A lot of chest puffing has been going around in the talk radio world this election cycle. Lots of people on talk radio’s right claiming that they will hold no ill opinion of any of the GOP candidates so that they won’t have to “eat any crow” when the general election gets here. They give it cutesy names like “#Switzerland” or “#NeverDems” or “#GOPTrain.”
The theory is simple enough, “If we ‘mask’ the weaknesses of the (sad) GOP candidate we put forward, then we’ll trick enough people into not seeing their weaknesses and perhaps enough of them will be fooled so that they can vote for them in November.”
One of the dumbest things the right has ever thought up if you ask me.
It is especially ridiculous thinking this year, as the likely nominee has considerable garbage that he’s not even trying to clean up. He just keeps rolling around in it, sadly, without learning anything.
With that said here’s my most important reasons why I refuse to play the charade.
- My listeners deserve better. In every election cycle I come off of doing massive amounts of other news, just so that I can talk about the political process. Average talk radio audiences can not hold up under 24/7 politics, 365. So for 2.5 years I talk about the things that impact their lives. Stuff from the front page. I explain to them my opinions about those stories. I make assertions, and I debunk assumptions. Unintentionally I am also doing a great deal of trust building and teaching. Trust building in that I never lie to my audience. If I bring them an issue, a story, a product, or a service, they know that they can trust it, because it comes from ME. This is key to my long time survival for my family, and my short term goals of career. If suddenly I started getting neutral in an area of moral clarity, when the rest of the years they hear me pronounce definitive positions, then they immediately know.
- I don’t care about tricking people. The most conservative candidate in the race when the general election rolls around will have weaknesses. Pretending they do not exist is dishonest and silly. With opposition research going down there will be things extrapolated, made up, or possibly turn out to be true. But it’s far better to discuss them openly, and have as much transparency to the process than to hide them and hope people don’t notice.
- Being tough helps the candidate. They will never admit it but dealing with tensions and stress (and specifically as early as possible) will make statements about the character and dependability about the candidate. How do they deal with being treated fairly with accusations that have merit. And the one I find more revealing–how do they respond when dealing with the things that are untrue? Character is refined and exposed under the bright lights of intense pressure. The campaign should be one of the most grueling things that person will ever have to endure. It should be that way so that those of us making the decision to hire or not hire have a clear understanding of what we are getting.
There are many more reasons I could list but for the purpose of this communique I’m gonna leave it there for now.
As 2016 has progressed I have been beyond dismayed at how this cycle has failed the voters. For having bar none the greatest field of candidates when we started the race we are closing it out with some of the oddest realities I’ve seen.
Somehow in a field that included a bunch of the most talented governors in our nation’s history, the three most visible U.S. Senators that had led the grassroots charge to reform DC from a thing called the Tea Party, and three of the most talented public sector candidates the GOP had ever engaged.
A Billionaire, a gifted female CEO, an African American Neurosurgeon, an Indian American southerner, two Cuban dissident children, a Rust belt Governor, a Mid-Atlantic Governor, a Corn belt Governor, and four Bible belt governors. We even had just a plain old former Senator from Pennsylvania.
I was guilty early in the race of saying, “elect them all, let the billionaire assign their positions, and turn ’em loose.”
And somehow, in some way, in a way that defies explanation that I can not even fully connect the dots to in terms of how it could have — but it ALL fell apart.
Most of the talented executive Governors were tossed in the early rounds. The only one who stayed in is one that has no prayer of winning.
As the field winnowed it was clear that it was the outsiders (Tea Party Senators, and public sector candidates) that had ALL of the momentum. And the two that have now ended up capturing more than 90% of the GOP Primary support was a tea-party Senator that tried to shut down Washington DC in order to keep promises to the people of America, and a Billionaire who on day one basically promised to blow everything up.
From that original talented field of orators we are left with three very different types of communicators. A bully, a boy scout, and the uncle who always laughs at the wrong things at family gatherings.
The billionaire who jumped out to the early lead, suddenly revealed that he himself had been tricking some people. We discovered that he had literally no limits. Journalists confessing that he had attempted to “woo” them just before announcing for President. Watching mortified as he made fun of disabled people. Slipping from time to time into hateful stereotypes of hispanics. Revealing that the secret to his way with women is to treat them like sh*t. And most annoying his preemptive marketing labels that he put on all of his opponents. But even that wasn’t enough…
During and through out it all I continued to say repeatedly that while I’m a fan of dislodging the brokered power-base in Washington DC, I am convinced that it is not necessary to elect the most profane human being to ever run for the office to do it.
I was chastised by fellow personalities on talk radio, internet, television, and in person.
I was told not to engage in “circular fire” because it was going to play into the hands of the new boogieman “the establishment.” (As if suddenly the elected choices of we the people were suddenly voided once they were elected.) But as time went by the profanity, the crass ugly, the inhumane mindset of the billionaire front runner never lessened.
Simultaneously another oddity began to occur. Said billionaire’s actual record began to be exposed. But since he’s never been in political office somehow his supporters believe his behavior will be different IN OFFICE than it was prior to office.
But has that ever been anyone’s experience?
Power hungry megalomaniacs have never improved their behavior once given absolute control.
As the investigation into his actual record began to be revealed it became obvious that he was a fraud on every level.
- He claimed he was against the establishment, and then it was revealed that he had been in bed with the establishment more than in other person in American history. He had played all sides–and still is. He is a great “deal cutter” became his motto. When we are trying to elect someone who doesn’t cut deals.
- He claimed to be pro-life. But continuously evolved even in the campaign cycle to demonstrate a hardness towards cutting funding for Planned Parenthood and whose position today would be to leave 100% of the funding they currently get–in place.
- He claimed he’d be tough on radical terrorists. But can not bring himself to define the difference between radical islamists seeking to destroy Israel, and the diligent people of Israel who seek merely to protect themselves.
- He claimed to acknowledge the problems of immigration but then told the New York Times in one interview that when the atmosphere at the rallies would hit a lull that he would “just say, ‘build the wall’ and the place would go nuts.” And in a later interview that he refuses to release, people with first hand knowledge of the recordings say that he said “ALL of his policies on immigration were negotiable.”
I could list a dozen more instances but for brevity’s sake…
The problem in not responding to these obvious hypocrisies is that they will be exposed and exploited in the general election.
And then my fellow media colleagues chastise me–using a method that Trump supporters use online, dozens of times, daily–they thrust me into the ultimate “gotcha” question. Or so they believe.
“Well if Trump is the candidate, who are you gonna support between him and Hillary?”
I’ve languished about it a good deal, and until day before yesterday–TO MY SHAME–I was STILL–undecided on what to do in such an equation. (My immediate strategy has been to remind everyone that we are still in the midst of a primary battle and that with each passing day and Cruz win the billionaire’s chances of reaching the convention cleanly get dimmer.)
But let’s just say for the moment that all the billionaire supporting mouth breathers are right for a minute.
Let’s suppose he gets the nomination.
Until two days ago I was still ready to consider pulling the handle for him.
The thinking is that he would have the support and be surrounded more people that I trusted than those that are on the other team. But watching his ability to wildly disappoint my expectations–that is not a given. And given his ability to throw people away like trash I can not trust his decision making nor his character.
And that was brought home very clearly two days ago…
I say it all the time, “The truest measure of a man is how he treats those people who can do nothing for them.”
My listeners hear it, my boys hear it, everyone on earth hears me repeat it.
But I forgot to measure Trump by those same standards. The assertion speaks to the moral core of the person. And because of this moral issue, I can no longer distinguish a moral difference between Hillary and Donald. They both use people for their own edification. They manipulate, lie, pivot, and adjust. Maybe in the business world they “have to” do it. I could talk to you for hours how hard it is to work very hard and come up short.
But its how they treat people that has me equally vexed.
Trump got mad two nights ago because a third party SuperPAC made an online ad about his wife. They did so using an easily accessible nude image of her. (In fact its harder to google her name and NOT have a copy of the image pop up in your search results than the other way around. Interesting aside: Also was photographed on Donald’s own plane.) Trump didn’t like the fact that this third party (with documented zero connection to Cruz in any way) simply pointed out that Mrs. Trump would be the first porn subject to become first lady.
In response over two nights he first threatened and then attacked Ted Cruz’s wife.
Heidi Cruz had no connection to anything. So why did Trump focus on her?
Because she couldn’t do anything for him.
So to be clear, the billionaire bully was willing to injure the most innocent person in the entire, sad, episode.
I suddenly realized, this is no better than lying to the Whitewater investigators, its no better than lying about your husband’s felony lying and infidelity, its no better than lying to the families of Benghazi–sorta similar in terms of the pain actually, and no different than lying about one’s emails.
Trump lies, Hillary lies.
They both live for themselves and believe themselves to be the center of the universe.
They both use people to reach objectives.
They both are so hungry for this job–and for all the wrong reasons.
Donald Trump never mentions the Constitution. Neither does Hillary. Both will fund Planned Parenthood at the same levels it is now. Both will put lousy judges on the federal judiciary–Trump saying maybe his sister would be great. Fantastic let’s make your son secretary of defense, and Ivanka the head of the IRS.
Hillary and Donald both exercise the cruelest form of payback. They are about the same on national defense, and neither of them are going to do away with the tax code. They both desire some form of Government involvement in health care. And they are both beholding to Wall Street.
So my answer when asked, “So between Trump and Hillary–who is it?”
The only honest answer is–they’re the same. Cruel, mean, vision-less people, who lack grace, decorum, or class.
So to go from in essence the most talented field of potential presidents and to now find ourselves lying in this gutter, it just doesn’t really matter.
And I guess that makes me #NotSwitzerland… But you already knew that.