The Credibility Gap

Credibility is as important a concept in government as it is in business.  In order for business to work, there must be a certain amount of trust in your agents.  The same is true of our agents in Washington  We are facing an election in November where the population is furious or depressed, and is ready the throw the bums out.  The ones in power, the Democrats and their allies in the lame-brained media, are getting concerned.  It is not looking good for them.  The alarm bells are ringing, the ads are being written, the legions of interest groups are putting on their walking shoes, and political operatives are scheming.  They are ready to do battle.  But, will anyone believe them?

Years ago, when I was the general manager of a restaurant, a salesman came in and gave me his sales pitch for a product.  I tasted it.  I ran the numbers.  I considered our clientele and if it would add to our selection.  I bought the product. 

Then I got the product on the next shipment from my usual vendor.  It wasn’t the same thing.  It was a decidedly smaller product, of significantly different texture and flavor, and the price was higher than the one I was quoted.  I wasn’t particularly mad.  This isn’t a unique situation.  I sold it as a special and took the loss.

The salesman came in a couple of weeks later and asked if I wanted more of his product.  I laughed at him.  I told him the problems with the product and the fact it wasn’t even in the same ballpark.  This is where it got interesting.  First, he said they had problems with the distributor.  It was obvious I’d gotten the wrong product and the mix up was not his fault.  I’d kept the box and showed him it was the same name, number, and specifications.  The product he’d given me was sample product that showed much better.  Strike One.

Then he backpedaled and said the company’s product had changed from these smaller ones to the larger size he’d shown me.  What I’d gotten was the distributor’s old stock.  I calmly smiled and told him I’d already talked to my representative and the product I got was the product they had just received. Strike Two.

I let him have one more go, because I’m a sadist when it comes to salespeople, and because I wanted to hear the next excuse.  He was now getting more belligerent and a little shaky.  He said the product he’d shown me WAS the product I’d gotten.  It was my memory that was at fault.  I couldn’t hold him accountable because I’d confused another product with his.  Strike Three, and I was done with him.

At that point I just told him I wasn’t going to carry his product.  If he didn’t mind, I had work to do. 

He left after a snarling remark about the establishment.

I think he probably went on to run as a Democrat for Congress.  He’d fit right in.

You see, at this point both sides of his credibility were shot.  I wouldn’t even consider another product from this huckster because he was dishonest about what it really was.  When confronted on the attributes, he continued to lie and blame someone else.  Even after shooting down his lame excuses, he continued to shift responsibility.  It was obvious he really didn’t know the product, nor what a restaurant needs to keep consistancy and value for their patrons.  He thought he could pass off a substandard product and stupid restaurant managers wouldn’t know the difference.  Sure enough, the product he initially sampled to me was a completely different brand that he’d presented as what he was selling.  Not only was he dishonest, he was insulting and ignorant as well.

Does this story sound like anybody we know in public life?

Obama and the Democratic Party ran around telling us there was too much irresponsible spending in Washington.  We needed tax breaks for the middle class.  We needed smarter, more clever regulations to protect us.  We needed transparency, accountability, and cooperation through bipartisanship.  We would have change, and it would make things all better.  Just trust them, they won’t let us down.

I didn’t believe them, but then I was the general manager of a restaurant who had experienced plenty of huckster and flim-flam artists and well-meaning incompetents.  They wanted hope and change.  They wanted “Yes, we can.”  Not everyone has had my experience, and now they have.

Back when the world was young and the dew was fresh upon liberal cheeks, The Party promised their stimulus program and bailouts and enormous expansion of programs in the Omnibus spending bill would wash away the growing recession.  This giant explosion of spending would stimulate the economy, put workers into shovel-ready jobs, prime the pump, and make America work again.  It didn’t work. 

We began seeing there were no real effects, only more government.  But, they decided we needed health care deform.  Many of us said, no thanks.  We don’t want it.  We believe its too intrusive, too big, and most of all, just too stupid a plan.  In fact, an overwhelming majority of people changed their minds.  What they saw was not a plan that would improve care or coverage, but a plan that shifted the control from the private to the public sector.  We kinda shouted it loudly.  We really let them know.  Since then, it hasn’t gotten any better.

They rammed through a financial reform bill that no one read.  They passed numerous bailouts for states, banks, and other entities.  They bailed out state pension plans and government workers.  All the while we said, “Stop it.  Now.  This isn’t what you promised.”  That was all just too bad.  And the economy only got worse.

Now, the Democratic Party is combing their hair, putting on their confidence suit, and coming to our door begging for our vote, after having lied to us. 

We ask them, why didn’t it work?  You’ve spent, not only our money, but our grandchildren and great grandchildren’s money, and what do you have to show for it? 

It’s not their fault.  It was much worse than they thought.  They were misled at just how bad it really was.  Give them another chance.  But wait, you did know.  You told us this was the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression.  What do you mean, you didn’t know how bad it really was?  Are you really saying you didn’t have a clue as to what you were doing and so you can’t be blamed?  No, Strike One.

It wasn’t their fault it was so bad, it’s Bush’s fault.  It’s those evil, vile Republicans who got us in the mess.  They’re working so hard and so smart, but those greedy, mean capitalists are not hiring people.  If they cared about the nation, they’d hire more workers.  Nope, I’m not spending money because of your policies so I don’t expect businesses to either. Strike Two.

Well, you just don’t understand.  You are mistaken.  This is an economic recovery.  You don’t remember how terrible that Bush unemployment rate was and just how desperately bad the economy was because of the Republicans and their do-nothing policies.  Um, I remember 4% unemployment and the steady increase in standard of living.  Strike Three. 

You’re out.

(Media, ditto to you.  Scenario runs pretty much along the same lines, but thanks for playing)

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