Thursday, July 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

GOP leaders are inarticulate

sowell column sig

By
From page A9 | October 13, 2013 |

If the continued existence of mathematics depended on the ability of the Republicans to defend the proposition that two plus two equals four, that would probably mean the end of mathematics and of all the things that require mathematics.

Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, epitomized what has been wrong with the Republicans for decades when he emerged from a White House meeting Oct. 2, went over to the assembled microphones, briefly expressed his disgust with the Democrats’ intransigence and walked on away.

We are in the midst of a national crisis, immediately affecting millions of Americans and potentially affecting the kind of country this will become if the Affordable Care Act goes into effect – and yet, with multiple television network cameras focused on Speaker Boehner as he emerged from the White House, he couldn’t be bothered to prepare a statement that would help clarify a confused situation, full of fallacies and lies.

Boehner was not unique in having a blind spot when it comes to recognizing the importance of articulation and the need to put some serious time and effort into presenting your case in a way that people outside the Beltway would understand. On the contrary, he has been all too typical of Republican leaders in recent decades.

When the government was shut down during the Clinton administration, Republican leaders who went on television to tell their side of the story talked about “OMB numbers” versus “CBO numbers” – as if most people beyond the Beltway knew what these abbreviations meant or why the statistics in question were relevant to the shutdown. Why talk to them in Beltway-speak?

When Speaker Boehner today goes around talking about the “CR,” that is just more of the same thinking – or lack of thinking. Policy wonks inside the Beltway know that he is talking about the “continuing resolution” that authorizes the existing level of government spending to continue, pending a new budget agreement.

But, believe it or not, there are lots of citizens and voters outside the Beltway. What is believed by those people whom too many Republicans are talking past can decide not only the outcome of this crisis but the fate of the nation for generations to come.

You might think that the stakes are high enough for Republicans to put in some serious time trying to clarify their message. As the great economist Alfred Marshall once said, facts do not speak for themselves. If we are waiting for the Republicans to do the speaking, the country is in big trouble.

Democrats, by contrast, are all talk. They could sell refrigerators to Eskimos before Republicans could sell them blankets.

Indeed, Democrats sold Barack Obama to the American public, which is an even more amazing feat, considering his complete lack of relevant experience and questionable (at best) loyalty to the values and institutions of this country.

The Democrats have obviously given a lot of attention to articulation, including coordinated articulation among their members. Some years ago, Sen. Chuck Schumer was recorded, apparently without his knowledge, telling fellow Democrats to keep using the word “extremist” when discussing Republicans.

Even earlier, when George W. Bush first ran for president, the word that suddenly began appearing everywhere was “gravitas” – as in the endlessly repeated charge that Bush lacked “gravitas.” People who had never used that word before suddenly began using it all the time.

Today, the Democrats’ buzzword is “clean” – as in the endlessly repeated statement that Republicans in the House of Representatives should send a “clean” bill to the Senate. Anything less than a blank check is not considered a “clean” bill.

The Constitution gives the House of Representatives the responsibility to originate all spending bills, based on what they think should and should not be funded. But the word “clean” is now apparently supposed to override the Constitution.

If Republicans want to show some seriousness about articulating their case, they might start by deleting the abbreviation “CR” from their vocabulary. As has been said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” That journey is long overdue.

Thomas Sowell is an author, economist and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Mike KirchubelOctober 13, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    A couple of points : Boehner walked away from the microphone without articulating the Republican position because they had none. You are correct, the term "extremists" is not a fitting handle for the right wing of the right wing, "jihadists" is more appropriate now. Also, the Republicans are the one who are the ones who manipulate catchy phrases and the media. The Democrat merely have to tell the public the truth.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895October 13, 2013 - 3:02 pm

    Articulation is one thing; obfuscation is another. Paring down words and using imagery can be for good or ill. Bush always was using the word "resolute" because it sounded better than stubborn. Republicans use the word "freedom" a lot, so we know they are for it. What they don't talk about is "for whom?"

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalOctober 13, 2013 - 7:02 pm

    Delay the individual mandate and let's move on.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • rlw895October 13, 2013 - 7:13 pm

    Anything is possible. What are the Republicans going to give if Obama and the Dems prefer not to? They don't seem to be able to deliver anything.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Artists with trowels transform highway wall

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
City buys PG&E property for train station project

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1

 
Multitasking to mindfulness shift not easy

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

County court employees rally against cuts, furloughs

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Crews to begin Vacaville slurry seal street project

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3

2nd candidate eyes Vacaville mayoral run

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Bertani schedules town hall meet

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3, 1 Comment

 
Vacaville police arrest fugitive Dezmon Frazier

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Accused foster father testifies in murder trial

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Incumbent Hunt to run for Vacaville council seat

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A4

Sesame Street USO tour visits Travis

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Carranza | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
Suisun City police log: July 21, 2013

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Suisun City police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Fairfield police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

Fairfield police log: July 21, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Weather for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

Fairfield police log: July 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

 
Suisun City police log: July 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A10

.

US / World

Lawsuit tests racial policy at California prisons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 2 Comments

 
Honduran families deported back to a bleak future

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Lockdown lifted at Little Rock Air Force Base

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US pushes for truce as Gaza battle rages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Casualty numbers raise questions about Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
40 bodies from jet solemnly returned to Dutch soil

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

.

Opinion

Rick Perry’s contradiction

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A7

 
Editorial Cartoons for July 24, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Good men lost due to Bergdahl

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Is Logue tripping over words?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A7

 
Watch out for Bobby Jindal

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A7

Are illegal immigrants the ones ruining America?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A7

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

I resent my husband for not defending me to his mother

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

 
Horoscopes for July 24, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

CBS event marks civil rights anniversary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
4-day Comic Con festival kicks off in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Filmmaker Michael Moore’s divorce is finalized

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
CBS says Colbert keeping CBS’ ‘Late Show’ in NYC

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Pence drives in 3, Giants beat Phillies 3-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Cespedes hits 2 HRs, A’s hold off Astros 9-7

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Big innings fuels 16-1 Expos victory in Area 1 opener

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders start to arrive for start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Tight end Vernon Davis arrives at 49ers training camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Testimony ends in trial over $2B Clippers sale

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Playful Pole wins Tour stage, as Nibali marches on

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
4 Cities to meet with USOC about 2024

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Broncos owner giving up control due to Alzheimer’s

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Mavericks’ Felton pleads guilty in NYC gun case

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Chiefs, running back Jamaal Charles reach deal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Seattle’s Sidney Rice announces his retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

.

Business

Stopping deadly oil train fires: New rules planned

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
US economy, though sluggish, may now be sturdier

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

GM issues 6 more safety recalls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
.

Obituaries

Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Joseph Ross Smith Jr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Shirley T. ‘Mac’ McFadden

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 5 Comments

.

Comics

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9