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Saturday, September 14, 2019

Overreach - Editorial, The Week in Review

Analysis, Commentary, Opinion


We have to be careful not to overreach.

Not just those who are seeking to be nominated by the Democratic Party, to be our candidate for President, it is not just those people who have to be careful not to overreach, we all have to be careful not to overreach, not to expect them to overreach just to satisfy our desire to have a candidate who says the things we want to hear:

1.      Take the Assault Weapons Away
2.      Universal Health Care
3.      Universal Basic Income
4.      Universal Pre-K
5.      Universal Higher Education
6.      Medical Debt Forgiveness
7.      Student Loan Forgiveness
8.      The Green New Deal
9.      Impeach Donald Trump

I want all of those things, but almost none of those things issues to campaign on.

I know a lot of people disagree with me, a lot of my friends especially, and they are right to assert that the role of President is to articulate a vision that leads the country forward, not back or sideways, or a vision that has us standing still.

Be mindful of this, and don’t put the cart before the horse.

The campaign for the presidency is much different than the presidency itself, and our candidates would do well to hold back on their more spectacular ambitions until that have not only won the nomination, but won the office. Because, the campaign itself is just that, a campaign, it is a contest, and popularity is only one of the factors in it. A campaign is like warfare, the candidates have to take ground and hold. This is both literal and figurative, the candidates have to win the hearts and minds of people, they have to engage the people in culturally and geographically diverse communities all across the country, they have to win the hearts and minds and hold them, and it is not just the presidency that is online, it is also the control of congress, and redistricting after the 2020 census.

This is an important year in American politics.

In the current media environment the party primaries are extensions of the national campaign, we cannot play the old game of pandering to the base, then tacking to the middle. That will not work, and some of the leading candidates will shun the middle no matter what.

Moderation and centrism are dirty words among political activists, I hear the pundits talk about how boring such policies are, and that the people will not turn out for a candidate that does not excite them.

As much as it may be true, it is also the wisdom of fools.

Pay attention.

Beto is right, we should have a mandatory buy-back program for assault rifles, but he is politically in-astute to say it. Such legislation would fail in congress, if put forward as an executive order it would lose in the courts. In taking this bold position he has only succeeded in bringing a losing issue to the forefront of the campaign. It does not matter that he is right, or that he is attempting to lead, because a policy that goes nowhere, that cannot go anywhere, those policies are not leading anything.

We have to exercise the same type of caution for the rest of the wish list that is at the forefront of Democratic Party ideals.

Democrats are mistaken if they think they will get somewhere by pulling one another into the morass of policy initiatives that most American’s find dubious, murky, full of uncertainty, and give them pause to doubt.

We do the people a disservice by campaigning on policies which any reasonable observer of government knows will not make it through the legislative process.

Speaking in general about the ideals which inform those policies is much more important.

Remember, the voters are not going to go to the ballot box and vote for a plan, they are going to vote for a person, who they feel understands them, who they feel a connection with, one that they can relate to; right or wrong that is the way it is.

Don’t overreach, don’t get out over your skis, don’t advance beyond the line; bring the whole country with you, one step at a time.

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