fast & Furious) and even Treason will be fully investigated and prosecuted.
I can already hear at least 5 Twitter pals sighing in exasperation.  Can't we just focus on the ECONOMY and the CANDIDATE WHO IS MOST ELECTABLE?  Sure. But don't expect a candidate who DOESN'T skillfully weave the case for these things to have a reserve of political capital to spend when he/she needs wants to pull the trigger on these things.  And please don't be so quick to think taking bold stands somehow invalidate or weaken a candidate.  We just won an 89 year Democratic Congressional seat by openly talking about Obama's trashing of Israel,  Social Security and Medical Reform and Gay Marriage prohibition!  In NEW YORK!  And those conservatives that suddenly have become Bill Clinton steering strategy by polls instead of principle (I mean you Erick Erickson), in your eyes Ronald Reagan would never have won the Presidency in 1980 because of his overt, minority position on abortion.  What needs to happen on concepts that are currently a minority view (where truth is on our side) is to EDUCATE! 

I submit to you at one time these realities were similarly held:
  • The Watergate incident is a small robbery and not enough to sink Nixon.
  • You can cut taxes and get more revenue into the economy.
  • A "B" actor who is kind of old and slow will be elected President.
  • The Supreme Court will legalize the killing of babies in a mother's womb.
  • Tiger Woods is a lock to win more majors than Nicklaus.
It is often the idea that is dangerous (to some) that is the most intriguing.  And it's a fine line.  Jokingly building a "moat" at the border won't hurt you much but having a fear that building a fence on it will turn America into Stalag 13 - kind of makes you irrelevant.  (And this song just for you Ron Paul fans). 

Ahhh - but I'm breaking my own self woven straight jacket here aren't I?  IS IT too far fetched to believe our government could turn on us?  Well..., Obama has been funding and staffing a "naitonal civilian security force" that is also mentioned in the ObamaCare legislation.  MediaMatters calls it "lunacy" giving it even MORE credibility.  I have a friend who recently got licensed for conceal carry but a Sheriff of a small - make that tiny - town in the middle of nowhere. The Sheriff said their station received a shipment of assault rifles from the Fed to store "for emergency."  Now this town is NO WHERE near an urban area, federal penitentiary or border and has had zero murders in the past 12 years.  WHY would they need these?  And most of you know about the Department of Education is buying assault rifles? Did you know the 1930's Germany was the most scientifically advanced and intellectually progressive state in history up until that time? 

Let me be perfectly clear here (does that sound like Obama or Nixon?  I can't tell.)  I think the likelihood of Obama attempting martial law in ANY WalMart food court in Texas, Arizona or Louisiana would fail miserably. Bubba don't play that.  But I also would have never imagined it possible for an African American T-shirt vendor who was brutally beaten at a St. Louis Tea Party meeting by union thugs to not get justice, for a Black Panther brandishing a club at a polling place to not be prosecuted, or a shipyard to be taken over by 500 union thugs without consequence or national outrage.  I'll admit it.  With this Administration, my limits of what is 'fantastic' are reasonably being expanded beyond comfort.  And I for one am going to hear the evidence from every "crazy" person with actual evidence before passing judgment.  Don't forget.  Only the National Enquirer got Monica Lewinsky correct.

What those of us who are older and wiser find (Emily Miller would say I'm at least older), is that we really don't know as much as we think we do.  (Especially after having children and/or attempting to start a business)  And when we foolishly declare, "PROLIFE DEMOCRATS WILL NEVER BEND TO ALLOW ABORTION IN OBAMACARE," or "McCAIN IS MORE ELECTABLE TO INDEPENDENTS," we lose our own ability to do two things:

1. Remain relevant to those we are trying to influence if we too flippantly dismiss others, and,
2. See clearly our vulnerabilities unless we take a fair portion of humility.

My point here is that it is fine to adopt (or deride) an idea or position.  BUT we become the very mindless idiots we chastise on the other side when we don't leave some possiblity we could be wrong (or they could be right).

Can we be a bit more intellectual, conservatives?

And once we are SURE of our position (in humility) we must be able to articulate them in a way to attract others.  And quit writing horribly long blogs that never seem END!

As for me, I've only be wrong one time.  It was the time I thought I was wrong. :-)

2. The Environment Needed For The Idea To Take Root.

Jack Kemp wanted to reform Social Security and make our dollar "good as gold."  Something that would be handy today against this administrations policies.  He lost both the GOP nomination to Bob Dole and the Vice Presidency to Al Gore.

MP Winston Churchill wanted to rearm the Empire after WW1 and was castigated by his peers. But he became Prime Minister.

Sometimes your idea is right, it just takes time until people see the NEED for your 'radical' idea.  William Wilberforce spent 26 years championing the abolition of the British slave trade until it actually became law.

As mentioned before, it was ridiculous to think in January of 2009 that the GOP could retake Congress given the enormous support for Obama.  I remember articles projecting a 20 year 'golden age' for the democrats.  That kind of went the way with Bush's plan to go to Mars.

It's funny how only a year ago, Democrats would sacrifice their very careers to do whatever Obama demanded.  Drudge Headlines Friday include open dismissal of ObamaJob 7.0 by even Senator Vietnam Kerry.

As with ObamaCare, an idea doesn't have to immediate overwhelm the expectations of a majority.  But it does need an incubator of enthusiasts to sustain the idea until it 'takes' root.  Let me give you an example:

Former Actor Ronald Reagan for President: Speech at Goldwater Convention lit a flame among conservatives and allowed Ronnie a platform for 1980.  What seemed laughable to a great deal of the country even until 1978, suddenly grew as others beyond California heard him speak to issues of inflation and economic principle.

Supreme Court Nominee - Harriet Meirs:  Not so much.

So TIMING is important, but also one can't wait to START the declaration of their idea.  Who knows how many more lives would have been lost and enslaved if Wilberforce did not begin his terribly unpopular idea when he did?  And would Reagan have been able to capture the nomination without the groundwork he laid in 1976?

3. Leadership and Perseverance
So we feel confident in our ideas and we are attempting to do what Benjamin Franklin says he learned to do too late in life.  That is, to ask questions and deflect certainty of our own positions, rather than raising walls of defense with condescension and ridicule.

In no way am I ungrateful for many good things he did, but George H.W. Bush was the politician we all fear.  Someone who at the end of the day will capitulate to expediency rather than principle.  And politicians who won't capitulate to common sense can be even scarier (put the picture of Mr. Barak here).  LEADERSHIP - or rather the TRUST in leadership - is a two edged sword.

Let me put it another way - Obama/Pelosi didn't care what people thought and they got the biggest liberal payoff in our history in ObamaScare.  They were willing to subvert the Constitution, congressional rules and even their own compatriots to accomplish their socialist goal.  In contrast, Boehner/McConnell were so afraid of the MSM and their own shadow that they not only went back on their $100 Million cut pledge - but they FACILITATED the possibility of the biggest modern day defense cut to happen IN A TIME OF WAR.  And during the debt ceiling debate it was the Democrats who held the line to raise the budget - not us.  We thought we were William Wallace - but we found out we were Robert the Bruce.

This goes to the heart of the debate with many of my Twitter buds.  Was it right to just "concede" the debt ceiling debate because we only had 1/3rd of the house?  What football team can possibly win against a superior defense?  What saleswoman would ever be successful if she conceded to a competitor that her product cost too much, was delivered too slowly and was 'seemingly' of less value?  What poker player would win ANYTHING without bluffing? And what group of untrained colonists would possibly take up a battle against the mightiest and best trained armed forces in the history of the world, with little resources and only an approval of a little over a third of it's citizens?

In our EXECUTION of ideas - from who we nominate for President, to how we lobby our representatives to investigate abominations like Fast and Furious, we must get better.
  • KNOW our idea is right, or keep throwing it against opposition until we know it is.
  • Make our goal not to argue - but to reason.  Finding the core need of our opponent, and showing them how our 'idea' helps them.
  • Let our speech be seasoned with grace. Not just to maintain our alliances which we will need against the REAL enemy next year.  Not just to make it easier for others to HEAR our ideas.  But also to know those words won't be so hard to swallow should we have to eat them when proved wrong.  (And all of you will be wrong about something. I guarandamntee it.)
  • Be undeterred in what we know is right.  Like Reagan waiting for the tax cuts to kick in, like William Wallace urging us to fight for the freedom of our children rather than ourselves, place the value of doing the BEST, RIGHT thing above expediency.
So what drives these insane arguments between conservatives that get into personal attacks (Bachmann is an idiot) or condescending fortunetelling (Palin is playing with announcing to sell more books or seek glory)?

I think it has to be one (or more) of three things:

  • Fear
  • Dishonesty
  • Pride

FEAR.  Some of you, if we bring up ONE negative point about your "guy" or "girl" react like a third grade boy told to use public showers with the middle school boys.  YOUR REACTION REFLECTS WORSE ON YOUR CANDIDATE THAN THE TRUTH! You are a conservative, in the mold of Ronald Reagan!  We have grace!  We have self-deprecating humor!  It endears us to people!  But your opponents see you like the college freshman who gets asked by the obnoxious, irritating, buck toothed, big nosed, pimply evangelical on campus, "Do you want to know Jesus?  If you accept him you can be just like me!!"  Would it kill you to ALLOW other people an opinion? Even if you see it is wrong?  Sure, fight your point!  But base your argument in observable FACT and go easy on emotion.  Not the reverse.  You Palin people won't win over the Romney fans THAT YOU WILL NEED by disparaging their candidate AS A PERSON.  You Perry/Romney fans won't have the fervent ground troops you will need if you diminish and disrespect the hope Palin fans have.  And you Huntsman and Ron Paul fans...  Well.  We pray for you....  Often.

DISHONESTY.  I am convinced that as bad as the Soros paid trolls, we have people that are not completely honest about either their position - or their loyalty.  Some want to remain the "cool" Tweeter, Blogger or enthusiast to be accepted but have already decided to 'fight' for their horse in the race.  I'm even more concerned about those that have conflicts they themselves aren't acknowledging.  I have lit into Erick Erickson of RedState because it is obvious to me they have taken it upon themselves to push a particular candidate.  But I give him kudos for admitting publicly his bosses asked him to renege on an endorsement. A dishonest man would have hidden it.  And Conservatives4Palin?  You have no doubt of their position.  Would it kill some of you to really admit your own bias to yourself and then where appropriate in your tweets and blogs?  [Post script: I had not seen this article before I finished this blog.  I have seen no bias of Dan Riehl and Robert Stacy McCain (the other McCain) mentioned in this piece, but think it is a great idea for us all to disclose ANY support we receive somewhere on our blog.  FULL DISCLOSURE: I receive emotional support from @prfekrdumbrella, @JoAnRisdon and @jimfact.  It turns out I either have no wealthy political supporters or they are stingy bastards.]

PRIDE.  This is the MOST obvious one to me.  Because I've seen it in me.  I WANT to think i really know a lot about a lot, but have found quite a few times trying to justify my position not on facts - but on my gut feeling.  Many of you Palin-haters fall into this category.  Because the "mainstream" sees Palin as a intellectually inferior, you dismiss her (and her followers) thinking it puts you in the 'elite'.  Well it doesn't.  There is not ONE policy position, political accomplishment or weakness you can lay at her feet that isn't inherent in any other candidate.  If her voice or manner of speaking irritate you - or if you are afraid of being a Sarah "groupie," fine!  But quit making up false reasons about why she isn't a legitimate candidate.  She's polling in 3rd place WITHOUT announcing.  Do you remember where Perry was polling without announcing?  I do.  7th!  At it pisses me off that some of you want to say, "I appreciate what she did in rallying the base, etc. BUT..."  SHE IS THE MOST ACCOMPLISHED REPUBLICAN WOMAN WE HAVE EVER HAD.  (sorry for shouting.).  But when you dismiss her amazing accomplishments in Alaksa and the roll model she is to conservative women, you are doing no less than what the liberals did to Hillary in 2008.  You don't like her? Great.  Don't support her candidacy or potential.  But please at least show respect for the woman that singularly revived the GOP prospects in 2008 and fought the merciless attacks against her and her family without any help from you.  (This ends the RANT portion of the blog).

So tune in here for all positions you are to embrace from here forward so we can be in unity. Ok?  If you don't, you're a RINO, candle lighting, zombie terrorist hobbit who secretly wants more taxes, illegal aliens and four more years of Obama.

*I in no way condone the use of drugs except for liberals.  Although short lived, my drug experimentation in college cost me close friends and opportunities I can never recapture.  Kids (and adults under 120) don't do drugs.  Liberals - please do all the drugs you can so we can either lock you up and put you away or so that your reasoning will be all screwed up for life even a liberal leaning democrat won't understand you.

Suggested Additional Reading (Thanks Jeneva Lynn):

Organized Conservative Resistance Alliance

A Statement of Principles, Goals, and Methodology
To the Left: Before I begin, it is an unfortunate fact of political life in the United States today that you must immediately express in no uncertain terms that you are not an “extremist” if you use the word Conservative. So, let me assure you of a few things:  (continued here)


Micro CHP as we all know politician has its flowering mouth during campaign. Promises this and those, do this and do those. But when they are in the position they only do but control the system and give false hope to the people.

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