Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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    Dollars and (no) Sense

    By on September 10, 2014 in See It Here


    Like many of you, I received a letter from a candidate for Congress asking for money. It was a four-page diatribe using three-and-one-half pages telling me the incumbent sucks and just half a page telling me that Obamacare sucks and we need smaller government.

    If one was looking for what this candidate would do, it ain’t there. This is how we run for office. We vote against someone and something, rather than for someone and something.

    Yes, I sent the letter back expressing my concern(s). No, I received no answer (no apology for the double (or triple) negative. Heck, consider the topic….

    I mentioned in my thoughtful note to the candidate’s campaign manager that the public opinion of Congress is lower than used car salesmen while apologizing to used car salesmen for making that connection. Heck, it’s lower than telephone marketers (apologies to them too). And it really doesn’t have to be this way.

    One way to move public opinion of Congress higher is to be positive–not happy-skipping down the road–happy, but offering a solution to a problem. If Obamacare sucks, then is all of it horrible or, (ladies and gentlemen,cue the drum roll),  might there be some use for maturity while saying “here are the parts that work” and “here are the parts that need a change”?

    If government is too big, then how are you going to make it smaller? As I mentioned to the candidate’s “experts”, what parts of government are you going to cut? I know I’m not smart enough to be in Congress, but cutting programs means cutting expenditures which results in smaller government, in theory. But,  of course, we don’t want to get into specifics when we’re asking for money.

    We have become a lazy voting public. We accept the glittering generalities in this stupid letter that say absolutely nothing but sound good  and come across as if there really is thought behind the words. You’ll see it right now on TV and radio commercials as well as the rare interviews  (and I speak from experience as I edit Sunday morning talk shows in search of news).  In 2012, almost 59% of eligible voters went to the polls after candidates spent $6 billion. And many who went to the polls, did so because they saw a candidate get angry and yell on TV while all the time trying to have a good one-liner, rather than explain, in a few sentences, what they’d do differently. We elect candidates by (1) not thinking and (2) looking for the easy answer if we even take the time to think.

    Our esteemed colleagues are back in Washington for a few weeks before they return to districts for campaigning and spending money on stupid ads about how the other guy sucks. Before then, they’ve got to pass a temporary government funding bill to keep the United States in business until mid-December, when they’ll have to pass another temporary funding bill. Yep, this is the way it’s done these days. And yes, every incumbent will point to the other side as to being the reason it’s done this way. Folks, point your finger at the incumbent because that person is part of this nonsense.

    By the way, I just received another letter from the candidate. He’s asking for money.

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